23 February 2009

Up the Badger's Arse

Deveney's off licence in downtown Dundrum has set up a regular series of themed beer tastings -- a laudable effort at broadening the horizons of south Dublin's beer drinking public. I went along to the first one on Friday, just to give some support, of course, and nothing at all to do with the free beer. My fellow ICBeebie Ken lives nearby, so I dropped in on him beforehand to sample a very tasty pale ale he had cornied in his shed (Ken's brewery goes by the name of Badger's Arse, and you can see him impressing Oz and James with his coffee stout here).

When we eventually got to Deveney's, Ruth had queued up her samples -- from J.W. Dundee, Goose Island, Speakeasy, and Sierra Nevada: the USA being the evening's theme. We offered constructive criticism on the order of tastings and then got to talking beer and the specialist beer market in general. She said that the importer who dropped off Samuel Adams Triple Bock told her not to open it as it would scare the punters. I'd noticed it around before, in its sleek non-descript nip bottle with the outrageous €9.99 price tag, and reckoned it wasn't worth satisfying my curiosity. The Samuel Adams range are a mixed bag -- for every classic there's at least one stinker, in my experience. €9.99 is just too much of a gamble for that brand. But with minimal goading, Ruth agreed to pop one open for us.

Mind blowing, is the operative term. This totally flat, super-thick 17.5% ABV beer is a walking tour of dark ale flavours, with a fully live and interactive cast of characters. We start at chocolate: heavy, bitter, 80%+ cocoa, dark chocolate. From there we pass through rich coffee and maple syrup (an actual ingredient) into fresh liquorice, tawny port, fine cigars, and back to steaming hot chocolate puddings. The whole experience put me in mind of the Lost Abbey Angel's Share I had at the Great British Beer Festival, except instead of coming from a cask in a different country available for a couple of days last year, this came from an off licence a few minutes' bike ride from my house. Magnificent, and worth every cent being asked. Ken agreed, and Ruth had two sales on her hands immediately.

The bonus is that the teeny blue glass bottle has a cork. One sip goes an astonishingly long way with this, and after a small post-prandial glass it can be put back in the cupboard, like any good digestif.

This is just the sort of beer we almost never see in Ireland. Get your hands on it now.

Finally, thanks Ruth and thanks Ken for the beer and a fun evening. If you're at all local to Deveney's, be sure and sign up to their mailing list via deveneydundrum@eircom.net. If the tastings go on like they started it'll be well worth your while.

21 comments:

  1. Bloody hell. I want some too!

    Well done Ruth for doing this, I also must say. So, will you be broadcasting this taste sensation on ICB, or will you be trying to keep it to yourself? :D

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  2. Eh? One of the things this blog does is keep me from cluttering up ICB with unasked-for tasting notes.

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  3. I meant more the fact that it exists in this particular location and that it's good. With your reputation I'm sure you don't need to expand beyond "mind blowing" in the notes ;)

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  4. Well it's also in Redmond's and DrinkStore, and probably in wider circulation than that, so I doubt people will have difficulty finding it.

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  5. Bah! You and your fancy American beers. *grumble*

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  6. I have some really dull North American beers coming up soon, I promise.

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  7. Anonymous10:56 pm

    popped in there tonight i'm not normally in the area and picked up a bottle of this, looking forward to it. they've a really good selection, did you pick up any of the fullers vintage ales or whisky casked ale? would've bought a lot more except i was heading into a removal and it might have looked a little odd carrying in a bagful of beer.
    will definitely try and make it to the next tasting on belgian beers i believe.
    dereko1969

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  8. Stupid removals. Where I'm from we do wakes, where it wouldn't have looked at all out of place. As long as you were prepared to share, of course.

    I'm afraid I plumped for a bikeload of cheap Brooklyn Lager as the rest of my haul, and one American ale which Ken texted me after to say was rubbish. I'll get to it in time.

    I did have the Fuller's Brewer's Reserve from before and I should have a review up later in the week.

    And I hoped you mentioned me! Time this blog started earning me some delicious malty commission.

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  9. Sorry, but ... a night out in an off licence? Isn't that what pubs are for? Am I missing something?

    And before you point out that must pubs in Ireland only have Guinness... I'd rather drink that in a pub than the best beer in the world while standing in an offie!

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  10. I guess that's where we differ, Jeff. Anyway, it was very much an extended beer-buying trip than a night out in an offy. This was a night out in an offy.

    And pubs don't only have Guinness. They have Heineken, Miller, Carlsberg, Coors Light and Bud, too. Yum yum.

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  11. Anonymous9:50 pm

    she mentioned you and ken!
    not sure whether that will merit you a discount next time though. might pop down there over the weekend to pick up a few more beers.
    dereko1969

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  12. No mention of the massive autylisised marmite character?

    It certainly does go along way , in fact Utopias is easyer drinking I think.

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  13. "Marmite" would suggest to me a sharp, yeasty sort of tang. Weren't nothing sharp or tangy about this, I thought.

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  14. "I guess that's where we differ, Jeff."

    I admire your honesty! In all honesty, I think this is where I differ from pretty much everyone who writes a beer blog apart from Lew Bryson and Pete Brown...

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  15. Well I wasn't there for blogging reasons. I was there to support a licensed trader who has taken a brave step to try and promote beer other than the factory-made piss on which their survival depends.

    When a pub does this, you can bet I make every effort to be there and report it here. Only, by and large, they don't. Another pint of Miller?

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  16. As far as I know there is basically one batch of Triple Bock , so its pretty old. Every now and then they back mix a new ferment 'freshening' it up a little. When I first tried it years ago autolysis was very prominent. I think last years entry's to competition were abit more subtle.

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  17. Jeff, I think its awfully easy to say you would still sit in the pub and drink Guinness when you are sitting in the land of plenty.

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  18. For the first time in ages I ordered a pint of Guinness out of choice last Saturday. It's just what I wanted. It isn't often I can say that.

    Yes, I suppose if that was the best beer in most of the pubs around here I'd be in despair!

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  19. I love this idea and am a bit jealous you have a good offie just a bike ride away!

    Wine stores do these kinds of tastings all the time-- why not have the same for beer?

    I have no real love for Sam Adams beers but this one sounds lovely...see if I can find it in my dodgy corner of London!

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  20. I don't believe it. I just happened across a site in Germany to buy the triple bock for €6.99. The rest of the list of US beers available is very limited, but still, I'm tempted now.

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  21. Hi Ally,

    I've a funny feeling it's not sold in the UK for legal reasons, because they won't guarantee the ABV. But I could be quite wrong on that.

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