It's bilingual puns again today, I'm afraid. Sorry.
Solas is a bar on Wexford Street in central Dublin. It's a very up-market modern sort of place, big into its cocktails and achingly hip soundtrack. In short, it's the sort of fashion-victim lounge I generally avoid like the proverbial. Oddly, however, it has a very slightly better-than-average beer selection, though leaning towards the wit-and-weiss school of daring, with just a couple of Chimays representing decent ale. Bizarrely there's a Bass tap, something normally only found in slightly ropy suburban drinking dens and those frequented by even ropier Taoisigh. But I digress.
The first tap in the row dispenses a house beer called Solas Lite. "Solas" is Irish for "light" in the illumination sense, so somebody probably thought this was hilarious. Anyway, I have no idea who makes it or what it's doing there. The staff were as bemused by the whole thing as I was. What they could tell me is that it's a yellow lager, it's very low strength (3.6% ABV) and it's dirt cheap: €3.60 a pint. Cheap unbranded beer is not something one readily associates with this sort of bar. In fact none of those three words really fit in with the stoli-and-prada brigade. Nevertheless, the proprietors are proud enough of this to have had custom glassware made -- the engraving just visible against a black background (right).
Unsurprisingly, the intrigue around Solas Lite is far more interesting than the beer. It's bog-standard pale and gassy as hell. The flavour, such as it is, is dry and there's a touch of diacetyl which suggests to me that it may actually have been made by a human rather than a machine.
Being upmarket, Solas doesn't have a Bud tap, but this is pretty close. The colour and strength are wrong for it to be a simple rebadge, however. And yet an owner who has specially commissioned a beer and accessories is seemingly not enough of a beer enthusiast to have ordered something interesting. And yet it's been around too long for it simply to be a disguised batch of something else that didn't turn out as expected. None of it adds up, and I doubt I'll ever get to the bottom of it unless someone out there knows.
Anyway, here presenting Solas Lite: probably the dullest enigma in the beeriverse.
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