I've been drinking it fairly regularly all month, so apologies for only getting round to telling you about Trouble Brewing's Dark Arts porter now. It made its first appearance at the Food & Wine Magazine fair in the RDS a few weeks ago, followed by an official launch in the Bull & Castle on 30 November.
It's an unfiltered dark brown session porter of 4.4% ABV which starts out quite roasty and dry but follows this with a long-lasting chocolate and caramel sweetness. Just on the end there's a nip from the hops adding a bitter, slightly sour complication.
Dark Arts is a beer of marvellous balance: light enough for session drinking, but properly warming as well. It's on tap at the Bull & Castle and L. Mulligan Grocer for the next while.
In addition to this and Ór, a third beer comes to us from the Trouble kit, though its origins are rather more obscure. Last year Dublin pubs Sin É and Dice Bar began selling beers badged with old Dublin Brewing Company brands: D'Arcy's Stout and Revolution Red, names that hadn't been seen since DBC went under in 2004. Word around the campfire was that these were Young's Double Chocolate Stout and Bombardier, imported from the UK. And then, just a few months ago, I spotted a new poster outside Sin É proclaiming that Revolution is now brewed in Ireland. Investigations led to Trouble where, I'm told, the management rent out the kit to Revolution's owners and leave them to it.
The beer is quite good too: very sweet, with lots of toffee and smooth caramel. There's a nice roasted element to the flavour as well and just a tiny bit of hop aroma. A well-rounded Irish red, basically: not going to set the world alight but quite enjoyable to drink. And while it's quite possible that it's not terribly different from the kegged Bombardier, I really like that they see "brewed in Ireland" as a significant enough selling point to actually go to the bother of arranging it. Well done them.
Westmalle Dubbel - *Origin: Belgium | Date: 2008 | ABV: 7% | On The Beer Nut: October 2007* It's a longtime favourite today. Westmalle Dubbel goes back to the very beginnings...
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