Two Sides is the name of Dublin's newest gypsy brewer. The first couple of beers have come from Craftworks though the plan is to roam further afield for future batches. I met both in 57 The Headline in recent weeks.
The début beer was 620, an American-style pale ale with a modest 4.8% ABV. There's a slight haze to it but no interfering yeast bite: it's all hops. The aroma is probably its best feature, on balance: freshly zesty and enticing. I thought the texture was a little thin, given that it's not a super low ABV job, but thankfully there's enough body to prevent the hop flavours becoming harsh. Bitterness does open the proceedings on tasting: punchy lemon zest and pine, followed by a more mellow jaffa orange juice middle before the rising rind finishes it on an oily acidic punch. It perhaps lacks a bit of subtlety, and it's certainly not one of those oh-so-fashionable juicy numbers, but if you want bitter and sessionable, this is your guy.
620's sole sibling for the moment is called Funny Bone because it's an Irish wit. Arf! It's rather clearer than witbier normally is, and though only 5% ABV has a big, soft, fluffy texture, like drinking the towels of a five-star hotel. I assume that the de rigueur coriander and orange peel have been employed but there's not really much sign of them in the flavour: instead I just get grainy wheat laced with a sweet apple tang and just a little bit of banana as it starts to get warmer. The whole combination just about manages to stay on the good side of refreshing and I'm sure it'll quench many a summer thirst. It's no great shakes in the complex flavour stakes, however.
The official launch of both beers takes place from 5pm this evening in T.O. Brennan's pub on Dublin's northside, with pints, pizzas and prizes promised.
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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