When you want a beer there is little else will do. Especially after two bouts of wine judging in Italy in quick succession. On my return to Dublin I paid a visit to the excellent Drink Store in Stoneybatter and purchased half a dozen bottles for drinking casually in the garden or for consuming with the earthy grub I tend to eat when herself (who is more predisposed towards delicate fare) is away down the country visiting rellies.
First ones tasted were:
This is a light-ish beer (4.7% abv) emanating from Cologne where kölsch has enjoyed a protected status since 1997. Though many think it to be a lager, it is not, being top-fermented (though it is cold-conditioned afterwards). An attractive straw-gold in colour, the Früh Kölsch is balanced and appealing, with a distinct, though not over-aggressive hoppyness. On the palate, it is initially dry and zippy before it mellows to evince honey and, surprisingly, white grape undertones. Enjoyable and certainly food-friendly.
Kinnegar Scraggy Bay India Pale Ale
5.3% abc, unfiltered, naturally-carbonated (pour carefully) from a Donegal company I’d not come across before, Scraggy Bay, once I’d stopped thinking of it in Father Ted terms, proved to be a civilised drink, one I’d call a ‘session beer’ where I’d be happy to quaff a few. The term India Pale Ale or IPA has become so over-used by craft brewers it is now devoid of all meaning. This one had that ‘orange peel and coriander’ vibe that I find in many examples of the genre but not to excess. In other words it stopped short of ‘marmalade’.
Founders Brewing ‘Curmudgeon’
Given the name, I should probably adopt this beer. It’s from Quebec, comes in a 335 ml bottle and racks up a powerful 9.8% abv. Molasses and oak ageing (for how long I don’t know) are the keys to its brooding intensity. At first swally it reminded me of one of those dark Münchner beers turbocharged to hell – high lift cams and fat tyres too, but thankfully, no spoiler or go-fast stripes. Curmudgeon wore its alcohol well and the lick of malty sweetness in no way detracted from what was a very well constructed and quite dry beer. A sipper, rather than a quaffer. I spent the rest of the evening debating what food you could team it with but could only come up with the banal ‘chocolate’. Maybe mature cheddar or 24-month Coolea. I’ll try.
My favourite beer glass (shown in the picture) was my father’s. A golf relic, though whether a prize or a gift from Mrs and Mrs Captain I’ll never know, it holds 500 ml if you pour carefully.