10 June 2007

The Irish diaspora

The label in front of me says:
"Brewed in the EU
Arainn Mhor Brewing Company
Árainn Mhór Island
County Donegal

So one could be forgiven for thinking that Árainn Mhór Bán is an Irish beer. But it isn't. Those in the know tell me that it, and its sister-ale Rua, are actually made some miles from Donegal, in Belgium. This kind of disingenuity annoys me, and frankly I'm surprised that there's money to be made from it. Anyway...

Marketing guff aside, what's the beer like? Bán is a cloudy orange colour, aiming for affinity with German weissbier but with more of a prickly fizz than any of them. The flavour is quite different too, with none of the characteristic fruit or spice at the centre. What you get instead is an odd earthy, mushroomy hum. The same thing is present in the Rua, but it's much less noteworthy in an ale. In a weiss it wouldn't seem weird if there was enough of a flavour to cover it, but here there isn't. In all it's not unpleasant, just a bit odd, but mainly bland.

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