26 October 2007

A storm brewing

There's no doubt that the beer market in Ireland is currently undergoing an upheaval. Choice on the shelves has never been greater and several new Irish breweries are said to be on their way. However, I'm sitting here (offline: I'll post this later) in the pub with the truest indication yet that the revolution is at hand: it's a pint of draught Irish stout without a nitro head. Ten minutes ago I would have told you such a thing was unthinkable, and that consumer taste in Ireland -- sculpted by Diageo to its own ends -- would never stand for it. But here we are. Only marginally less odd is the fact that it's being brewed and served in Messrs Maguire, a Dublin pub known for its laissez faire attitude to the often excellent house beers.

The beer itself is Messrs Maguire Imperial Stout, and it's a cracker. Light for an imperial at only 7% ABV, but style-shmyle. It hits the nose with powerful roasted aromas and follows them with a bitter and almost mediciney foretaste, followed quickly by a chocolate middle, the classic Irish stout dryness at the end and ohhh that rich mouthfeel of a purely carbonated draught stout.

Clearly a well-deserved poke in the eye for our domineering Uncle Arthur. They should have called it anti-Imperial Stout.This is the third delicious new beer in a row I've found following intelligence received on the IrishCraftBrewer.com forums. So I'd just like to say thank you to any ICBers who may be reading for making my drinking life so much better. And a special cheers to the site's management (they give me free homemade beer sometimes, so I'm basically owned, but I'd probably say it anyway...).

Here's to the future: may the only nitrogen be outside the glass.


  1. How nice that they have gotten their act together. On my visits their beers were uninspired, and the staff were not interested in serving them, either!

  2. Oh don't get me wrong, it's still one of the least conducive brewpubs in the world, and you would be very lucky to get your pint from someone who is even aware of what the current seasonal is. But their brewer is a man of talent, and it could well be that they're giving him more freedom to do his thing.

    One good sign is that there's no homebrewed lager at the moment. They were never up to much, and there still are the Heineken and Bud taps for their target market.

  3. So was the stout cask (or tank) conditioned, or was it served under CO2 pressure?

  4. The latter. Maguire's make cask ales pretty much exclusively for export to the UK for festivals, as guest ales, and the like. Nobody here will drink them; no pub would touch them.

    They have on rare occasions been known to have one on in-house, but their beer engine hasn't been seen in quite a while. I reckon it just wasn't economical, having it set up right there by the Smithwicks tap.