30 July 2009

Het Steir et Château

More Belgian beer today, I'm afraid. In fact, our glass has been runnething over with draught Belgian loveliness in Dublin recently. Last weekend, on the tail of the Porterhouse's 11-day Belge-a-thon, the Bull & Castle got in on the action with not only a bunch of draught Belgian beers, but a food menu to go with them. The mussels in lambic sauce was wonderful -- full of the hot wheaty smell of brew day at Cantillon. Framboise duck was another winner.

The beery highlight for me was draught Kwak -- deliciously sticky with major banana fruitiness, akin to drinking a banoffee pie. It sat in pleasant contrast to the hoppy sharpness of Poperings Hommel Ale.

The new ones on me were both Wittekerke witbiers. The basic one pours a bright, opaque yellow and is predominantly bitter and spicy, with only a hint of green apples holding up the fruit side of the bargain. The dry, almost sour, kick had me wondering if it's some sort of throwback to the days when this type of beer was fermented spontaneously. To take this edge off, they also make a version with raspberry syrup in: Wittekerke Rosé. It takes the edge off, all right, and everything else with it. You end up with an incredibly sweet syrupy pink beer of the sort any sane and self-respecting beer drinker would hate. I drained my half litre in about three minutes, but I wasn't up for another.

Dessert was one not from the weekend specials, but a regular that's been knocking around a while now: Steenbrugge Dubbel Bruin, the abbey beer from Belgian giants Palm with its ever-so-complex neck label arrangement. It's so-so: a touch of fruity bananas but not much else going for it. A real shadow of a strong dark ale when put next to Kwak, and I find it hard to believe this is the same beer I enjoyed on draught last time I was in Amsterdam. Maybe it isn't.

It's nice to have these little diversions from the regular line-ups in Dublin's decent beer pubs, though the rotating cask at the Bull and Castle is also doing its bit to keep my life adequately spiced at the moment. Long may that continue.


  1. All I'll say about the look of the top right one is, "was the horse ill?"

  2. Well the one that produced the sample on the left definitely requires veterinary intervention.

  3. Draught Kwak, eh? Nice! I had a couple of Belgian beers at the London Porterhouse last weekend but missed the St Bernardus Abt and Chocolate Truffle Stout, dammit!

  4. I went beer hunting in Dublin last weekend for the first time ever. Its all posted on www.robsbeerquest.blogspot.com