05 November 2012

Thameside to Liffeyside

Founded in 2008, Sambrooks is one of the elder statesmen of London's brewing renaissance. I hadn't been expecting to find their bottles in Dublin so was delighted to see them in the SuperValu on Aston Quay.

Wandle is the best bitter: 4.2% ABV and a clear shade of orange-amber. It's a simple enough offer, modestly carbonated forming a loose-bubbled head, though one which dissipates quite quickly in the authentic southern English style. The flavour gives orange barley sweets and wholemeal digestive biscuits, dusted with sherbet -- familiar, comforting tastes, if not exactly palate-exploding. I finished the glass quickly, coming out the other side refreshed and eager to find out what else they do.

What else, is Junction: a little darker, a little fizzier, and a little stronger at 4.5% ABV. Straight from the fridge it was quite disappointing: a bit of caramel and a worrying gastric sharpness. Fortunately it improved significantly with time and warmth, as a smooth tannic dryness showed its hand. It's still a bit rough round the edges, however, lacking the fruity complexity found in Wandle.

Two relatively decent session ales then, not terribly dissimilar from the kind of beers the larger English breweries are turning out. Not that that's a criticism: good beer is good beer, whoever makes it.

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