ADDENDUM: This visit took place September 22nd 2012. According to Dean McGuinness @BeerMessiah, J.W. Sweetman’s has replaced Messrs Maguires. Oh how quickly the world of beers keeps turning. Enjoy this step through near-history.
After a whirlwind first day in Dublin, we attempt to slow down. That doesn’t really happen.
We spend a lifetime at the Archaeological Museum, punctuated by lunch and beer at the Porterhouse (reviewed here previously). Near 6pm, we squeeze in a visit to Dublin’s “Dead Zoo”:
Fully creeped out (the stuffed marmot still stares through my soul at night), we wander St. Stephen’s Green. A rare sun brightens fat trees and spotlights plump geese and groping teens.
We meander back to the River Liffey and find (surprise!) a brewery: Messrs Maguire Craft Brewers. The crowded bar downstairs sends us up to a quiet nook overlooking the river.
We embrace tourist-hood and order the sampler tray.
Our painfully bored waitress drops it on our table and leaves. I break out my tasting notes: little surprise to my wife.
I hate half-pint taster trays.
“Haus Lager” looks an aptly pale amber. It smells of medium intense grassy hops, toffee, and caramel.
The beer feels a bit warm for a lager. But acid, tannin, and alcohol taste assertive. The body is average, as is flavor intensity. Hops and malt dominate a side show of red apple and toffee. The burnt hazelnut bitter finish is pretty lengthy. This is good (3 of 5) and would show better if cooler.
Messrs’s redundantly titled, “Weiss Wheat Ale” feels colder. Good.
It looks slightly hazy medium gold, with rapid small fizz and 1/2cm but constant head.
The small glass does the nose disservice: maybe there are hops? Maybe? No sweetness here but deceptive fruit. The structure feels dull, lacking acidic cut and tannin one expects from a Weiss. The weight feel averagely beer-ish.
Flavors seem interesting and complex with all-spice, cardamom, hops, and clove-stabbed oranges. However, this Weiss lacks precision and sharpness to be anywhere near refreshing enough. It’s faultless but dull. Goodish (3 of 5).
Next the “Rusty Red Ale”. Sounds appetizing!
This is poured warm. Bright red amber and a cream color head, with lazy fizz fill the glass.
Medium intense aromas of caramel, pie, strawberries, and a bit of soy creep in.
The palate again disappoints. The structures are limp. Flavors sort of there with nutty almond and full fat milk. The Red feels mellow, creamy and nice. The length medium plus. This again is good (3 of 5) not breathtaking.
By now, my wife’s eyes start to roll. These beers probably do not merit such thoroughness. But for the sake of science, I press on.
The Bock. 6.5% alcohol. Now we’re talkin’.
Warm again. Maybe I am too American to appreciate it. Whatever. The color looks a lovely copper amber color with medium bubbles and a 1.5cm white head.
The nose shows off simple hops, toffee, and caramel.
Acid, bitterness, and alcohol all hit medium plus levels. However, the body is mid-weight. Flavors, like the nose are not overt, but malt reigns supreme, supported by hops, red apple, toffee, with a burnt hazelnut, long, bitter finish.
The Bock isn’t great. It lacks punch. But this is a very good beer (4 of 5).
Lastly, Messrs’s “Plain Stout”.
The color looks like iron rust red on black, with a cream color head.
The aromas smell of classic, medium intense french roast coffee, balsamic, and soy. Tannins are expectedly strong, with average support from everything else. Flavors of malt, toast, chocolate, are concluded by a very creamy but lean finish. Good (3 of 5) but cliché.
Maybe our lunch at the Porterhouse had over-heightened our expectations. Maybe five hours of museums in one day had dulled our senses. Either way, Messrs Maguire makes good enough beer. It meets expectations, even if it never amazes.
However, their stellar view over the River Liffey is perfect. Also, their spot next to the Metro makes returning home a DUI-free delight.
Pingback: GUINNESS FACTORY: DRINK IN DUBLIN DAY 3 | WAYWARD WINE