Beer ratings. Whether it’s RateBeer, Untappd, BeerAdvocate or the ratings given by beer journos or bloggers/podcasters, Beer Ratings I think today are now due a proper discussion. A come-to-jesus-meeting type discussion.
I was recently reading a blogpost by a long standing follower of mine going way back to my podcast days, Myles Lambert which was titled ’20 Most Important Craft Beers…. on my journey.’ Over 2,000 different beers later, it got me thinking hard about my own journey through craft beer which really only started in 2001 despite growing up in a house where homebrewing was done regularily. And these when I think about it, are the 20 craft beers that even today are firm favorites that have influenced my tastes even now.
Just when it looked like everyone’s favorite (depending on where you stand) brewpunks were closing in on the long awaited & much anticipated Dublin bar, it would seem the Ellon-anarchists have hit another bump in the road on their plans for Dublin.
With the new bill to allow craft breweries & distillers to sell their own produce on-site without acquiring a bar license a mere handful of bureaucratic footsteps away, & in sight breweries like Hope Beer in Kilbarrick in Howth, County Dublin are excited & already in the process of putting together their taproom to complete theirpiece of the puzzle like so many other craft brewers in Ireland. So, I took this opportunity to take a visit to see Hope’s brewery, check out the taproom & catch up with my old drinking buddy, their headbrewer Mark Nixon.
Murkbombs. Pint o’Murk. New England IPA. NEIPA. Murkbier. Cloudybeer. Whatever you wanna call it, New England style IPA’s are popping up everywhere. If you’re a brewer, you want a piece of the sales action on this style right now. And if you are already as a brewer, kudos to you. It’s good for business. But, I’m just not down with the haze-craze. I was over it before it even began.
There is absolutely nothing worse as a beer drinker than the promises made on a label or blurb on a brewer’s website of what a beer is, only to open it & discover you’ve been had. New England IPA’s are the current IPA beer trend of the moment, so when O’Hara’s Brewery from Carlow released one called ’51st State’ that was inspired by the New England IPA style (great name choice), I was eager to give it a try. Oh eagerness, how you mock me.
Ever since one Mark Nixon left Trouble Brewing to head out Howth Way to take over the brewhouse at young brewery, Hope Beer, the man has been relentless in his creation of special beers. As someone who has followed this young man’s progress very closely, & seen him become one of the elite group of young head brewers in Ireland who are at the vanguard of Irish craft beer. And experiencing the creations from these young, hungry brewers has been a priviledge, as has picking their brains. As Summer 2017 starts creeping way, Hope have staked a claim to ‘beer of the Summer’. And they’re one hand on the flag with it.
One of the great things about being a beer enthusiast is how easy it is to visit independent micro breweries at your leisure on your own country. It’s a heck of alot easier than wine afficianados, who unless they live in a wine producing country, they’ve a fair amount of travel. There are many reasons I like visiting breweries, & believe it or not, tasting beers for me is actually not anywhere near the top of the reasons on my list. Meeting/catching up with the people at breweries is the single best part of those reasons to visit for me. On a miserable day in the usually sunny south east, I took a trip to Wexico City to visit Yellowbelly.
Black Donkey Brewing blew me away with the first European Saison that I actually gave a damn about, ‘Sheep Stealer’. That is a testament to not only them, but Richard’s love of Belgian styled beers – which I am not a fan of at all. Their ballsy choice of style for their primary beer is something to be cheered vigorously. Richard doesn’t do the whole American-styled beers thing, despite the fact his passion for craft beer was massively influenced by the U.S. scene during his time there. So, when they release an American styled IPA, needless to say my interest was piqued.
Lager. A beer variety that until very recently I have had little to no love for. Some craft lagers have grown on me, but they won’t replace my pale ale or my IPA as my go-to beer style. Until now. And it would have to be Stone Brewing to do that. Welcome to WussieLife. Who you callin’ Wussie?
Everybody’s doing a brand-new beer, now. Come on baby, do the Commotion Lotion. I know you’ll get to like it if you give it a chance now. A chug-a chug-a motion like a railroad train, drink it nice and easy, now, don’t lose control. A little bit of bucky and a lot of soul. This beer from Ciudad del Wexico from the minds ofsome bret loving cheeky fuckers is full balls. FULL. BALLS.
Pale Ales are a definite go-to beer style for me when I just want something drinkable, fruity & not too taxing. And I like them pale. And I mean PALE. No amber hues, no caramel, no burned orange. Pale. Otherwise, what’s the friggin’ point of them? So when Whiplash’s Alex Lawes says he’s working on a new Pale Ale that’s proper pale. I’m proper interested.