Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Beer

Clanconnell Brewery, Waringstown, Co Down. Founded in June 2008 by Mark Pearson
Beer of Belfast Champion 2010

The tradition amongst staff here at midnight, is to have a quick drink during the 15 minutes or so that the public leave the building to go outside opposite Christchurch and join a couple of thousand other revellers, all asking the same questions. Where are the fireworks ?, Why can't we bring alcoholic drinks in glass containers outside ?, and Why do the Hare Krishna tolerate the abuse they recieve, year after year ?

My only question was how i would celebrate, or more appropriately, what with. Seeing as McGrath's Irish Stout was the latest to hit the shelves, i packed one carefully into my jacket pocket and headed home. Now i have to say that I'm not a fan of stouts, but i know a quality product when i see one. I had let the beer warm up slightly before tasting, and in the time it took to lift the glass, I had forgotten the huge flavours I should expect from an award winning stout.

Big dry coffee tones, very dark fruits and a huge finish that did not require another sip for quite a while, were my first impressions. Second impressions gave me hops, chewiness and a repeat of the initial burst of big flavours. Being quite tired from a long day, i lost the ability to memorize anything else except to remember to hide a few bottles on a warm shelf for those that ask for something worth getting stuck into. I will be having another one down the road, and there may be some high cocoa chocolate nearby, or even a Redbreast 15yr chaser.


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