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.
It is no secret of my love of the craft beer revolution in the U.S.. Inthe past I’ve been rightfully accused of being harsh with Irish craft brewers for being too placid about macros coming in to eat their lunch before they’ve even finished making it. Irish Craft Brewers in the last two years have in my mind made the fastest global jump in quality & ingenuity of any craft beer scene. And I’ve made no secret either of both my admiration & my happiness. But, this week pride was added to that list. We (Ireland), beat the Americans to the chase. And that I believe now provides a unique opportunity to take the fight to macro on a scale never before seen in craft beer.
We are officially one year on the interwebz unleashing our own IBU powered, hopped up OpEd, Beer Reviews & Vermont IPA hazed ramblings on craft beer in Ireland. Obviously not doing this for the money or free beer, but because we love to share in the journey & people of the scene & the conversation, antics & shenanigans of the scene with those who regularly or irregularly check out our wee corner of the beeriverse online.
I am a hop addict. I love bitter & twisted IBU trips. I love super spicy food too. I love the cold sweat, sinus clearing, drippy eyed feeling from a spicy chili. The first big bombastic mouth-smashing beer I ever had was Stone’s Arrogant Bastard, & I almost choked. But, I found ‘my beer’. Then came Hardcore IPA, hich was like getting smooshed by Mike Tyson square on the jaw from one of those% hellacious uppercut. The, in 2014 Palate Wrecker from Green Flash appeared in my hands from a friend who came back from SD. I was excited. Scared. Tense. Then, my tastebuds needed CPR, & it was awesome. Five years on, Palate Wrecker made its way to my door once again. And it was glorious.
BrewDog & lager as a style have somewhat of a tumultous relationship. Part of the issue is their general unhappiness with how their lagers either turn out for them or are received. Whether it was 77 lager, This is Lager, or the newest iteration, Kingpin, BrewDog it seems remain committed to creating the perfect lager.
From the Death’s Head Pony Club came forth what today I still call BrewDog’s most technically accomplished beer, Dead Pony Club. Like 5AM Saint, it too had a rough ride into the rebranding of 2015 to Dead Pony Pale Ale (jesus, what were they thinking??) to come out the other sideas the hop blasting 3.8% John Wayne of their beer catalogue. This is not just a trip back down memory lane for a beer I haven’t had in close to a year. It’s a trip back to look at a beer that changed how I wanted to brew beers for myself.
Between swallowing up craft brewers with bags of money, locking out taps, closing off distribution loops & closing routes of access to raw materials, you’d think Big Beer couldn’t stoop any lower. But, like all beer produced by men in suits around a board table, new lows in the pursuit of market domination are the order of the day. Enter Diageo’s Guinness with a whole new low.
Every time Ellon’s team post a blog about a new BrewDog bar opening, the comments generally become littered with mention of Dublin and or Belfast. Sure, BrewDog are opening up bars all across the UK, Italy & every other mannerof exotic place you can stick your dirty, greasy, hop covered thumb on, & over the last few months Dublin has gone from being ‘coming soon’ to not being mentioned by BrewDog at all any more on these announcements. Some, including myself thought it was because BrewDog has given up on trying for Dublin. It seems we were wrong.