26 May 2014

Pull the other one

Kirkstall Three Swords
A couple of English beauties from the beer engines of Dublin today. First up, Lord Marples: according to this book, one of the original beers from the ever-evolving Thornbridge brewery. This is their answer to your standard English brown bitter: a perfectly clear red-gold when it arrived from the handpump in Against the Grain, and a modest 4% ABV. The brewery hasn't abandoned the style spec altogether: there are no crazy hop acrobatics being pulled here. Instead there's just the right amount of dry tannic bitterness and a subtle layer of white grape and lychee fruitiness. This is very much a beer for drinking more than one of.

Staying in parts northern, The Porterhouse held its annual spring festival last month and while the emphasis was on Irish beers, Kirkstall's Three Swords somehow managed to inveigle its way in. I wasn't complaining, though. This is proper Yorkshire pale 'n' hoppy: a lurid washing-up-liquid yellow with a beautiful soft soda texture and a lemon drop flavour that's all childlike charm until the finish arrives with a very grown-up bitter bite. At 4.5% ABV it's that little bit stronger than Lord Marples but is every bit as moreish, albeit in a completely different way.


  1. Where do the lychee and grape flavors originate in this beer?

  2. It's generally a hop thing, though not one I'd associate with Northdown and Styrian Goldings, as used in Lord Marples.