16 August 2007

How very retro

If this was the other other sort of beer blog, the sort that reports interesting things from the world of beer, there'd be a post about how a group of Galway-based archaeologists have theorised that the ancient stone mounds called fulacht fiadh scattered about the Irish countryside were used for brewing beer, and that they attempted to recreate the ancient brewing process, and that the results were mostly surprisingly drinkable -- despite the opinion of one "Guinness and Bulmer's man" in this video. (Mind you, it was made with proper beer yeast supplied by the Galway Hooker brewery -- should've gone for something wilder, I reckon.) But the story has already been adequately covered by the beer blogging world at the likes of A Good Beer Blog and Lyke2Drink, for example. There's even a Beer Haiku on it, though for the record we're talking long before the Dark Ages here: by that time brewing was already the monks' domain.

But since this isn't that sort of blog, have some random ramblings about a beer I found. Actually, I was looking for an unhopped beer for this post, since hops wouldn't have been part of the ancient Irish brewing scene. Unfortunately, unhopped beers in Dublin off licences, other than the mighty Fraoch, are as rare as hen's teeth (unlike Hen's Tooth, which is readily available), so I've settled for an Aussie craft brew called Black Wattle Superior, which is hopped but is also flavoured with wattle seed which, the interweb tells me, comes from acacia trees.

It pours a beautiful clear amber-red with a lasting off-white head. The dominant flavour is malt with a gentle roasted barley character. I'm not quite sure where the wattle seed comes in. The mouthfeel is quite thick, but in a smooth and satisfying way. Even though it's not as out-of-the-ordinary as I had hoped for, I approve of this beer. Perhaps it's more distinctive when fresh: the bottle I have is a couple of weeks past-date, always a hazard with unusual beers in Dublin. Still, it's not like it's been sitting in a trough in rural Galway for the last three thousand years...


  1. From Moore Group

    It's great to see someone talking about our beer - we've had very little response from the archaeological community to date but the Archaeology Ireland article might change that. Most of the response has been from the Beer community. We did find that the mash which we left in our Fulacht began to ferment naturally - but decided not to risk consuming it - it was really dirty and not very attractive. We're thinking of having an experimental archaeology and brewing gig again next year and you'd be more than welcome to come to Headford. We'll have updates on our website and blog.


    Declan Moore

  2. Great to hear from you, and I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for your future beer-related plans. Make sure you let us know over at Irish Craft Brewer as well.