The world is a very small and lonely place when there's just you, the pub table, five small glasses of beer and a blank piece of paper. Those flavour characteristics you were sure would stand out a mile in each beer have inexplicably fled, and your confidence and bravado have gone with them. You've had a sip from each one, nothing tastes as you remember it -- as it's supposed to taste -- and the paper is still blank. You have another go at each glass, trying to force the flavours in your memory into the beer. It doesn't work. Time to cut your losses and start guessing. You may even get one right...
Could you name four draught stouts if you were not told what each was? People on the Irish Craft Brewer site were pretty confident.
Rossa: myself and a friend did the 3 main stouts before in a hotel bar in cork. easy enough to tell them apart
Sbillings: I would say I could do the stouts.
When the 30th July in O’Neill's on Suffolk Street, Dublin was set for the test people started to hedge their bets rapidly:
Sbillings: Would "gah!, it's all bloody nitro stout" hurt the statistical analysis?
TheBeerNut: Oh, it's a bad half-pint. [Insert stout here] doesn't normally taste like that. It's probably because they don't serve much, the lines you know.
All of a sudden all nitro stouts might as well be served through a dishcloth for all the taste they provided.
Thursday 10th July saw the third Irish Craft Brewer homebrew tasting event in the Bull & Castle Beerhall, Dublin. A record number of brewers -- almost twenty -- brought a variety of beers (and two ciders) to the party, which called for a more free-form format than previous tastings. With the admission that not everyone would get to try every beer on offer we split the beers loosely along colour lines, starting with the paler ones. At 7pm (roughly) the first caps and swingtops were relieved of their duties.
I'm not intending this to be an exhaustive account of everything brought to the table (I've only one liver), just some of the ones that stood out in a field of the usual high ICB quality.
We had an ICB Meet up at the Bierhaus on Saturday afternoon, 16th February. Indications in advance were that we would have a small attendance but we felt that what was lacking in quantity we had in quality!!! The ever-modest people that we are!!!
Rebel, Beeristhereason, Andy, Peter, his good wife Anne, and Andy Scribbles turned up – Dave whilst working was unable to sit in with us fully.
Rebel and Ger met first and jointly sampled an O'Hara's Red and bottle of Schiehallion from the Harviestoun Brewery. Dave had had this in for a little while - one of his occasional cases. It's from the same brewery as Bitter and Twisted which has become a regular fixture in the Bierhaus. Whilst Ger has had this drink before Rebel and BITR sampled this for the first time and were both very impressed with it. A decent aromatic blonde beer it sure is. The O'Hara's was very good as it always is too.
The imminent departure of Site Admin Adeptus (Barry M) for Germany prompted the Bull & Castle management to suggest a tasting night / going-away party in the Beerhall. And so it was on 7th February that about twenty brewers and drinkers gathered to share some homebrew and assorted commercial beers of interest. The house laid on a generous spread of cold meats, cheeses, breads and olives which all agreed complemented the beers beautifully.
The tastings followed a freeform pattern, with each brewer presenting their wares in turn.