12 May 2007

I quit

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a new posh offy had opened in Harold's Cross. D Six is attached to Peggy Kelly's pub, and yesterday I called in on my way home. Despite the trendy dark wood and bottles in baskets, the beer selection was the normal poor Dublin standard, dominated by the industrial brewers and alcopops, with three quarters of the "World Beers" section being Polish lager. I realised a few weeks earlier that I had tried almost everything on sale in Carville's on Camden Street and was afraid that I was running out of new beers to try. I'd even trekked all the way to award-winning Gibney's of Malahide where I found a couple of new brews, but nothing inspiring. I was quite despondent about the whole thing.

Until this afternoon when I made a long overdue trip to Redmond's of Ranelagh. Redmond's used to be a slight detour on my way home from work but is now well out of my way. However, in contrast with just about every other beer retailer in the city, they seem to be expanding the range of beers on sale. So, I hereby recant my faith in any off licence in Dublins 2, 6, 6W and 12 to supply new and interesting beers, with the sole exception of the aforementioned Redmond's. Where do I nominate them for a humanitarian award?

All that said, my beers for this post are fairly common ones. I've had both of them before but so long ago that I couldn't remember what they're like. They're both from Yorkshire's Black Sheep Brewery (founded by a dissenting member of the Theakston family and named accordingly). Black Sheep Ale is an exercise in bi-polarity. It starts off with a big, upfront bitter hops kick but follows this very quickly with slabs of caramel sugar. Holy GrAil is an altogether smoother, blander affair, warm and easy-going.

Rant over. Review over. Normal service will resume shortly.


  1. It's only marginally better up north. The majority of off-licences are predictable in their mundanity. Tesco used to carry a great range, with the odd new one coming in every couple of weeks, but they seem to have settled down with a regular okay selection.
    I tend to frequent two in Belfast which can usually be relied upon to carry a decent selection. Both are slightly out of my way, not on my way home from work, so I tend to make a special trip every few weeks and stock up.

    Sainsburys at Forestside is by far the best of their branches here, even though on my last visit quite a few of their regular lines had been discontinued. Did get a very nice Czech Dark though, Krusovice Cerne http://www.ratebeer.com/Beer/krusovice-cerne/4789/.

    The Vineyard, just down the Ormeau Rd from Sainsburys, I have sung the praises of here before. It's location is ideal as I can stop off on the way back from Sainsburys.

    There is an Asda on my way home but it's quite poor compared to the English branches. It does stock the two Whitewater Brewery brands and Arran Dark, so not all bad.

    Again quite out of my way, but there is a fairly good one in Ballyclare called Grape Expectations. Been a while since I was last in but it had a varied selection, including the rather fine Cumberland Ale from Jennings. Only drawback is they insist in putting all the beer in the walk-in fridge.

  2. Mmm, I'm very slowly working my way through that standard Tesco NI range. I still regard a visit to a northern Tesco (Rushmere in gorgeous Craigavon, usually) as a rare treat.