I was planning on going to The Brazen head first to start a write up on a book of Dublin pubs but it started raining as I approached Capel bridge so decided to turn left and walk in to the porterhouse first. I never made it to the Brazen head in the end, so that will wait till another day.
The porterhouse always has a load of Belgian beers in bottles but for the festival they had a bunch of them on tap. These are the ones they had on tap in the image.
I started off with a half pint, no wait let me be honest here. I started off with a special of muscles and chips (very common in Paris actually). With the food came a Chocolate truffle stout. I wrote about it before and was not too impressed as its plain porter with cocoa. This time I drank it fast so it stayed tasty, had I left it to warm to room temperature it would have lost its chocolate and turned to plain porter with its cookie dough taste. So of the Belgian beers I started off with St Bernardus Wit. This is a witbeer (Belgian white) sort of like Hoegaarden for those not familiar with the style. The main thing about this wit was that like most wits it was packed with spice from the coriander seeds and also had a strong wheat flavour. Most Wits have a typical orange taste/aroma but this one has more of a lemon aroma & taste. It was very smooth.
Next up I tried the St Bernadus ABT. This strong (10%) Belgian quad is packed full of brown sugar and plum. In fact this would be a great Christmas beer. The alcohol is obvious but not in your face so you do not realise it is 10% but you can tell it is a strong beer. Interestingly there is a nice hop bitterness that lingers. More sweet than bitter this is a very complex beer and very tasty indeed.
This was one my wife ordered, actually she had a Fruli before this so this was her second beer. Its the Chapeau kriek which is a cherry lambic beer.
This beer is essentially like koolaid (for American readers). It is sour Cherry in the aroma and pure Cherry in the taste. It is like sour candy. Lots of sour sherbet. Personally I only had a few mouthfuls and that was enough. Too sweet and candy like for me but my wife loved it so I have to make her something like this now.
Another beer my wife had was Newton apple. To me this smelled and tasted exactly like pressed apple. I did not even get a hint of alcohol in it. I would happily drink this in the morning as a fruit juice without realising I was drinking beer. This is pretty dangerous as I would end up over the limit without even knowing I had been drinking. The problem with this beer was that it tasted so much like pressed apple juice that I might as well just drink pressed apple juice. Not my sort of thing but my wife loved it.
My next beer was a Trappist Rochfort 8. I picked this purely because it was Belgian and because I live in Rochfortbridge. In the same way I once bet on a horse called Rochfort something (won me some money too) I think I bet on a winner here.
This was a lovely Belgian Trappist beer. This was another complex Belgian beer full of burnt plum, moscavado, toffee and so much more.
It was very sweet but had a tiny amount of bitterness hiding in the background. At 9.2% the alcohol is not very noticeable making this dangerously drinkable.
The final drink at the Porterhouse for my wife was a Floris Passion fruit. We both found this very tart and this was a good thing, It was certainly sweet and tasted exactly like a passion fruit juice but it was tart enough to le me know I was drinking a beer and so treat it with respect. Highly carbonated and too sweet for me, again this is a beer my wife loved.
After the Porterhouse I went to the Bull and Castle fora few hours and met up with some fellow ICB members. Great food and wonderful beer, this is my favourite pub in the world so far. On the way out the door I met TheBeerNut who is probably the premier beer blogger in Ireland. He is also a very nice guy and he handed me a bottle of O' Haras Celebration stout. These are like Gold in Ireland. Very rare and impossible to buy as they were sold out ages ago. Well what can I give him in return? Well on Thursday when we all (ICB) meet I will bring him some home brew. I have my own stout for them to taste and he will get a couple of bottles to bring home himself.
Well after a week conditioning, here is my 1 week taste test of my first All grain brew. My Cloaked Stranger Stout is a rich roast coffee stout. To me it was fantastic, rich and complex. We will see what the other brewers think on Thursday, it should even be better by then as it will be nearly two weeks conditioning.