05 March 2018

Drumming up business

On a free weekday afternoon in early January I took a spin up to Dundrum. I stopped by Deveney's off licence and also had a swift Vietnow in the new P. Mac's attached to the shopping centre. But the main reason for the excursion was to try a few of the exclusive beers pouring at Brickyard.

The house beer is called Brick Red and is brewed by O Brother. Red ale at 4.2% ABV is not, I'm sure, intended to induce yelps of amazement, and indeed this doesn't. It is pretty good though. There's no cheap watery thinness and certainly no clunking sugary toffee. While sweet, that comes from a fresh strawberry and raspberry flavour, finishing cleanly, aided by a soft soda effervescence. Solidly sessionable and accessible house beers are something I associate more with pubs taking a chance on one independent draught option so I found it a little odd that there's one here among the 23 other taps. I'm sure it has a following with the regulars, though, and might even persuade them to explore further.

Brickyard seems to be a kind of unofficial brewery tap for local brewer Priory, and had exclusive rights over Priory Red IPA, their second release. This was created via the we-got-the-wrong-sort-of-malt-by-mistake method of recipe development. It's more of a dark orange colour than actual red, and I didn't get any redness in the flavour -- no toffee or caramel, and no summer fruits this time. Instead there's a beautifully juicy mandarin foretaste, followed by a pinch of caraway seed in the finish. It's another smooth-textured one too, very easy drinking for the substantial 5.9% ABV. Two good red beers in a row: what are the odds?

A final new tick for me was Snakey One IPA by Bog Hopper in Donegal. I haven't been impressed with their beers so far, but this one was getting good press so I was prepared to give it plenty of the benefit of the doubt. Alas it suffers from the same rough dirty quality that most of the rest of the range do, like they've been homebrewed without proper temperature control or maturation time. It is mostly clear, so certainly isn't murky soup, but I got a nasty twang of rubber in the foretaste, burying what little citrus character it had beneath it. While I can't pinpoint any specific technical flaw it just tasted not right, and especially not for an IPA.

Should you happen to be out Dundrum/Balally way, Brickyard is a must. I'm probably the last beer drinker on the southside to point this out.