porterhouse beer dublin

Ireland's Beer Beyond Guinness

Ah Ireland...Eleven long years after boarding a ferry from Wales, the time was ripe again for Irish beer. Guinness on tap in Ireland, particularly Dublin, tastes like nowhere else in the world. Its lesser cousins, Murphy's and Beamish are still pleasant, with the latter being my favourite (and cost effective). Harp lager is well-known and Smithwick's ale is very popular, however, my old companion Caffrey's was nowhere to be seen (probably because it's from the north).

porterhouse beer dublin

The Porterhouse has a few locations around Dublin.

We stumbled into a pub called The Porterhouse while in Dublin. It turns out they are all over the capital and they brew their own beer. And what a range they have! I won't even begin to list them here, but I tried the Plain Porter (4.3%) and the Brainblasta (7.0%). The former is smooth and bitter, while the Brainblasta is a deep red ale that packs a delicious punch. And they were both outstanding.

whitewater brewing company beers

A trifecta of goodness: selections from Belfast's Whitewater Brewery

Our mate, Robin, who writes a lot of wind... recommended The Bull and Castle, so we gladly went there with Peter and Dalene of Hecktic Travels. He also suggested I should try a brown ale called Clotworthy Dobbin. I must also receommend this beer, because it was very good. Later on in Cork, we visited Bierhaus where Andrea tried both the Belfast Ale and Lager from Whitewater Brewery, the same makers of the Clotworthy Dobbin.

Cork was also home to a micro-brewery called the Franciscan Well. After trying their Friar Weisse wheat beer, their latest drop 'Croaking Lizard' was a brown ale with a difference. The tasting notes said it was strong on hops and malt, and how right they were! One of the most unique beers I've ever tried at 5.0%. Another beer worth trying is the Dark Arts Porter made by Trouble Brewing.

croaking lizard

Croaking Lizard Brown Ale at the Franciscan Well in Cork

We wanted to visit O'Hara's Brewery in Carlow after leaving Kilkenny on a Sunday, but they were closed. Andrea had previously tried the red ale and their stout is meant to be pretty good. It was fantastic to see so many boutique brews in Ireland, because as good as Guinness is, the tap variety in most pubs was less than impressive. Every, and I mean every, pub we went into had Coors Light and Budweiser taking up precious tap space. Heineken and Carlsberg were also heavily featured, but this I'll allow. We also noticed Budweiser ads on television, in the paper and even on billboards in the middle of the country. The premise is if it's a hot day somewhere, you pay less for a 'Bud'.

What the fuck? This is Ireland. It doesn't get hot!

While driving around Dublin looking for our hotel on the last day, I noticed other micro-breweries around the place. So they are everywhere and you just need to be pointed in the right direction. Then the senses can be unleashed to revel in them, but not for a moment, forgetting that Guinness is a supreme beer that makes you strong, turtles included.

What's your favourite Irish beer?

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11 years ago

Great to learn about all the different beers available! Especially the locally brewed ones! Wished we could go try them for ourselves!

Reply to  idelish

Cheers! It’s always great to have beer options!

11 years ago

I love that there is a brewery called the Franciscan Well. I remember in Germany that I would see Budweiser, but it wasn’t the American Budweiser, it was German Budweiser, very different.

Reply to  Lisa

That’s really a great name alright! Just a technical clarification, that delicious Budweiser Budvar is actually from Czech Republic. They’ve got great beers there, too.

11 years ago

A HUGE well done for having a proper sample of what Ireland has to offer – I can assure you; most Irish drinkers don’t know as much as you do now. You’re on the money when you note the omniprescence in Irish pubs of uninteresting premium brand flavourless lagers, and the Irish seem to just lap them up.   Absolutely delighted that you made it to the Bull & Castle – I never found the atmosphere there that exciting but the selection of beers is second to none. The Porterhouse is great but more interesting for their own brews than for… Read more »

Reply to  Robin

A huge thanks to you aswell Robin for recommending the Bull and Castle. I agree that the ambience there wasn’t that great, and I did love the Porterhouse brews.

Great fact about Whitewater! I would’ve loved to visit those beer gods in Belfast personally.

11 years ago

I agree with Debbie, Smithwicks is awesome! Its my favorite red ale. I’m fascinated by all these beers. I’d love to go on an Irish beer tour. Secretly prefer beer over wine. But don’t tell my foodie friends. 

Reply to  Sherry

Beer is the nectar of the gods, Sherry!

11 years ago

Irish beers in the US would have to be Smithwicks but I am sure they would taste very different if my bum was sitting in a bar stool somewhere in Ireland! So I don’t have a favorite yet 🙂

You’re right about the different tastes. I didn’t mind the Smithwick’s ale, but couldn’t find their stout anywhere!

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