30 August 2007

A sudden chill

It's a damning indictment of the state of Irish beer that our largest independent brewer, owner of a chain of pubs which does not stock the vapid products of Ireland's macrobrewers, has always had a Bud clone in its repertoire. Because it has to. (Ireland's Bud, for the record, is brewed by Diageo down at the old Smithwick's plant in Kilkenny.)

I'm sure I tried this Chiller way back when the Porterhouse (or The Porter House, as it was then) first opened the doors of its Temple Bar brewpub. Recently, however, after years of tireless beer education I've become curious about it. How accurate a rendition is it? How do you make a tasty, hand-made beer that trades on its tastelessness?

Today I gave in and had my first Chiller in eleven years. Believe it or not, it really does take the worthwhile elements from pale American cooking lager and put them in a proper beer. It's very dry, but in a refreshing way, almost like my old friend Fischer. The mouthfeel has a stimulating sparkle to it which leads to criticism number one: the gassiness. I can't imagine drinking very much of this without becoming bloatis in extremis. Perhaps the reason the Porterhouse is so fond of ear-splitting skiddley-eye music is that it covers the belches of the Chiller drinkers.

More problematic was the chemical aftertaste that came with it, a bit like disinfectant. Could have been a bad glass or stale beer, but I sincerely hope it's not supposed to be there. I'll confirm this on my next tasting in 2018.
Michael Jackson, inspiration, RIP.


  1. I just can't be bothered with Porterhouse. I can't see why on earth their beers get any respect whatsoever. There, I've said it.

  2. If you haven't spent much time in Ireland, that's perfectly understandable. If you have, can you tell me where you were drinking, 'cos I'm so there.

  3. Despite the blood that pumps through my veins, I've never been to Ireland...

    The Porterhouse in London is worthy of Dante. The beers are fairly horrendous - indeed I'm not sure I don't prefer Guinness to Plain Porter!

  4. Good description. The Covent Garden Porter House, on a sunny Sunday last summer, was one of the worst pub experiences I've ever had in London.

  5. There are some fairly nightmarish pub-based scenarios on offer in this city, so that really is saying something.

  6. Bear in mind that, as a fan of Porterhouse beers, I'm very easily pleased.

    I'm also a bit lucky that on my one visit to Bünker, Sweden were playing Denmark in Euro 2004, the place was full of happy Swedes, and there was actually a bit of atmos. It didn't look like this is normally the case.

    I have never set foot in a Pitcher & Piano or an All Bar One or any London branch of O'Neill's (I was in one in Aberdeen once but didn't inhale). Perhaps this is a good rule to live by when in the UK...