03 January 2011

The Swedes in the basement

A month ago I mentioned in relation to the new-look Messrs Maguire that some interesting imports have been added to the house beers in the line-up. Ocean is a brewery in Gothenburg, where a former brewer from Messrs Maguire is now running the show. Eighteen beers are listed on their website but just two are on sale in Dublin, exclusively at MM and heftily priced at €6.50 for a half litre bottle.

My evening had begun with Vienna Dark Lager at the Porterhouse and a pint of MM Jul Ól so, feeling the need for some hops, I opted for the Ocean IPA first. From my best attempts at reading the label, it doesn't appear to be bottle conditioned, which means there's very little excuse for the exceedingly low carbonation levels. There are some lovely refreshing peach notes in here, on a lightly tannic base, but they really need a bit more gas behind them to push them out. The alcohol level is higher than might be expected for such delicate flavours -- 5.4% ABV -- and I think its place is as a cool summer's day refresher. With a bit more condition I'd heartily recommend it, but it's just a cautious welcome from me for now.

I was understandably wary when getting another €6.50 from my pocket and ordering the Ocean Porter. This is a fantastic beer, however. More carbonated than the IPA but still wonderfully smooth and creamy of texture. The nose is full of rich chocolate and this continues in the flavour where it's complemented by just enough warm roastiness to keep it balanced and interesting. Were it not for the price, another bottle would definitely have been on the cards. In contrast to the IPA, I'd say this is best suited to winter and it reminds me a lot of Messrs Maguire's own Porter, which we haven't seen in a while.

It's difficult to justify splashing out on expensive imports when there's a hard-working brewery on site, but it's also good to know that a pale ale with a bit of hop character and a non-nitrogenated black beer will be available regardless of what's on the house taps.


  1. I'd give both of them a try....

  2. As you say, they're expensive beers, and hard to justify buying in a brewpub, but it still highlights that most of the good beers are concentrated in a small number of good pubs. I think I'd be happy to pay 6.50 for an occasional bottle like that in a pub, if it meant there was a choice! Always jealous reading of your exploits!

  3. And I was expecting a post about "turnips" and carving them. Wrong time of year I suppose ;)

    6.50 for 500ml is a bit much considering where you were sitting, and I'd prefer to be drinking the MM beers if parked on a stool there. Maybe they'd be convinced to do the porter (or similar) again?

  4. I was reading this thinking... gee this sounds familiar. Oh yeah, I was there. Dublin seems like ages ago.