Monday, April 20, 2015

Dinner at 57 The Headline's

The annual birthday dinner was coming up and decided on some where we would dine. Usually it would be some in the city center that also had a good craft option in house or very near by. This year I had one or two in mind, more for the food, as their craft option was not great. But then there was a very good blog post by Ruben aka Tale of Ale  Big Bullies. In short looking at the "downward" pressure some of the big brewing corporations and conspiring pubs are placing on the Irish consumers craft select. Read his post is very good. So I thought about places that my wife and I had not dined before. Also somewhere that would tick the Irish craft supporting beer box. So the, 57 The Headline came to mind. Not that I not been there before for beers. But it was somewhere that is a little out of way for us and neither of us had eaten there before. So off we went, normal I can do the quays to The Headline in around 20 minutes of a fast walk. But was my Emer, my wife was in heels we opted for a cab.

When we arrived, I was lucky enough to catch the end of the Kinnegar tap take over. I opted for their Black Bucket, a 6.5% Black Rye IPA that I had Irish Beer Whiskey Festival a few weeks before and loved. Cool, tasty and it hot the spot, Emer when with a white wine. I can’t remember which one but there was a good menu to choose from. We were impressed with the relaxed atmosphere in which we could peruse the papers and enjoy our drinks before look at the dinner options.


After our drinks we looks at the food options. We opted for the 2 starters, 2 mains and the choice of two drinks for 40 euro. I went for the Lamb meats balls. Three large Turkish meatballsbulgur wheat salad and some warm flat breads. Emer opted for the Calamari, served with a well put together salad and cumber and mint dip. Both dishes were large, tasty and well-arranged. The Calamari was perfectly cooked, which can  all to easily be overdone. The offer cane with a choice of a drink each. There are eight wines to choose from. Great for those that are not into craft beer.  An with thirteen Irish crafts beer to choose, there is something for every Irish craft beer fan.  I opted for Trouble brewing Dark Arts a personal favorite of mine and I find a good beer to have meaty dishes.  For mains we bother went for the burgers, large and well-cooked. Which were  accompanied by  a side of some tasty chips and it was just what  I was looking for. Prompt and efficient service round of a very nice meal of us both. 

Up next on the beer front  was the new release from   Trouble brewing's Hop Priority. A  Triple IPA weighing in at 11% ABV via keg and hops were Mandarina Bavaria, Amarillo, Equinox and Vic Secret hops. But its one beer I   missed at the Irish beer and whiskey festival 2015. As it was on cask but not in condition at the time. It's  a huge big juicy hop bomb, of tropical fruit and pineapple.  A hop potpourri for any craft beer fan. There is a big body but it's not cloying or over sweet, just perfect. There is some considerable skill of brewer in keeping this 11% monster very drinkable. 

We finish our meal and decided on one last drink down at the bar. Last beer of the night was Kinnegar white rabbit (Keg) a 4.8% American wheat beer. Hops possibly citra, sadly I did not take a picture of it.  But I did take one of the bottle version I had a few days later. It is interesting to compare the two, I found the keg version to have much clearer tropical hop profile, soft wheat ending with a pleasant bitterness's. The bottled version was a some what hopped up wit feel to it. With more of a lemon citrus noise ans taste to it. Both were well brewed version of the beer, but I felt that the keg version was the winner.

I spotted this handsome fella at the bar and had to take a picture. Well that wraps up this post, great food, value and choice of some excellent Irish craft beers.Well worth a visit or possibly two for libations, food or a combination of both .

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Short pour: "Saison's in the sun"

Dungarvan Brewery celebrates their 5th anniversary this week. Hard to believe five years has pass by so soon. I have know Cormac, Dungarvan's head brewery and one of it's founders from the old homebrewing threads on From this  an interested group founded Irish Craft brewers (ICB). Which ICB in turn evolved into Beoir as an "Independent group of consumers with a primary goal of supporting and raising awareness of Ireland's native independent microbreweries"

From a small band of homebrewers on ICB, emerged some of Irish best know craft breweries, Trouble BrewingMetalman Brewing and Dungarvan. As of Dungarvan's beers their Blackrock stout is one of my favorite beers on cask. But it's hotly contended by Helvick gold. 

For their 5th anniversary brew they decided to do something different. Not the usual barrel aged imperial stout or double IPA. They opted for a collaboration  brew with  Nøgne Ø to  produce a seaweed saision (6.5% ABV). Using locally sourced Dillisk seaweed, possibly a world first or for Ireland at least? But what a week to release a sasion on the Irish market,  five days of glorious sunshine. 

Colour: Light orange.
Aroma: Candied citrus fruits, slight sweet malt. Finishing up with a light classic saison phenols  and hint  of spiciness.
Taste: Dry, light to medium bodied beer with crisp carbonation. But the refreshing carbonic bite from the bottle conditioning  that lightens the body further.  I do like my saison's to air on the dry side. Then following with some Belgian phenols/pepperiness. Towards the ends I got a woody/ smoky taste  possibly from the seaweed, that was rather pleasant.  All ending with a light hop bitterness and a hint of  saltness. Brewed with lager malt and East Kent goldings hops is a firm nod to the traditional Wallonia  brewing. A very well brewed sasion, possible one of the best I have had from an Irish brewer. With the unique addition of Dillisk seaweed. I had the beer in its bottled form, but there are keg and casks knocking around. The interplay between the carbonation and the Dillisk seaweed would  make these different formats worth seeking out. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Short Pour: Missed beers

Mescan: Westport White (Wit) 5%.

Historically, Belgian White or wit’s in the Irish craft beer scene  had played a some what secondary role. There had been a tendency from Irish brewers to favor the it's Teutonic cousin, the German Hefeweizen  as the wheat beer of choice.

Batting for the German Hefeweizen's, Franciscan well Friar wise , Galway Hooker Ban Weiss, Opus II and Porterhouse Haus weiss. An representing Belgian centered wheat beers, Kinsale Williams Wheat (now closed). **Comparison based on my memory, reality maybe different**

But one issue with German Hefeweizen was the use of dry over liquid yeast. While the dry German Hefeweizen are grand, I find they don't quite capture the true essence of the style. Compared to the liquid version, such as White labs WLP300. Also compounding the issue is that some of these Hefe yeasts need to be top cropped. So as to maintain the selective phenotype and this doesn't always suite conical fermentation. Whereas there are a couple of dry yeast that produce some very fine Belgian wheat beer such as T-58 (Safbrew) and Brewferm Belgian Wheat. 

Colour: Straw yellow with a fluffy white head
Aroma: Belgian phenolic, herbal
Taste: Dry with a slight sweet cereal and some mineral notes. Lightly spiced with the classic Belgian wit spice combination of crushed coriander seeds and Orange zest. I prefer a light hand with spice's as it something that can be over done all too easily.  All in all, a tasty and refreshing beer, one to try. Hopefully  one we will seen in kegs as the summer rolls in.

Reel Deel: Jack the lad 4.5%

Colour: Darkish yellow.
Aroma: New world hops, citrus with a pleasant sweet  tropical edge.
Taste: Lots of C hops with a citrus edge finishing with some sherbet and a little grass. Dry with a slight bitter finish, medium body. A very nice and well brewed IPA. Possibly lighter that a lot others at 4.5%, but certainly very drinkable.