08 July 2007

Shame on me

The Biddy Early Brewery was Ireland's first brewpub, opening in Co. Clare in 1995. Their three main beers became fairly commonplace in stockists of quality beer in Dublin, however I'm nearly sure that I've never tried them. So, over the past couple of weeks I've been scouring the city in search of them, basing my search mainly on the list of suppliers given on their web site. My searches have turned up just one. Of Red Biddy and Black Biddy there is no sign, with one proprietor telling me that they've stopped bottling the product altogether, though others have said different.

Whatever the truth of it, I have only Blonde Biddy, their lager, to report on here. Despite its deep golden colour, this is very plain fare indeed. It lacks any discernible taste characteristics, opting instead for the crispness common to most dull mass-produced Irish lagers, especially H**p. If you try really hard, it's just possible to pick up a hint of dry malt in the flavour, but you need to be looking carefully for it. At 4.2%, it'd be perfectly possible to chug through a few of these at a session, but I'd be gasping for something with more taste after the first one. I suspect Blonde Biddy is made for the delicate palate of the average Irish lager drinker and doesn't see broadening of horizons as part of its mission statement.

My quest for the remaining Biddies continues, but in the meantime, to get a proper flavour buzz I had to look across the water once more, to Sussex Dorset (thanks Bailey) and Fursty Ferret. This ale has an aroma powerful enough to be appreciated two rooms away. The taste is similarly bold, dominated by caramel candy, laced with a little hops spice. The result is round and warm and extremely tasty. I'm a total stranger to the Badger range of ales, of which this is one. I think I'll have to rectify that soon.


  1. Bailey9:26 am

    Fursty Ferret? From Dorset, surely...?

  2. My mistake. It originated in Sussex, now made in Dorset.

    I should stop reading labels, especially on English beers where they seem fonder of establishing a heritage than describing the contents.

  3. I've had quite a few of the Badger range, the first 6 on this list are readily available in NI through Tesco or Sainsbury
    The Golden Champion, Golden Glory and Blandford Fly are the more unusual ones in the range with the added flavourings, and one bottle is usually enough. Tanglefoot is a very moreish one though, one bottle leads to another, very drinkable, aptly named :)

  4. Tanglefoot is the commonest in these parts. It'll be next in the line, I'd say.

  5. Bailey11:18 pm

    The only brewery tour I've ever done was the Badger brewery. Seeing them delivering the vats of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's "nettle extract" for their weird nettle beer was a highlight. They used to make Panda Pop there, too. Mmmm. Panda Pop. Tangle Foot is my favourite.