15 June 2015

Market rates

I mentioned The Beer Market in passing a few weeks ago. Dublin's first ticker-friendly beer-only pub has been open a while now, serving mostly pricey exotic imports from well-reputed breweries in the UK, Europe and the US. I've been in a couple of times to sample the wares and this post is intended to give a cross section of the kind of things on offer from the 20 fast-changing rotation taps.

It's weird being blasé about the presence of Thornbridge, but the Derbyshire brewer seems like the staid establishment option in this company. Not that's there's anything wrong with their beer, of course. Bamberg caused a bit of a fuss when it was on. As the name sort-of implies, this is a rauchbier, and not the half-hearted variety. Don't be deceived by the pale amber colour, this is a very hefty lager, chewy and sweet as befits a bock. They've used smoked malt as the base so it completely dominates the flavour, and the aroma too: sweet and tangy on the nose; rich and meaty in the taste. It's perhaps not quite as clean-finishing as the real thing and there's a tiny bit of a plasticky burr, but it certainly doesn't leave the smokeheads wanting.

Also from the Thornbridge not-so-subtle playbook is Cocoa Wonderland. The vital statistics are that this is a 6.8% ABV porter with added chocolate, but all you really need to know is that it tastes like they just melted Mars bars into the brew kettle and kegged the result. The beer element is somewhat lost and it becomes tough going once the novelty wears off, but this is to chocolate what Thornbridge Bamberg is to smoke: laid on thick with no apology offered.

Quality company: Oblivious & Tale of Ale
The Beer Market's position as a peripheral part of the Galway Bay chain means that it fortuitously has access to Beerd beers. Beerd's Irish distributor tends not to do business here in the east and Galway Bay brings them over the M6 for us. Colossus is Beerd's IPA, a big 'un at 7.4% ABV, brewed with Mosaic and Calypso hops. It arrived headless, a cheery hazy orange colour. There was surprisingly little aroma and the flavour isn't exactly complex, but there's a pleasant no-nonsense hit of citrus pith and orange barley sweets.

Next to it was Crowbar, only 8.5% ABV so a little light for an imperial stout, I thought. It's plenty heavy, however: thickly textured but also dry with strong burnt notes. This was matured in Islay casks and the peaty phenols are very present, all TCP and plasticine. As befits the name, this beer is not subtle.

We need a cleanser after that and Brew By Numbers 01|01 is just the ticket. This saison is an inviting hazy witbier yellow and was served beautifully cold. There's not much aroma, just slight citrus and yeasty esters and it tastes of fresh lemon with mild white pepper underlying it, plus some denser oily air-freshener for added seriousness. More than anything it tastes like summer, and seems ideal for al fresco refreshment. Definitely one of the best of the new wave saisons I've tasted.

The final two beers for the moment are Spanish. Edge in Barcelona brews Padrino porter. I found it rather thin and quite harshly dry. What should be a luxurious smooth chocolate flavour comes across as artificial and cheap. Padrino looks good on paper but the recipe doesn't quite gel together properly. Much more enjoyable was Napar Pale Ale by Naparbier from near Pamplona. Just 4.3% ABV but exploding with fresh hop resins and juicy mandarin, backed by a substantial sweet malt base. This manages to pull off all the moves that much bigger beers make, and without even calling itself a "session IPA". Well worth seeking out.

Doubtless you'll be seeing more of those stemmed glasses and numbered taps in the background of pictures on future posts.


  1. Can't wait for my next trip home :)

  2. I love the bar and everything Galway Bay has done but can they stop pushing bloody schooners. What is wrong with a half pint? They feel like better value and make doubles and imperial more palatable. Drives me nuts.

    1. Have you brought this up with them? There's not much I can do about it.

  3. I just did, better then moaning on blogs I guess. Does it bother you at all? It would be nice to see thirds as well like the brewdog bars.

    1. Not really. The half pint option would be good for beers that are served by the pint but the 33cl glass is much of a muchness. For third drinkers they have the three-beer tasting tray option.