Cork, and a kind of beery-catch up.

The Handsome Family, Handsum IPA and Hanson er, yes, hanging out with the most excellent Tony were the highlights of last weekend.  This whole trip can be told via the medium of beer, as can most of my holidays.

  1. Handsum IPA – after checking in to our hotel, and eating the best fish supper I’ve had since Victoria BC (I don’t understand why people think that English do good fish and chips), we head down to local pub, Sin é.  Walking in is pretty much like walking into a stereotypical Irish Tourism Board video – locals drinking pints of stout at the dark and cosy bar, a covers band sounding just like they’d stepped out of The Commitments playing in the corner.  We order two pints of Handsum IPA and it’s the perfect thing to drink after the greasy fatty salt of dinner. Fresh, malty, lots of hops but not overpoweringly, almost like beers I had on the West Coast.  Maybe because the beer was served so close to source? Closing time comes too soon.
  2. Survivor, Mi Daza XXX – Next day we head out for an excellent late breakfast bap at the English Market, pick up our Handsome Family tickets and head over to the Rising Sons Brew Pub.  Once we dismantled houses brick by brick and reassembled them over in America – now we do the same but in reverse and with sports bars.  The beers we try there are great – a Beara Irish/Rising Sons collaboration, the Survivor pale ale is dry hopped, with a tropical zing, and the Mi Daza XXX is a nitro-poured Cork stout, with a great cocoa aroma, roasty and creamy and smooth.
  3. Purgatory, Shandon Stout, Rebel Red – We head on up the hill to the Cork Butter Museum which I was prepared to laugh at, but was actually gently brilliant in the way only highly focused regional museums can be.  The Franciscan Well brewery is next on our list.  The first beer, Purgatory, is a good solid pale ale.  That’s all I can remember about it, and my notes don’t help.  The stout was quite sweet, almost too much so, and quite thin.  The Rebel Red was possibly the crappest beer I’ve had in years, and I am surprised that there are people out there that rate it highly.  It tasted like someone had left a pair of new, cheap rubber flip flops in by accident whilst fermenting.  But luckily the pub saves the day with a delicious taste of Jameson Whiskey Caskmate, whiskey aged in a stout barrel.  It starts off with cocoa beans and stout before finishing off like sucking on a butterscotch.

To be continued…

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