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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pub Crawl in Dublin

When I arrived in Ireland last Sunday I had a day to fill before the opening reception of the Livestrong Global Cancer Summit, so I decided to meet up with John Duffy, who writes The Beer Nut blog and is a fellow contributor to the upcoming book "1001 Beers to Try Before You Die" due out in the Spring 2010. John was good enough to take me on a pub crawl of some of his favorite spots in Dublin.

Our first stop was the Bull & Castle, located across the street from Christchurch Cathedral. Two fine beers at this stop were a cask conditioned O'Hara's Stout that was rich and Whitewater Brewery's Clotworthy Dobbin, a Belfast porter with a very nice caramel note.

We headed to the Porterhouse, a multiple location Dublin microbrewery founded in 1996. I founded the Wrasslers XXXX Full Stout at the Temple Bar location to be a rich classic dry stout. I then had an Oyster Stout to wash down an order of fish and chips. It was thick and creamy with hints of coffee. Later during my time in Dublin I made a stop at Porterhouse Central and enjoyed a rich Chocolate Truffle Stout that gave an immediate hit of 70 percent pure cocoa. Also the Porterhouse Plain Porter looks like a stout at first, but it gives off an amber glow. It has a rich roasted quality. This is a seriously good brewpub that should be on your itinerary if you are lucky to get to Dublin.

At our next stop, the Palace, we had a Franciscan Well Rebel Red, which was one of the better Irish reds I can recall having. Since we were in Ireland, I would kind of expect it to be a great example of the beer style. This Cork brewery did not disappoint.

Over a pint of Galway Hooker Pale Ale John tried to explain to me some of the rules of Gaelic football. I understood some of the rules, but frankly was lost on others. I was amazed that these skilled and fearless players don't get paid for getting smacked around on the weekend. There is certainly enough money flowing through this game between the full stadiums, television rights and jersey sales to pay the players handsomely. The scoring system, 3 points for a ball kicked into the goal and one point for one kicked through the uprights was easy to understand, but the way it is displayed on television is designed to confuse foreigners. The pale ale was fairly straight forward. No flaws, but compared to what you can get from dozens of U.S. micros, nothing outstanding. This brewery is about to expand and I'm sure it will add some interesting brews to its line up.

We hit Messrs. Maguire after a brisk walk and I had a half pint of the Plain. I was kind of amazed that the bar was pretty empty on a Sunday afternoon with both Gaelic football and soccer matches available on television. The beer was good and this place is worth a stop.

I enjoyed having John guide me to some of the better spots in Dublin on my first day. I went back to the Bull & Castle later that night for dinner and found the Guinness stew to be very tasty.

While attending the Livestrong Summit, a dinner one night took place at the Guinness Brewery. The Stout was obviously fresh and it was great to be able to enjoy one at the source. I also tried tastes two ales and a cider at the event, but the Guinness was my favorite, delivering a rich, smooth and roasty flavor.

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