29 January 2008

Smooth operators

The slow trickle of American beers into Ireland seems to be continuing. Redmond's had a couple of new ones on my last visit and I snapped them up. Samuel Adams Holiday Porter first. It's a magnificent beer from start to finish. Colourwise it's a deep black with ruby edges. The attractive sweet aroma will follow you round the room. A sharp prickly fizz starts the mouthfeel, but quickly subsides leaving a full and silky texture. Following the richness of the texture there's the richness of the flavour: milk chocolate and raisins first, dark chocolate and plums at the end. Very much in the same league as St Peter's magnificent Old Style Porter and a crime to sell in mere 355ml bottles.

Next up is one of those beers whose style I had no idea of until I opened it: Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale. The big hoppy aroma on uncapping the bottle was the first clue, and the orange amber colour was the second suggestion, that this is an American-style IPA. I rather like Sierra Nevada's own IPA for its rough and uncompromising bitterness. This is a much smoother affair, full bodied and lightly carbonated. The flavour is full of peaches: sumptuously bittersweet with a gorgeous sherbety quality. It is, in short, Goose Island IPA by Sierra Nevada. I had me a Goose Island last Friday night, but I've always room for another, whatever the label.

More American beer like this, please, Mr Importer, sir.


  1. The Holiday Porter is my favorite Sam Adams beer, but here in Pennsylvania I can only get it by buying a full case of Sam Adams Winter Classics.

    That means four bottles of the holiday porter and 20 bottles of other stuff -- mostly very good stuff, fortunately.

    I've never seen the Holiday Porter on draft.

  2. Don't get me started on the US model of beer packaging. 12oz is too small, but 6x12oz is too much, especially at the prices I have to pay. Forcing a mixed case of 20 sounds excessive, though. And a great way for a brewery to offload any beer no-one would buy voluntarily, not that I'm making such accusations here. But still...

  3. I've not heard any news of the Holiday Porter in England. Here's hoping!

  4. Good luck with that. If it helps, the importer is Galatea Spirits of Sweden, according to the label.

  5. Last time I had holiday porter I wasn’t all that impressed, it was a sample submitted for judging however and for some reason Sam Adams does seem to be very good at submitting very tired old samples to competition.
    St Peters Old Porter is a top drop.

  6. Pennsylvania's beer laws are to blame, not Boston Beer Co.

    State-licensed beer stores are only allowed to sell kegs and cases of beer. No smaller configurations.

    Licensed taverns can sell bottled or canned beer for take-home in any configuration up to 12 cans or bottles. If you want to buy more you can, but you can only carry out 12 at a time...

    Wine and spirits are only sold at state-run stores.

    You can't buy any kind of alcoholic beverage at other kinds of stores.

    Shipping alcohol to or from Pennsylvania is illegal.

    But a new law in committee right now may change all that.

    Here's hoping...

  7. Ahhh committees: is there nothing they can't do?

    Seriously, good luck with that. We have a nasty feeling over here that our excise duty on alcohol is about to be raised in an attempt to reduce problem drinking.

    Now excuse me while I go pound a couple of six-packs of Rogue Chocolate Stout in the park...