When I was told I had a business meeting in Dublin, I was not hard to convince. There are direct flights, the taxi drivers are friendly, there are good beers to be had if you know where to find them.
Since my last visit two years ago, it seems the micro movement has evolved further, and I happily boarded my flight, which took off right on schedule in contrast to the Zürich plane the week before that stayed on the tarmac for hours. The plane was full, mostly of men my age with classy leisure wear. I discover by the baggage belt on the other end that they all had checked in golf clubs – luckily they did not smash any of the beers I had brought along for the Beer Nut.
Being a fair bit longer than average, I always go for an aisle seat, but there was only one row in flexible economy, so I had a window seat for a change. Lovely weather gave first a view of the Norwegian mountains, still with meters of snow for those who want to prolong the winter. Onwards towards the coast near Stavanger and across the North Sea. There were only a few fluffy clouds, which mean you could see both ships and oil rigs down below.
We landed in Dublin ahead of schedule, and the coach for the hotel left as soon as I hand entered.
I checked in and found the station for the Dart train just behind my hotel. The trains are not too frequent, but it is a comfortable means of mass transit, especially outside rush hours.
I was meeting up with John and a few others from the Irish Craft Brewer community in a few hours, so I had a sweep through the two brewpubs in central Dublin, Messrrs Maguire and the Porterhouse.
Messrrs Maguire plays it very safe, with a standard range of ales and lagers that are rather boring. They had a special beer on, however, what they called an Imperial Stout. This was a seriously good smoked stout, but probably not strong enough to call it imperial. Lovely smokiness in an easy-drinking stout body. Beige head over a very dark ruby beer. My only objection is that they could have brewed this a bit stronger – but I would not mind drinking my way through a few more of this.
Their best bitter was a disappointment. I was told later that a cask version of this had appeared at beer festival. This was, however, a keg version, subjected to a heavy-handed nitrogen treatment. If you want a reference, some of the more bland British canned bitters with a nitro widget, like Boddington, comes close. I did not finish my half.
I was sorely tempted to renew my acquaintance with the range of stouts at the Porterhouse, but instead I focused at their occasional Chocolate Truffle Stout.
The taste was very much chocolate truffle and very little stout. Somehow they have managed to blend the chocolate seamlessly with the stout base, but it erases any trace of the character of the beer itself. I suppose they have gone for a rather bland flavour in the stout before adding the flavour.
How is it? Like O’boy, but slightly less sweet and milky. It is better than it sounds – but a half pint was enough!