11 June 2018

Source load

Everything recent(ish) from Dublin's brewpubs today. Stop me if this is getting perfunctory.

Urban Brewing has been throwing all sorts of stuff into the fermenter, but I'll start with something a bit more sedentary: Wild Atlantic Wave pale ale. This is a mild 4.6% ABV and rather custardy looking. There's a slightly savoury quality to the aroma which had me expecting yeast bite but the flavour is surprisingly, and pleasingly, clean. I got lots of fresh tropical produce: lime and guava putting it at the bitter end of the spectrum, but balanced with some sweeter mango. The carbonation was low, giving it a lovely cask-like smoothness, enhancing its sinkability. While I only had a half, this would work excellently by the pint, and multiples thereof.

Playing a bit faster and looser with beer styles, we have a Dry-Hopped Kölsch, the hop in question being the popular Mandarina Bavaria. It's extremely herbal tasting, with a funk which brings it past warm grass cuttings and into urinal cakes. I suspect the dry hops may have been left in the tank a little too long. Bookending this are an enticing peachy aroma and a stimulating citric bitterness and the whole thing remains as smoothly refreshing as Kölsch ought to be. A minor tweak on the dry-hopping front and it would be superb.

I drank that next to a Clementine & Tangerine Pale Ale. Despite the added fruit, this was an altogether plainer affair, dry and crisp, like a water biscuit. Where I expected fruit I got herbs, strangely, though it at least looks like a tangerine, with its bright orange hue. Deeming it fine but not very interesting I downed it and moved along.

Time to pick another style and another fruit out of the recipe hat. That gave us Watermelon, Basil & Seasalt Gose, only 3.6% ABV though expensive at €4 for a half pint. This arrived a watery-looking hazy pale yellow. The flavour is very odd, right from the get-go. A green, almost detergent-like, artificial phenolic flavour is dominant, somewhere between Jolly Ranchers and Fairy Liquid. I don't think it's an infection or anything gone wrong; I suspect this is just what happens when you use watermelon in quantity on an otherwise neutral base. The smooth texture is pleasant, and there's a nice tang of brine on the finish, but overall I think it's just too weird to work.

Another at the same strength to finish off, consumed on the terrace on the first warm day of spring. Eschewing a formal style, this is just Cucumber, Lime & Seasalt. I missed the lime, but only because the cucumber flavour is massive. You can almost feel the pulp, like in a smoothie. The first thing that shot to mind was Pims: a cool jug of it, loaded with cucumber slices. Coupled with its mild salty tang, this was so enjoyable and refreshing I didn't stop to wonder where the lime went. I'm assured it's under there somewhere.

In with the cucumbers and out with the watermelons, is my gourd-related takeway from Urban this time.

Meanwhile, upriver at Open Gate Brewery, they were keeping the recipes tamer but just as varied. On the grounds that one should never pass a beer with one's name on it, I began my latest visit with Nutty Red. It's 5% ABV and an appropriate dark copper colour. It does a good job of beefing up the typical features of an Irish red, with a full yet soft body, a stimulating metallic bitter tang, and finishing on a crisp roasted note. This has everything you'd want from the style without resorting to pilfering features from other ones.