DOT Brew is a new Dublin start-up, a single-handed operation of brewer Shane Kelly currently in the process of fixing its abode near the Coombe and utilising Craftworks across town for the initial runs.
The flagship is DOT Session Rye Ale, a meagre 4% ABV but looking much fuller in the glass: a dark and serious ochre shade. Expecting something quite malt driven, it was a wonderful surprise to get a waft of fresh and juicy tropical fruit in the aroma. In the flavour this blends with a savoury and wholesome breadiness, adding nuts and spices, and reminding me of tea brack or similar moist fruitcake. A tannic finish adds to the effect.
Though pouring was a chore and it took several goes, working around the giant white afro of a head, the beer is far from overcarbonated and very drinkable. The word "session" puts me immediately on guard for wateriness these days, but it avoids that too, and I'm guessing it's the rye that lends it a pleasant chewiness. While fairly hop-forward and dosed with said specialty grain, the bitterness is remarkably low, giving just a mild citric tang in the finish. I ripped through the half litre quickly and would have been very prepared to drink a second straight after: session accomplished.
Like many's a new brewer lately, DOT and Shane were poked out on a stick to meet the ravening hoards at 57 The Headline. Session Rye on draught is just as balanced and drinkable as the bottle-conditioned version, though with perhaps a little more contribution from those tropical hops. Also that evening they were pouring an experimental Barrel-Aged Red Ale on cask. Presented with a sample but no information I deemed it a very pleasant porter, with masses of warm milk chocolate and a wheaty malt dryness for a real children's breakfast cereal nursery flavour: pure comfort in a glass. Oh it's a red ale you say? Well, OK, it does look like one but that's about as far as it goes. Rather than deduct points for not being true to style I'm all in favour of awarding extra ones for those beers that transcend what the brewer intended them to be.
Things made a bit more sense when I was told that it was matured in a whiskey barrel which had been used more recently to age a stout. It's amazing just how much of that beer's character has leached out into this one. Perhaps another batch of red into the same barrel would help tip the balance further in the base beer's favour. Anyway, I'm not complaining. These two were a great introduction into a very promising new Dublin brewing operation and I'll be keeping an eye out for more. Is any of DOT's sour cherry and apricot ale still around?