13 May 2005

Messrs Maguire: an appraisal

Even though I rank it below the Porterhouse in the microbrewery stakes (see side column), I spend more time in Maguire's than I do in the Porterhouse. This is mainly because of its better location and bigger size (thus likelihood of a seat).

So why isn't it one of my favourites? Well, there's my own personal snobbery to start with: as well as their own brews, Maguire's serves the popular mass-produced beers sold in every other city centre bar. Of course, they have to do this to afford to maintain such a big premises in such a prime location. I should be taking the microbrewery as an added bonus rather than whining, but I'll stick to my guns on this one because I think the drinking tastes of Ireland and her visitors should be changed, and I derive great personal amusement from seeing people in the Porterhouse being told they can't have Guinness.

However, the main reason I feel let down by Maguire's is its unreliability. In fairness, when they do seasonals they do cracking ones, but such availability occurs between long periods of minimal choice. Today, for instance, only three of the seven supposed house beers were on tap (I had a Rusty, which is a very close contender in the Irish red ale stakes). Not only does the range fluctuate, the flavours do too. Last year they changed the recipe of their excellent Weiss and made it even better, making it darker and spicier. And then they changed it again into something yellow that tastes like soap. I firmly believe in the master-brewer's right to muck about with his recipes, but do us a favour and warn us first, or sell the new stuff under a different name.

I'm whining too much about Maguire's. I dearly love the fact that we have a microbrewery right in the heart of Dublin, and my negative experiences there are outweighed by many many positives. Just a bit more attention to the needs of the beer nuts would be much appreciated.

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