05 September 2011

Arrivals, departures

Last week's launch of the new Messrs Maguire Doppelbock was tinged with sadness. Not that there was anything wrong with the beer, you understand, it's a supremely complex 7.5% ABV dark lager, intensely sweet at first with bourbon biscuits and treacle, following through to a citric pithiness with hints of puckering sourness.

No, the sad bit is that Mel, who has been in charge of the MM brewkit for the last year or so, has been called home to the US. Mel has been hugely supportive of the beer geeks and -- far more importantly -- has taken an active role in bringing the unconverted into the city centre brewhouse to show them what beer is and how it's made. She will be missed and we selfishly hope that someone worthy of her mash paddle will be taking up the reins at the brewery before long.

And with one exit, a new appearance. From the pictures I've seen, the Dingle Brewery is an impressive operation, taking over the abandoned creamery site outside the west Kerry village and converting it into a working brewery and visitors' centre. While I'm all in favour of local beer for local people, and don't begrudge the fact that Dingle already has a brewery providing this, I was still pleased when a keg of Dingle's first lager, Crean's, showed up in Dublin's Against The Grain last week.

Rather darker than advertised, it's a deep rich gold colour. The texture is quite heavy and I think the solid dose of diacetyl might have something to do with it. I'm not one of those people who regards diacetyl as a fatal flaw in lager, but if you object to the buttery flavours it imparts then this might not be the lager for you. All in all it's a decent beer and while not a stand-out example of what Irish breweries produce, I'd be happy to drink it ahead of the other likely options in Dingle town's pubs.

A couple more new Irish beers are on the horizon and I'll hopefully get to try them in the coming weeks. Metalman débuted their third recipe, a witbier, in Waterford at the weekend. Meanwhile Diageo Ireland are about to launch their first new beer in several years: a pale ale, no less. While I'm chasing these, more on Argentina's beer, starting tomorrow.

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