Some of you might wonder why I griped about the lack of a local craft beer from a town that is known for its food and whiskey. Well, at the weekend I got myself a hooker – no, not THAT type of hooker! A bottle of Galway Hooker Stout to be precise. And I was blown away by it!
You know, one of my pet hates is chilled beer. Ok, I admit that Ireland is simply never warm enough to warrant chilling beer to make it a refreshing drink. And not all beers retain their flavour when chilled. Lagers seem to work better when chilled, but even then so many end up tasting exactly the same as each other so why bother with different labels? Some beers chill better than others. It’s as simple as that.
But other beers simply should NEVER be chilled – like stout, or porter, or ale.
I wandered into the local off-license (or liquor store to you Canadians and Yanks!) and asked about a suitable beer to add to a beef casserole or to simply drink with the casserole. Sean, the guy at the counter, directed me to the Galway Hooker Stout. I bought one bottle, and stupidly put half the contents into the casserole. I say ‘stupidly’ because when I drank the other half I was blown away. The term ‘stout’ suggests something warm and heavy, but this beer had the lightest and most refreshing flavour I’ve probably ever tasted in a stout! I’m perfectly sure the beef in the casserole enjoyed the other half of the bottle! And the bonus? This is NOT a stout to chill in the fridge, even on the hottest day – just open the bottle and drink. Whatever they have done to the stout, I hope the brewers never stop! It’s perfect.
This is just an example of the new craft beers being brewed here in Ireland in the last ten years especially. Breweries have sprouted up all over Ireland, each producing different beers with very different tastes. And we’re still waiting for someone to invest in such a craft brewery in Midleton! I really would love to see Ireland go somewhat like Belgium or Germany with a myriad of distinctive local beers to savour.
I have to confess that on Saturday I also wanted to purchase a beer from the Dungarvan Brewing Company. This is called Dungarvan Coffee and Oatmeal Stout. The ingredients include espresso and oatmeal! Honestly! Sean told me that it literally ran out the door as soon as it was stocked, and he hoped to get a new consignment in this week – but I’d have to be quick, VERY quick to grab a bottle or two. This is a seasonal beer made in limited quantities, and I’ve never tried it, but the speed of the sales suggest that the aficionados really know its quality! Fingers crossed. Wish me luck!