Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Rest of Day Two in Dublin (Updated)

After leaving the Guinness Storehouse it was time to visit some pubs. I walked over to the Luas (Dublin Tram) stop nearest the brewery and caught a tram for the city center. It's not that it is that far, but I paid for a tram/bus pass so I might as well use it. I got off at Smithfields and walked toward Stonybatter St where you'll find L. Mullegan Grocer.

Well, it was closed and no opening times posted, so I headed over to the second pub on my list, The Cobblestone pub. It too was closed but a sign implied they opened at 4pm. They had a big banner from  Dublin Brewing Company, a microbrewery that closed down a while ago. But I took that as a good sign that they might still have decent beer.

Number 3 on the list was O'Byrnes Beverage House. As I walked by it, I could see in and it look closed as well. My luck was not very good today. But it turns out that was just the back room and when I got to the front it was open for business.

Inside they had a sign stating "College Green Belfast Blonde" on draught, but sadly it wasn't on. Their "House Beer" was a Lithuanian Brewery, Svyturys. They had three on draft and I chose the "Dark Red." It wasn't all that dark but it was a pretty nice lager. Nice malt flavor and a bit of caramel.

I asked about bottles and he said they had a good selection of American beers but that he guessed I didn't come to Dublin for that. Since I asked about a College Green beer he asked me if I had tried the Headless Dog. I had seen that sign on the Porterhouse and had thought it was a brewery, but it turns out it was a beer. So I had one:

College Green brewery is in Belfast, so technically this is an imported beer (I'll stay away from the politics). There where some American hops in there giving it a nice citrus-y bite.  Hopefully I can find it in draught or cask while I am here.

I decided to head over to the other brewpub in Dublin, Messer's Maguire. It is on the other side of the Liffey at the foot of one of the bridges. I headed in what I thought was the right direction but ended up a bridge to soon. No worries, except that is where the Porterhouse is. I couldn't pass that by. So in I went had had their seasonal beer, a Vienna Lager:

The beer was fine but I would have liked it with a little more Vienna Malt character. There was a slight burnt note that was just not quite right, as if they had used a little roasted barley for the color. Not bad at all, but not their best beer. So in that case, I had a pint of their best beer, the Oyster Stout. Didn't take a picture as you've seen it already.

Messers Maguire is just a couple blocks down and I was soon there.

They had five of their beers on draft and did a sampler, so I had one. With that I ordered a sampler of Irish Cheese.

The beers were a Lager, Weizen, Bock, Red Ale and Plain Stout. The Lager was a typical light lager, nothing exceptional but drinkable. I thought the Weizen had a little too much hop bitterness,  the Bock was OK but could use a little more malt. The Red Ale was tasty and the Plain Stout was delightful. No bonus points for guessing which I had.

I asked the bartender if he had any other Irish beers on draft (they had about 20 other taps) and he looked a bit sheepish and said "Just Guinness."  So I decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel. There was a bus stop right across the street, so I thought I'd see if a bus heading toward the hotel came by. The second bus had on its list of stops "Stoneybatter"  -it's not that long a street so I hopped the bus and got off right across the street from L. Mulligan Grocer.

I noticed they had the Belfast Blonde on draught so I tried one. It was almost a golden color and while tasty, I think I like the Headless Dog better.

I could see a beer engine down the bar so I asked what they had on cask. It was the Trouble Brewing Dark Arts Porter. So I had one:

It was dark black but there was a portion of chocolate malt in there -- I combination I like. And there was some nice hop bitterness in there to balance it out. My number two beer of the trip so far (after the Oyster Stout).

I was talking with the bartender and one of the locals and somehow the cost of beer came up. The bartender said if I had €100 burning a hole in my pocket he had a beer for me and put a bottle of Brewdog Tactical Nuclear Penguin on the bar in front of me.

I am not a fan of Brewdog beers and a €100 will keep me in beer for a few days at least, so I politely declined.

For my night cap I had an O'Hara's Stout. This has shown up in LA at a few places and I had liked it there. It was better here and while good, it only made it to #4 on my list of stouts and porters that day:

I was going to leave but gentleman sitting next to me at the bar wanted me to try a beer he liked, the Innis & Gunn Oak Aged beer from Scotland.

It had a nice oak flavor but it was clearly light struck (clear bottle) it was not undrinkable but you had to remember not to breathe in when drinking.

So just as a recap, my favorite Stouts (and Porters) of the day:

  1. Porterhouse Oyster Stout
  2. Trouble Brewing Dark Arts
  3. Messers Maguire Plain Stout
  4. O'Hara's Stout
  5. Guinness Extra Foreign Stout (bottle)
  6. Guinness Draught
  7. Guinness Extra Stout (bottle)
Tomorrow is an off day, beer wise. I am taking a bus tour thru County Wicklow, just to see some countryside.

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