In an attempt to drink beer in Ireland that wasn't Guinness (a strange concept, I know,) Heather and I found a place in the Temple bar area called The Porterhouse. This is a microbrewery with a few locations throughout Dublin. I'm a huge fan of microbrews. I like when beer making is treated with care--like an art rather than an industry. So a couple of blocks and over the Grattan Bridge we went, certificates in tow. (I'm sure local bars in Dublin are very impressed with certificates tourists like us get from Guinness and Jameson.) We take a look at the menu and decide that there are things on the menu we can both eat, so we go inside and get a table.
Looking back, I should have asked if they offered a sampler or flight of beers, but it didn't occur to me. I had a pint of the Wrasslers Stout while Heather went with a glass of the Plain Porter. One of the reasons Heather liked Ireland is that they offer beer in a glass--or half pint size. I suppose there are some place in the U.S. that will do that for you but not without a weird look. My Wrasslers was good. Distinct from Guinness insofar as it was hoppier and a tad less malty. It had more in common with the Guinness Foreign Extra that we brought home.
For our next round, I got the exact same thing. I figured I had hit upon a good thing so why change it. Also I was too drunk to form words so all I could do was gesture for another (kidding, mom.) Heather decided to switch it up and get a glass of the Temple Brau. It was clean and a tad on the bitter side. Exactly what you would expect from a German sounding beer.
The drinks paired well with our food. I got a burger and Heather got and Irish stew. I'd comment more on the food but that's really more Heather's department. Some of the staff had t-shirts that said something to the effect of "Food Runner: Don't Ask Me For Anything." I wish I could get away with something like that for my restaurant--a shirt that basically says, "Leave Me Alone."
When we left that night, we were a little alcohol soaked from the sampling we did at Guinness and Jameson plus the couple of rounds we had at Porterhouse. So we stumbled wearily onto the bus that took us home and then stumbled wearily into our hotel room. Thus ended our epic day in which we experienced the mighty triumvirate of Dublin-specific alcohol.
The following day, we met up with our friend Colleen who's in the middle of a graduate program near Dublin. When none of us could decide where to eat, we suggested we go back to Porterhouse. Good beer at reasonable prices. Colleen said she'd never been there before but then she recognized it once we got inside. "Oh yeah, I love this place!" Can Heather pick 'em or what? Heather loves going to cities and finding the insider stuff. In New York she's better then the Not For Tourists guide. She was quite proud of this Dublin find.
This time I got the Brainblasta Ale and Heather and Colleen both got pint bottles of Bulmers Pear Cider. Colleen filled us in on some controversy surrounding Bulmers Pear Cider. Apparently the original recipe contained certain laxative properties that caused people to shy away from it. Colleen assured us that the matter was addressed and that the new formula would not cause that reaction. Perhaps they should keep the old recipe in stores and market it as a laxative. "Bulmers Pear Cider: Provides Essential Roughage" or, "Bulmers Pear Cider: Better Than Metamucil!" It's a goldmine, but I digress.
The Brainblasta was very hoppy and floral--not unlike an IPA. At a lofty 7% alcohol by volume, the tag line on the website is, "Use it. Don't abuse it." The Bulmers was sweet and fruity but not my cup of tea. I prefer a standard cider. It was on this occasion that I had my first order of fish and chips. I thought it would make for nice pub fare to go with my beer and I was right. I suppose anything battered and fried pairs really well with beer. Who knew? Overall, this bar was a great way to end the alcohol themed day of our trip and when we decide to come back to Dublin, we definitely plan to return.