Big Grill Festival takes place in Herbert Park, Dublin on 13-16 August. Last year's was one of the highlights of the summer, not least because of the excellent beers on offer, with Irish luminaries Eight Degrees, Rascal's, Trouble and The Porterhouse representing alongside Grand Cru's portfolio of US imports, including Founders and Sierra Nevada.
All these and more are due to make a return this year, and there was a taste of the beer options at the launch event held at The Bernard Shaw pub a couple of weeks ago. To accompany the pit-roasted lamb and smoked chicken wings in a moonshine glaze, there was the latest from Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp series of one-offs: Hoppy Lager.
It looked beautiful in the glass, er, cup: a bright, dense gold colour. The first sip, when cold, zinged with lots of spicy citrus zest: beautifully clean and quenchingly sinkable. I was surprised, then, to learn that the ABV is way up at the 7% mark. With this realisation I slowed my drinking a little and as the beer warmed it started to show more of its true colours. A slightly sickly tramp-lager note creeps into the aroma while the warmth of the alcohol becomes more pronounced once the late Citra and Equinox have departed from the palate. For al fresco drinking on a chilly May evening in Portobello it works rather well. But if the main event in August proves a scorcher I reckon it could be just as suitable. Assuming there's any left by that point.
Thanks to Andy and the Bodytonic folk for the invite.
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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