Thursday, January 29, 2009

Irish Beer, Part I

I recently returned from Ireland, a place known for beer. Painfully though, that is only one type of beer mainly from one brand that frankly sucks. Slowly though, Irish craft beer is making headway.

My first respite from nitro-stout came in Cork thanks to the Franciscan Well Brewery, which has been brewing since 1998. Their beers are available in Cork's better pubs with the Rebel Red reaching ubiquity. I find extensive tasting notes tedious to write and pompous, but here is my opinion of their beers.

Shandon Stout: Nitro-kegged stout. A step up from Guinness-Murphy's-Beamish with a bit more roastiness.

Blarney Blonde: A light, easy drinking blonde ale. Lacks character.

Friar Weisse: The brewery's wheat beer. The yeast character tasted like it needed more maturation time.

Bellringer: A spiced winter beer. Over spiced to near undrinkable. Why do brewers make these insipidly spiced beers? I have yet to drink one doesn't puzzle me.

Rebel Red: A wonderful red ale that shames industrial Irish red ales. Very fruity with distinct rasberry flavors. At 4.3% abv Rebel makes a great session beer (very important for beer in Ireland). By far the brewery's best and a beer I would gladly drink any time.

I only found these beers within Cork. Apart from the brewpub, Blarney Blonde, Friar Weisse, Shandon Stout and Rebel Red can be found at the Mutton Lane Inn and Sin É. You can also drink Rebel Red at the infamous Hi-B bar until you, like me, get kicked out for no good reason.

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