15 June 2018

It's ya birthday

The redoubtable Francesca of London brewery Five Points organised a pub crawl through south Dublin to mark her employer's fifth anniversary in business. Arrangements were made for a commemorative collaborative beer to be on tap at each of the four stops. We met up early doors at Brickyard in Dundrum.

Here they were pouring Birthday IPA, produced in association with Northern Monk. It's a dark orange colour and smelled beautifully juicy and tropical, in a way that's very much the fashion these days but which surprisingly few fashion-chasing beers actually manage to achieve. The taste is admittedly less juicy but it is sweet, mixing up ripe oranges with chocolate. It took me a moment to realise what it reminded me of: Jaffa Cakes. At 6.7% ABV it has plenty of cakey heft, and of course almost no bitterness. It's silly, maybe a little weird, but made for fun al fresco drinking.

It was all downhill from there; an easy freewheel to Ranelagh and stop two at the TapHouse. Wild beer was the collaborating brewery this time, assisting with Hybrid DIPA, a big lad at 8.7% ABV. Research into the "hybrid" aspect reveals that S. kudriavzevii is the yeast strain used, one isolated relatively recently and associated more with mouldy vegetation than hoppy beer. It doesn't really pull any special tricks here, resulting in a decent but unremarkable double IPA. It's another thick one, its flavour beginning on savoury fried onion before turning to citric marmalade, finishing on an invigorating note of lime rind. I'd like to try something with the same odd yeast but where it gets to make a proper contribution instead of being shouted down by the hops.

A prior engagement meant I had to leave the tour here. That meant I missed the Jupa IPA at The Beer Market -- though it wasn't an official birthday beer, so maybe it'll be back some time. Then the tour finished up at UnderDog and I was able to drop in there the following day to catch up with the Baltic Porter that our very own YellowBelly helped out with. This poured black with a white top and is unusually sweet for the style. The typical bitter liquorice is present but understated, hidden by a milk chocolate foretaste and herbal cola at the end. Thankfully it finishes properly lager-clean, while also being a decadent 8.4% ABV, so it more than meets the fundamental requirements of Baltic porter. Once I got over the initial surprise, I enjoyed this gentler and more accessible take on Poland's national beer style.

Cheers to Francesca and Five Points for arranging, and the pubs for hosting. It's nice to get a bit of mileage in between the beers of a Saturday afternoon.

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