Time to haul in the net and see what new Irish beers have shown up this last few weeks.
First up, one that made its début, briefly, at the St. Patrick's beer festival in Dublin last month: Carlow Brewing's collaboration with Poland's Pinta brewery, called Lublin to Dublin. It's a 6.5% ABV oatmeal stout and has all the fullness and smoothness you'd expect. In fact, it's all about the texture; the flavour is a sideshow. Not that there's anything wrong with the flavour: mild roast, cocoa, a little putty and some beautiful summer fruit topnotes. It's wonderfully sinkable and so finely balanced you could nearly lose sight of it. I hope they'll be making more.
Meanwhile, The Larder restaurant on Dublin's Parliament Street has teamed up with Galway's Independent Brewing Company to produce a range of house beers under the "Dublin Brewer" brand, cheekily subverting the city crest by swapping one of the castles for a beer mug. First out of the blocks is their Irish Pale Ale at 6.1% ABV. It arrives a hazy dark orange colour, the bottle conditioning leaving a modest skim of yeast on the bottom of the bottle. The aroma is all apricot and mango but the flavour is more intense, with big grapefruit bitterness, spiced up by the use of rye in the grist. Alongside the hops there's a beautiful thirst-quenching tannic quality, resulting in a lemon tea effect in the finish. This is an invigorating pale ale, with a squeaky teeth-cleaning bitter intensity which paired perfectly with The Larder's ribeye steak.
That's it for the moment. No Mescan, Carrig, Poker Tree, Farmageddon or Munster Brewing? I hear you cry. What kind of half-assed Irish beer blog is this? you wail. In due course, dear reader. Hopefully the upcoming Easter Beer Festival at Franciscan Well and the Craft Beer & Spirit extravaganza which starts today across The Porterhouse estate will plug a few of those gaps.