The Craic
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

The CraicThe Craic
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Red Ale - Irish
Ranked #21
Ranked #28,876
3.8 | pDev: 10.53%
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Massachusetts, United States
Very Good
The CraicThe Craic
Notes: Why should St. Patrick’s Day just be a “day” when you can make a whole season out of it?! Crack open The Craic and let the friendly banter, bursts of laughter, and toe-tapping music of the season get your eyes smiling.

This hybrid ale combines two classic styles —IPA and Irish Red Ale—to create a unique and flavorful beer. Th­e malt combination commonly used in Irish Red Ales brings a toasted, malty flavor that balances the citrusy and fruity character of the hops.

The Levels of Craic: Have you tried our new Irish Red IPA, The Craic? As we prepare for all things Irish for Harpoon St. Pat’s Fest on March 3rd and 4th, we thought it would only be right to give you a little bit more history about the phrase ‘the craic.’ Pronounced just like a drug, crack (crack is whack, btw!), it’s a term for news, gossip, fun, entertainment, and enjoyable conversation. You’ll often hear, “What’s the Craic” in Ireland which is like saying “What’s Happening?” But perhaps our favorite part of the word ‘craic’ is that there are actually 6 levels of craic you can reach (according to IrelandCentral.

Check ‘em out:
Level One: Good Craic – It’s an okay night out, but nothing to write home about (we don’t know why we mentioned this because honestly, St. Pat’s Fest could never be just at level one – but … the more you know).
Level Two: Mighty Craic – It’s obviously a little bit better than good craic, but we still haven’t hit the amazing level. One or two of your friends may have done something a little bit crazy. Hopefully, you caught it on Snapchat.
Level Three: Savage Craic – This is getting closer to how we describe St. Pat’s. A great time with your friends; beers flowing, great bands, food, and jokes. You got a number, you gave a number, you get the idea.
Level Four: Deadly Craic –This is most likely just before you hear Shipping Up to Boston by the Dropkick Murphy’s (right?). It’s just a step about savage, but not quite the pinnacle moment.
Level Five: The craic was ninety – Wait, what? We’ve read that this phrase comes from a famous song by The Dubliners (get your Irish jig on), but essentially it’s the best night ever. Which is what we hope you’ll leave St. Pat’s fest saying.
Level Six: Minus Craic – When a night goes terribly wrong. As employee owners, we’ve seen several of our consumers (and friends, to be honest), hit this level. Don’t be that guy! So, now that you know – what level of craic are you looking for this St. Pat’s Fest?!
Reviews: 48 | Ratings: 131 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Jwale73
Jwale73 from Rhode Island

3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a can into a shaker pint. Pours a lovely amber hue with a translucent clarity and a fizzy, quarter inch, off-white head. Nose is subdued however, notes caramel malt and earthy/herbal hops come out. Taste consistent with nose - still somewhat diminished. Back end reveals a hint of dish soap. Mouthfeel is light on body with a mild, even carbonation. Overall, not my favorite style; however, this is still a bit subpar in my opinion.

Mar 20, 2020
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Bluecrow from New York

3.81/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

-red-amber tap pour with a thin tan foam cap and a slight aroma that is of spicy hops. The flavor is lightly toasted malt, a little honey sweetness and woody hop notes with moderate bitterness. The body is light. This is pretty good.

Mar 10, 2020
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DrDemento456 from Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty tasty basic Amber ale reminds me a bit of Hopback Red ale rather than the imperial Nugget Nectar which some have compared it to. Not really sure what this has to do with the Irish maybe a gimmick to sell it around St. Patrick's Day? Regardless its far from perfect with the hop bitterness taking center stage but has a good sweet edge. Not sure if I would revisit but if offered I wouldn't turn it down.

Feb 29, 2020
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realJohnnyHobo from Maryland

4.36/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 Oz brown bottle condition - sold in 6 pack form - atypical pricing for 'crafted' beer.

Pours atypical of the style, brownish hue with a slight red tint, heavy lacy retention from the off white brownish head.

The smell is overly hoppy - as this is an Irish red style IPA, this beer reminds me of the same smell found in Tröges nugget nectar.

Very nice flavor - taste upfront is rich hops, followed by biscuit malts, a bit of rich roasted malt, and a heavily hopped finish. The alcohol is hidden but you can tell you're drinking something 'heavy'.

Mouthfeel is soapy roasted malt characters, a bit of carbonation on the back end through the head would suggest creaminess there is hardly any left on the pallet.

One this I dislike is this is not correctly labeled as an Imperial Red Ale. There is really nothing Irish about this outside of the colors and name.

Feb 19, 2020
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mikeg67 from New Jersey

3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours red with fluffy white head and lively carbonation. Aroma is of grassy hops, caramel malt and some fruit. Body is medium and crisp. Herbal hops, caramel malt and red fruit fill the mouth. Finish is long and dry. OK brew.

Feb 10, 2020
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mikeinportc from New York

3.67/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours reddish amber with moderate off-white head that leaves a thin coating and some slight lacing.

Smell is lightly sweet caramel, with a little fruitiness and pine.

Taste is roasty biscuit crust, a little bitter orange, a touch of pine, and slight char/peat at finish , that lingers briefly. Moderate bitterness that lingers on the tip of the tongue.

Feel is light-side-of medium, initially barely creamy, quickly becoming lightly prickly.

Overall, I liked it. That it is less sweet than similar items , and has a bit of peaty char are positives for me. Ymmv. Not sure if I'd want a whole 6pk, but this single is just fine.

Feb 10, 2020
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MikeWard from Pennsylvania

3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle into a pint glass, bottled 11/25/19, so 6 weeks old.

Looks murky orange brown in the glass, clear amber when held up to the light. Small off white head shrinks to a ring. No lacing.

Wasn't expecting much after the look and smell, but this isn't bad. Sweet and malty, with a little musty bitterness toward the end. There is a pleasing warmth in the back of the throat.

Mouth is medium, finish hay and a touch bitter.

Overall, never been too impressed with Harpoon, but this is an okay drink. Thanks to Greg for passing it on

Jan 12, 2020
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tigerinatrance from New York

3.1/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

So... it’s not often that I dump a beer out. This one was the first time I’ve done just that in a long time. Beer is very subjective. Taste is most important to me. This one looked great, felt and smelt good, and tasted... gross, to me. Very chemically, almost like acetone... the malt bill was good, I think, but after three sips, a very chemically taste made it impossible for me to finish. Sorry, Harpoon. Wanted to like this one.., but it was undrinkable because it just didn’t taste good to me. Better luck next year, I WILL try it again and see if it’s revised.

Sep 26, 2019
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EMV from Pennsylvania

3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Clear copper pour with thick foamy white head. Great retention and lacing. Great looking beer.

S: Toasted malts. Grainy and sweet.

T.F: Just like it smells. Toasted malts and brown sugar. Earthy and grains. A bit of fruit, but mostly malty. Bitterness is modest. Light bodied and very drinkable.

O: Gorgeous looking beer. Average flavor.. nothing unpleasant. Easy drinking if not overly memorable.

Sep 16, 2019
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VoxRationis from New York

3.47/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Decanted from a 12 oz (355 ml) bottle into a conical pint glass;
A: Pours a crystal clear, copper color with a three finger, fluffy, wheat colored head, nearly a finger cap, and rings of sticky lacing.
S Aromas of caramel malt, cherry wood, cranberry, and white pepper.
T: Dry. Flavors follow the head. Cumin like bitterness.
M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.
O: Bitterness kind of crowds out the flavor. Not my favorite leann dearg na hÉireann by a long shot. Too smokey/bitter, not enough malt. Frankly, I actually know a good bit about craic, and this is not that, no matter what it's called.

Aug 01, 2019
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zeff80 from Missouri

3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle. Poured out a clear, amber color with a small, tan head of bubbly foam. It smelled of roasted malt, pine and toasted caramel. Very malty tasting with piney hops and sweet caramel.

Jun 06, 2019
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Claude-Irishman from New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish/amber color,quickly receding white colored head,some lacing-Smells like toffee,hops, fresh cut grass,sweet pastry-Tastes like an Irish red except there is a noticeable hop addition not usual to the style- Feels well put together,nice carbonation, not thick or viscous, finishes almost semi dry- Overall what you would get if you mixed a Red with an IPA- Very tasty and drinkable-

Apr 01, 2019
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GreesyFizeek from New York

3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Jine's Restaurant in Rochester, NY.

This one pours a rusted dark red color, with a small head, and lots of lacing.

This smells like heavily toasted malt, some roast, light sweetness, and very bitter hops.

This is much too hoppy for an Irish red, but that was intended. I think the bitterness overwhelms the fairly decent background malt character - it's quite toasty, even with a touch of honey and roast, and a huge breadiness. Just make this a regular Irish red and it would have been excellent.

This is medium bodied, slightly creamy, with a fairly big lingering bitterness on the back end.

Half of this beer was quite good.

Mar 30, 2019
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nosho from Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really liked this citrusy, slightly sweet brew... and the first Harpoon IPA that sang to me. I don't have a sophisticaed palate, but I felt this balanced its hoppy bite with flavor and fruitiness. Not carbonated come-on, and it's filtered - the only slight loss of style points. Will definitely buy again.

Mar 23, 2019
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Kip8745 from Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I usually drink beers with a lower ABV than the 6.9 for Craic. I also am not a big fan of IPA’s . I was pleasantly surprised by this beer . I think some of the Harpoon Seasonals have been disappointing for the past 2 years or so. However this one is exceptional . March is certainly a good beer drinking month in the Boston Area. I hope they bring this one back next year.

Mar 23, 2019
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Amendm from Rhode Island

3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A strong pour from a 12-oz. bottle yields a ½ finger of light beige foam with short retention, minimal lacing. Bright and clear dark amber-red color with lighter highlights.
Citrus and floral hops great the nose, sweet and toasted malt with baked apple in the background.
Taste is semi-sweet and mildly bitter considering the big hop presents. Items from the smell plus spice and baked brown sugar meld with abundant malts (caramel and toasted, maybe a little roasted). The finish is quick and semi-dry with elevated bitterness. Spice and hops linger during the aftertaste.
Medium bodied with average carbonation. Malty smooth and brightly hopped. ABV is high for the style and well-hidden as a faint astringency. Overall a good match to style guidelines, except for the extra hops, mentioned as an IPA/Irish Red hybrid on the label.

Mar 19, 2019
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AccipiterofBeer from New York

3.74/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: 3.5 Pretty average red ale
S: 3.75 Pretty good. Hoppy.
T: 3.75 Tastes more like an IPA.
F: 3.75 good. Medium bodied.
O: 3.75 I'd describe it as an Irish IPA.

Mar 06, 2019
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Eamonn-Cummings3 from New York

3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Trillium glass.

Look is a dark ruby red with a tan head.

Aroma is a sweet caramel.

Taste is nicely balanced between malt and bitter hops but the body is very thin.

Mar 04, 2019
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nhdjinn from New Hampshire

4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Looks : pours copper color with little or no head - clear w/o any cloudiness
smell: Malt with slight hop aroma
taste: semi sweet malty brew with definite caramel finish. hops bitterness is present with pine resin but not overpowering
Hops balance out abv and maltiness well
Feel - Appropriate for abv and much higher than a standard Irish red ale
Overall a very enjoyable blend of Irish red and ipa that's well balanced

Feb 27, 2019
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Gajo74 from New York

3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear amber red color, visible carbonation and a modest head that soon dissipates. A ring of lacing retains throughout.
The nose first hints at IPA like aromas, with notes of citrus, floral and grassy hops. However, a toasty and biscuity aroma hints at the malt profile of Irish Red Ale. I also detect notes of raisins, apricot and a strong caramel/toffee aroma.
The taste has a full flavored malt profile, toasty and with notes of caramel, toffee, and biscuit. Not overly sweet, as the finish is dry and it is well hopped. The hops flavors yield notes of grapefruit, moderate bitterness and a resiny finish.
Medium bodied, smooth and with a moderate to gentle carbonation. Nicely balanced.
Interesting hybrid that was tasty and easy to drink.

Feb 27, 2019
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Smakawhat from Maryland

4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Bottled Dec 17th 2018.

Real nice fluffy forming top, off yellow more khaki in color, with come very good retention and lacing. Manages just to squeak under 3 fingers, but nestles nicely on a perfect clear copper body. Not much visible carbonation, but a nice glow and appearance. Fine looker for sure.

Aroma is very nice. Soft malts touching caramel with floral and light scented pine hop quality. A bit hop forward as anticipated, but not overly, giving at first floral and some slight perhaps dank/earthy notes that are noticeable but subtle. The malt sweetness goes perfect with this, definitely stickin in Irish Red Ale quality but not so much Big American hop amber senses.

Palate seems to definitely though go more for the American gusto. Slight touches of caramel sweetness, but a good hop bonanza. First gulp in the mid palate loads with citrus like orange to grapefruit bitterness and sweetness, followed with juice earthy pine. Aftertaste is a big pine blast with some real caramel toffee like balance with the added sweetness. A real creamy mouthfeel kicks in as well, there's some real girth and softness to this brew.

The brew really does feel like it's in a sweet spot right now. Will have to make a mental note to grab more of this in the future.

Feb 17, 2019
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jadpsu from Georgia

3.29/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Another from the Harpoon Variety 12 pack.
LOOK: Pours a light amber red in color that has an abundant off white sticky head that stays forever. Great looking IPA.
AROMA: Dank, and aromatic hops, musky. Smell of cold metal.
TASTE: I get some caramel mixed with some citrus grapefruit. Malt backbone. Sour, and dry.
This was just OK.

Feb 17, 2019
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keithmurray from Connecticut

3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - ruby/dark amber body with off white head

Smell - grapefruit, citrus, pine

Taste- pine, grapefruit, caramel

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, citrus and malts upfront, astringent and bitter finish

Overall - decent red ale here, other than an unrefined finish, this is a nicely done beer

Price point- $1.50/12 oz single

Feb 08, 2019
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PMakowski from New Hampshire

4.21/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 Oz bottle poured into glass
Look - rusty bronze color, or dark amber red. Medium foam head with some glass lacing
Smell - one thing that always stands out to me with Harpoon beers is that they smell fresh. The hops aroma hits the nose first, with apple and pineapple, some pine. You can tell there is a decent amount of malt, quite sweet. Quite different than the average red ale.
Taste - hops are oh so present in this beer, this is close to a pale ale with the 55 IBU's. Hop flavors of mostly tropical but a bit earthy. Lots of malt makes it very sweet, but it is well balanced there is some decent bitterness levels, especially in the finish. Carbonation is only medium and body is medium-heavy.

Overall, can't really pick this apart too much, one of the best red ales I've ever had. It doesn't lack flavor and it goes down smooth even though it's moderately heavy in body. Would like this on tap for St. Patrick's. Grade is an A-

Feb 01, 2019
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Greenlabel from New Hampshire

4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased in January as part of Harpoon's "Spring Mix-Pack". Of the 6 different varieties in the Mix-Pack, this one was the standout. Possibly the best Irish Red Ale/IPA that I've come across in my travels. The can states "Hoppy Malty Vibrant" and that statement seemingly rang true as I enjoyed its contents. I'm heading out this week to acquire a 6-pack or two. My only concern is that this is apparently only a seasonal product although I'd definitely consider it a product for any season.

Jan 31, 2019
The Craic from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 131 ratings