Sunday, 27 May 2012

#30: When Ya Get Drafted

Haven't posted in quite a while, and since my last one I've tried 5 new beers and one familiar beer on tap. I know, the excitement! Two of these were from the Porterhouse, whose range I am slowly working my way through. The other three were Irish ales that I had yet to try, and that I found on tap in the Crane Lane's new 'Crystal Bar', specializing in craft beer.
I hadn't been out in a while, and I was dying to go see what they had at the Abbot's Ale House, so you might imagine my excitement when I went in to see Piraat on tap, right there before me. This beer is one of the most impressive I've had so far, along with Rochefort 10, but I had hitherto only enjoyed it from the bottle. This Piraat was not drastically different, however. It was served cool for one, something I wouldn't do at home but hey, what the heck. Caramel, fruit and yeast dominated the aroma, and the gorgeous malty, nutty, caramel and honey flavours are all there too. I'd like to try this one again - it was delicious, but there was something different about it that makes me want to compare it to it's bottled brother. Maybe that was just the chill though. Either way, I'm desperately hoping they get this back in soon, it's stellar.
In the Crane Lane I had a beer that I really should have tried a long time ago - Eight Degrees Brewing's Howling Gale Ale. Very well balanced, with biscuit and caramel malts giving way to bitterness towards the finish, it's a solid beer, and fairly sessionable. One I'd come back to, and one that I will, seeing as I've a bottle of it tucked away in the cupboard.
The next two got me very excited, as I'd never seen them available to me before, although I'd heard of them. Waterford's Metalman Brewing already have a great reputation after being established in 2011, and they were recently awarded second and third place in Beoir's Beer of the Year awards, for Windjammer and Metalman Pale Ale respectively. Both of these were on tap in the Crane Lane, and it was Windjammer I opted for. This is their summer seasonal amber ale, and it is packed with flavour - you really can't help but be impressed with the fruit in this. Grapefruit is what I pegged first, with pineapple and citrus being hinted at too. This is all balanced nicely with the nut and biscuit malt notes that prevent it from becoming overpowering.
Finally, I tried a beer I'd never heard of before. It was Bruinette, from White Gypsy in Tipperary. This was tasty too, but for me those banana flavours hung around a bit too long. Honey, fruit and bread all make a brief and muted appearance, but the flavour seems altogether too concentrated in the banana zone - which is fine, if you're into that kind of thing. I would have preferred more balance in a beer like this.
Overall, three great Irish ales - from a selection of around 6 - on tap in a popular city bar, surely bodes well for the Irish craft beer landscape.

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