The other part of my recent holiday was split into two legs in Ireland. Going "home" always means trying to see as many people as you can in a sgort time, and while this was no different, it wasn't as frenetic as the last trip I made home in November. That time I was alone, this time I had the family with me. I still managed to get a few evenings of fine beer with fine friends of course.
My first port of call is usually the Bull and Castle, and this was no exception. After my beloved Galway Hooker (very strange tasting again after six months without) and a few old favourites, I got to try Speakeasy's Big Daddy IPA. It had a huge chocolatey orange aroma with a dash of grapefruit. Despite being served freezing cold, it had a rather nice mouthfeel and, surprisingly, I got a remarkably chocolatey sensation from it, definitely along the lines or Terry's Chocolate Orange. Not what I was expecting from an American IPA, but I quite enjoyed the lushness of it.
A bottle a McChouffe somehow appeared at the end of the night. I have a vague recollection that Geoff, the manager popped this and drank it with us before going home. Thanks Geoff. This had a bright, lemony nose with a flavour reminiscent of honey and banana on a light malty base. It certainly doesn't feel 8%. A pleasant drink, although I noted that it wasn't world changing. I guess it was late at that stage.
The beer highlight for me was, of course, the IrishCraftBrewer.com regular meet up, which also happened to be in the Bull and Castle the following night. As a home brewer and a co-founder of ICB, it's one of the things I really miss from Ireland. For one, how many pubs let people bring their own beers in every month for a big tasting session? It's great! And the opportunity to meet with fellow brewers and get real, honest feedback on your beers while having a great night out is priceless. Pictured to the left is Saruman, TheBeerNut and Geoff, the manager who also brews as it happens! Of course it nearly killed me as I was off to Portugal the next day, but I survived.
On returning to Ireland there was of course more nights out, without the notebook I might add, but a quick visit to TheBeerNut's kitchen of course warranted the (new) notebook to be brought along. As well as blagging a couple of bottles of Mr Nut's very own homebrew (looking forward to tasting his popped cherry) he produced a bottle of Estrella Damm's Inedit, a beer that has had much scorn poured over it from what we can tell, and probably rightly so considering it's being billed as a beer specifically designed to go with food. I guess we're lucky that all the other beer just accidentally goes very well with our tasty num nums. The Inedit has a faint lemony aroma, but quite a bit of yeastiness. This continues into the flavour with all I can describe asa thin, lemon washing up water. Lemony in a sort of artificial way. Essentially, it's like a watered down wit. I knew he should have served it in a white wine glass!
I'm not sure if Mr. Nut felt guilty (he shouldn't of course) but the next up was a Leffe 9. I have a slight fondness for their Bruin, and I'll take the Blonde, but hadn't tried this 9 yet. I thought it was slightly bock-like in its sweetness, but definitely leaning more towards a honey-like edge. Apple and pear come along at the leading edge, but I got a slight medicinal finish the left a bad taste in my mouth. Not one of my favourites.
Still, I can't complain. TheBeerNut very kindly gave me a bottle of O'Hara's Celebration Stout from the Carlow Brewing Company, and advice that I should leave behind one of the two bottles of their Leann Foláinn that Geoff had given me. Trusting TBN implicitly, I did so. But I did bring back some Guinness Foreign Extra which, along with some regular Guinness Extra Stout, I hope to compare to the Guinness 250 that may arrive with a couple of Beer Geeks in July.