29 January 2008

Smooth operators

The slow trickle of American beers into Ireland seems to be continuing. Redmond's had a couple of new ones on my last visit and I snapped them up. Samuel Adams Holiday Porter first. It's a magnificent beer from start to finish. Colourwise it's a deep black with ruby edges. The attractive sweet aroma will follow you round the room. A sharp prickly fizz starts the mouthfeel, but quickly subsides leaving a full and silky texture. Following the richness of the texture there's the richness of the flavour: milk chocolate and raisins first, dark chocolate and plums at the end. Very much in the same league as St Peter's magnificent Old Style Porter and a crime to sell in mere 355ml bottles.

Next up is one of those beers whose style I had no idea of until I opened it: Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale. The big hoppy aroma on uncapping the bottle was the first clue, and the orange amber colour was the second suggestion, that this is an American-style IPA. I rather like Sierra Nevada's own IPA for its rough and uncompromising bitterness. This is a much smoother affair, full bodied and lightly carbonated. The flavour is full of peaches: sumptuously bittersweet with a gorgeous sherbety quality. It is, in short, Goose Island IPA by Sierra Nevada. I had me a Goose Island last Friday night, but I've always room for another, whatever the label.

More American beer like this, please, Mr Importer, sir.

7 comments:

  1. The Holiday Porter is my favorite Sam Adams beer, but here in Pennsylvania I can only get it by buying a full case of Sam Adams Winter Classics.

    That means four bottles of the holiday porter and 20 bottles of other stuff -- mostly very good stuff, fortunately.

    I've never seen the Holiday Porter on draft.

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  2. Don't get me started on the US model of beer packaging. 12oz is too small, but 6x12oz is too much, especially at the prices I have to pay. Forcing a mixed case of 20 sounds excessive, though. And a great way for a brewery to offload any beer no-one would buy voluntarily, not that I'm making such accusations here. But still...

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  3. I've not heard any news of the Holiday Porter in England. Here's hoping!

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  4. Good luck with that. If it helps, the importer is Galatea Spirits of Sweden, according to the label.

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  5. Last time I had holiday porter I wasn’t all that impressed, it was a sample submitted for judging however and for some reason Sam Adams does seem to be very good at submitting very tired old samples to competition.
    St Peters Old Porter is a top drop.

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  6. Pennsylvania's beer laws are to blame, not Boston Beer Co.

    State-licensed beer stores are only allowed to sell kegs and cases of beer. No smaller configurations.

    Licensed taverns can sell bottled or canned beer for take-home in any configuration up to 12 cans or bottles. If you want to buy more you can, but you can only carry out 12 at a time...

    Wine and spirits are only sold at state-run stores.

    You can't buy any kind of alcoholic beverage at other kinds of stores.

    Shipping alcohol to or from Pennsylvania is illegal.

    But a new law in committee right now may change all that.

    Here's hoping...

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  7. Ahhh committees: is there nothing they can't do?

    Seriously, good luck with that. We have a nasty feeling over here that our excise duty on alcohol is about to be raised in an attempt to reduce problem drinking.

    Now excuse me while I go pound a couple of six-packs of Rogue Chocolate Stout in the park...

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