Category Archives: Beer

Rince Cochon Biere, 7.5% to 8.5%, Belgium

Belgium is a beer lovers paradise.

The sheer variety of styles on offer & – from my limited experience – high quality results are a delight to explore.

So when some buddies suggest bringing a few back to Ireland – you don’t refuse.

The garishly coloured yet striking selection pack from Difcom – a beer distributer based in France – were unknown territory for me but did include a Biere Whisky – so a few were opened.

Rince Cochon Biere Blonde, 8.5%

The Rince Cochon range sport a cheeky pig – in a variety of colours – and are all high strength offerings.

Biere Blonde displayed a lovely rich malty nose, deeply flavoured palate yet still ‘lagery’ attitude in an eminently quaffable easily over drunk 8.5% ABV.

Nice!

Rince Cochon Biere Whisky, 8.5%

Light golden brown – like whisky with bubbles!

The nose offered soft sweet notes of treacle.

The carbonation on tasting proved too much for me & blew away the rather muted flavours within. Even leaving it stand for a short while didn’t improve matters.

A tad disappointing.

Rince Cochon Biere Rouge, 7.5%

Ribena red! Wasn’t expecting that.

Fruity & very sweet nose flowed into a drinking experience I can only liken to imbibing a liquid pack of fruit pastilles.

Now this style is popular in Belgium – but plainly doesn’t work for me.

Thoughts

Only Biere Blonde pleased me.

On closer – geeky – inspection a few things emerged.

The use of sugar – to boost ABV – & natural flavouring rather than allow taste to emanate from the raw ingredients took these beers in a direction both my palate & ethos didn’t particularly enjoy.

It’s fun to experiment however & I’m glad of the opportunity to taste far & wide.

Even if only to confirm my palate preferences!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Keavin’s Port, Dublin. Wetherspoon’s Irish Expansion.

Wetherspoons divide opinion.

Spoons news & menu c/othewhiskeynut

When they first appeared in North London back in the 1980’s – I was there.

One of their earliest bars – The Rochester Castle – became a frequent haunt of mine – & I’ve been in many since.

The Wetherspoon model – which is still in use today – was relatively radical at the time.

No piped music.

No TV screens.

No slot machines.

No smoking areas.

Food served all day.

Free refills of tea & coffee.

Varying taps of ‘real ale’ offered at decent prices.

Little did I know nearly 40 years later I’d be looking forward to a weekend away with herself staying in the newly opened €33 million Keavin’s Port Hotel & Bar to enjoy that very same model!

Keavin’s Hotel & Bar c/othewhiskeynut

Most of those monies were spent on the careful & detailed restoration of the 8 Georgian Town Houses – plus 1 Chapel – the premises now occupy.

Confessions in the Chapel? c/othewhiskeynut

Pictures, memorabilia & artifacts recalling the former uses of the buildings now adorn the space. From specially commissioned stained glass work of church providers Early & Company to the marvelous inclusion of the former Chapel into a dining area.

Window at reception c/othewhiskeynut

The modern hotel is discretely added on at the back & boasts sleekly designed contemporary rooms with all the expected mod cons – plus the lovely touch of artwork from local schools commissioned by Wetherspoons.

Room artwork c/othewhiskeynut

The bar areas include a stunning 12 metre high glass atrium, 2 beer gardens & cosy snugs within the old Georgian building.

Atrium with bar & beer garden below c/othewhiskeynut

Prices are very keen – Top Brands – Sensible Prices is the tag line – although I was a tad disappointed at the lack of an Irish flavour.

Keen prices c/othewhiskeynut

Opting for a Kenyan Tusker Lager – whose malty body provided a pleasing flavour profile – herself enjoyed a Gunpowder G’n’T from Drumshanbo.

Tusker time! c/othewhiskeynut

Wetherspoon stalwarts of Hobgoblin, Ringwood & Abbot were on tap – no Irish representation here yet – although Beamish & Franciscan Well are available in pint & cans.

Despite being open for less than a week – with a few minor teething problems – the hotel & bar were packed. At one point the very friendly, helpful & courteous staff informed us they had to turn folks away to keep the numbers manageable!

A convivial & jovial atmosphere ensured a mighty evening – whether it was because of the All Ireland Final the following day or folks out for the first time post easing of COVID restrictions remains unknowable.

The controversial & outspoken head of Wetherspoon, Tim Martin, may continue to outrage – though the model of affordable drinking & dining in a bright, architecturally attractive, friendly & comfortably atmospheric space continues to pull in the punters.

Keavin’s Port Bar c/othewhiskeynut

Would you choose to drink at Wetherspoons?

Sláinte

The Greatest Beer Run Ever, John ‘Chick’ Donohue & JT Molloy.

Hey!

Let’s deliver some beer to our buddies!

Sounds like a good plan.

There’s just the minor inconvenience of these buddies fighting a war in Vietnam – but the plan hatched in a New York bar grows legs.

The Book, The Beer, The Movie? c/othewhiskeynut

The Greatest Beer Run Ever is a mad cap adventure only the young or foolish would contemplate.

Written years after the event it’ s full of humanity – both brutal and kind – as well as reflections of a life well lived.

Sit back, pour yourself a beer & enjoy the ride!

Sláinte

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier, Märzen, 5.1%

I’m smitten with Märzen.

Smoky heaven c/othewhiskeynut

The smoky BBQ flavours just win me over.

Using barley dried over a beechwood log fire – the richness, depth & above all – smokiness – of this traditional German style screams out YES to my palate.

Smokebeer! c/othewhiskeynut

I’ve moved over to the Rauchbier side!

Prost!

X-Mark, Gold Rum Beer, 5.9%

Rather than bother with the hassle of barrel ageing – X-Mark simply throw some of the flavouring agent into the mix.

X didn’t hit the spot. c/othewhiskeynut

You certainly get the hint of rum from this concoction – but it’s like drinking an ordinary lager with a dash of rum on top.

Ingredients c/othewhiskeynut

Other than the novelty – I don’t think I’ll be indulging again.

Sláinte

DOT Brew, Session Rye Revisited, 4%

I don’t just enjoy a rye whiskey – I’m also partial to rye in beer.

The grain imparts different qualities to the beverages.

In whiskey there’s usually a light sweet aroma, rather dry palate & a gorgeous spiciness to finish.

In beer I loose the spice.

Rye beer c/othewhiskeynut

With this Session Rye from DOT Brew a light sweet & fruity nose kicks things off.

Definitely dry on the palate.

Then fades rather quickly leaving you wanting more!

Back label c/othewhiskeynut

Rye grain is harder to work with – which is probably why it’s use faded over the years.

Makes it all the more enjoyable to savour when it does appear!

Sláinte

Desperados Red, Tequila, Guarana & Cachaca Flavoured Beer, 6%

Talk about a cultural mish-mash!

Tequila from Mexico, Guarana & Cachaca from Brazil, licenced in the Netherlands, made in Poland & sold in Ireland – where it seems to have cornered the market as it’s everywhere!

Desperately red! c/othewhiskeynut

Sadly the drinking experience leaves a little to be desired.

More a chemical concoction than Cachaca cutey.

What’s in this? c/othewhiskeynut

Sweeter than the Original – & obviously redder – I’m not sure how many fresh natural ingredients graced this beer.

But as it’s the only Tequila, Guarana & Cachaca beer in town – I had to give it a go.

Sláinte

Galway Bay, Märzen To The Fire, 5.5%

Smoke isn’t exclusively either peat – nor restricted to whiskey.

The fuel used to dry the barley – or other grains – imparts a wide variety of flavours to the resultant beverage.

2 (1 of 1)
Smokin’ c/othewhiskeynut

For this Galway Bay Märzen – a popular style of German lager – beechwood is the choice.

I was keen to sample the results.

2 (1 of 1)-3
Beechwood smoked. c/othewhiskeynut

There’s an element of trompe l’oeil going on here.

You expect a dark, heavy ale – but get a light, refreshing lager overlaid with a soft, attractive wood fired smokiness.

2 (1 of 1)-4
Ingredients c/othewhiskeynut

An excellent accompaniment to those lazy sunny afternoon BBQ’s.

Sláinte

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