Was our first beer a ‘cloud piercer’ of our broofing session? It indeed was Cloud Piercer by Bone Machine Brewing company, and it was a very nice session IPA for our broofing session to begin with! And if Tom Waits’ album Bone Machine is on the playlist when the lads brew their beerwork, this one will get some extra points from me. (Because it was on mine, while I was writing this article.) It was too early for us to fly above the clouds, so we had to keep tasting…
Harry, Sam and I are all pubby-working, pubby-pubbying friends. (Most of my friends are actually from the hospitality industry, and if not, we share a mutual interest in the drinking industry for sure, haha). We all met in different corners of different pubs, working or just hanging out, sharing our daily struggles and giggles.
More than a year ago Sam started to work in one of my favourite pubs in the area – P.Mac’s. Great spot with a generous selection of craft beers. Every time I was coming, she was so excited to show me what beer new-comers they got on draught since my last visit. Most of the time it would be like ‘Look! we got this amazing sour beer, you have to try it!’ and I would be like ‘Nah, it’s not for me, not today! Give me a normal one, please!’ And ‘the time’ arrived now, so I’ve decided to pick something that I normally wouldn’t go for. So we opened the next can: Berliner Weisse style. Description with a vehement desire to promise that it will not knock me down with its sourness. I will do my best to believe you then, pal! Dame Melba Phantom by Beavertown Brewery. And with all the marvel in the world and pure 100% Slovakian honesty – I have to admit that it for sure was a nice, refreshing choice. Just a tiny hint of sour with raspberry and peach notes of sweetness, this beer was pouring clearly and singing as nicely as Dame Melba, an opera singer famous in the early 20th century, whose ghost and spirit was released with opening this can and joined us for a little moment while we were sipping this beautiful moment of fresh summer in the glass…
Ok, as I survived this starter (talking like fighting in a war, but this was easy) we could bring it to a higher level and make it wild with another one. But this time a proper sour ale. Made by Northern Monk Patrons Project – Rhubarb Sour Made In The Dark. It was pouring in a nice pink-ish hazy colour this time, with unknown objects swimming and floating in it! We didn’t know what it was at the time, so me and Sam were laughing that Harry gets all the mess. But guys – it was a popping candy! Maybe because we split the can between 3 of us and it didn’t get into our glasses proportionally and properly – and it definitely didn’t do any explosions in my mouth. But the beer itself was ‘the’ one. All of us agreed at the end of our session that this one we will definitely remember and I will think of it with all the love in my heart. Sam and Harry have their palettes for sour beer in a different universe than me. (Imagine that we all go for a trip from Dublin to Galway. While two of them would be enjoying pints in a lovely pub in Galway city centre, I would still be stuck sitting in a train passing by Portarlington stop, with a lovely old lady sitting next to me, scowling at my big bag of cans for a breakfast at 10am. Wait for me, guys!). But it is another great step for me to open my door a wee bit wider for all those ‘hipster’ sour beers I wouldn’t even smell before. It was not too sour. As a matter of fact, it was a very nice level of sourness. Maybe it was caused by this crazy addition of rhubarb, which I have never heard of before in a combination with beer. But our excitement about it was unreal, and I can only clap to this one! Clap-clap-clap!
My story and Sam’s story are very similar. Few years ago, we both came to Ireland as innocent students. And we both fell in love with Irish la(n)ds and all that comes with it! Bonus pack, buy one, get one free. Sam has an artistic background running in the family (check this beautiful colouring book made by her mammy!) and she was studying a history of art. Today we studied art and beauty of the brewing process. While everybody runs away to live their big American dream, she did the opposite and came to live her big Irish dream! I wanted to make sure she is not missing her homeland too much, so I was very happy that I discovered this trilogy brewed by Melvin Brewing Company from U.S., Wyoming. The Melvin Pale Ale came on the stage with a very traditional symphony of light and bitter, fresh and crispy. This one was a little bit stronger for usual pale ales with its ABV – 6%. I knew it will make Sam happy, because this chap was not extremely hoppy! And Melvin Pale Ale became her friend.
To jump into package of much more hops, and many more percents, another Melvin brew ravished us with its Drunken Master, Imperial IPA. But we stayed strong and ‘Drunken Master’ title stayed proudly as a name only for this delicious can. (We made it only to the level of Tipsy Master, ehm…) So delicious, so dangerous… As was the following one with even more energy and volume! Melvin gets a triple medal for all the cans we tasted. Especially 2×4 Double Ipa 9.9%, no surprise that this was awarded numerous times for… being absolutely fantastic. You just love it, even if you don’t want to. Hop talent of the brewers made us very hoppy!
There is something mysterious and magical about the Stone brewery. Oh, Beer God, do I worship their Hop Worship Series. A very unique and hipster beer pairing has been found at this broof club session, for all of ‘I-am-a-cool-kid-so-now-I-vape-instead-of-killing-myself-with-a-proper-tobacco’ humans (including ourselves):
Harry brought to our attention, that these two could make a perfect couple:
And they did. Simple reason. There is a flavour he couldn’t figure out what exactly it was and that exact flavour happened to appear in this IPA. It was delicious. Forget about all ‘have a light beer, it goes great with your fish’ or ‘have this stout with your dessert’ thingy! Lads, have this Stone IPA and vape yourself through the tropical flavour, because let’s be honest, beer and a cloud of smoke goes all hand-in-hand and this one is smoking brewlicious! Let’s open this whole new hipster chapter of beer-vape pairing on the craft beer scene! KAPOW! Boom!
Harry is an Irishman, just from the wrong side of the island. (*please note that all my stupid jokes are just not-nice-but-friendly-slagging and this boy gets it every day, so he is bullet-proof at this point! And for the rest of the people who are still feeling a bit offended – relax, will ya?) There was nothing that could give him away, but let’s not forget about the fact that 3 years ago I was barely speaking English. Finally I improved my listening skills and today I can make a difference like – you, mister, are not from here! There is a big disco dancing in all Irish accents going on for me and that would be a topic for at least a huge 10-piece issue of ‘Beauty and the Beast of Irish Accents’ which I don’t want to read or write. But ‘Nordie’ accents DO sound different. It would be like ‘Ask him to say SITUATION and you’ll see! Actually, you’ll hear!’ And one day I really asked. And he said that word. And it was funny, because he said SITCHEYYAYSHON (or at least it sounded like this in my head)! And many other words… You know, the best example for my foreign friends how to describe this is that the melody of Northern-Irish accents are kind of…curly? Imagine if you have straight hair and there is always one or two streams underneath that goes crazy curly. The melody at the end of the sentence goes kind of singing-curly! And back to the beer now. This one was collaboration between The Porterhouse Brewing brewery from Dublin and brewery from up there – Hillstown. Now I get why I was blabbing about all these things. Thanks to Hazy Border, the next stop on our broof club adventure…
This adventure of broofing includes a very unique view to the streets full of everyday life going on. Lady on the phone, a homeless person begging for a spare change for the hostel, a bicycle driver blocking the road, a nervous taxi driver behind him, confused tourists looking for directions, even more confused people trying to help them with their direction…watching our confused tourists getting wrong directions and getting even more lost and confused than they were before… Hey, El Gingero, how you doin’?
And he posed for the picture. Because posing with a motorbike looks so cool in all those fancy magazines! He inspired us. It was a time to start our round of desserts. Round of SHHTOUTS, yeah!
We were doing just fine and I wanted to remind myself such a delicious and attractive combination of ginger mixed in a heavier beer style – stout, that I had an opportunity to taste at Hagstravaganza for the first time this year. Not a disappointment again, having El Gingero by Magic Rock Brewing, I have to say! This is an example of how the rule of ‘stouts being traditionally winter beers’ does not apply all the time, because we truly enjoyed this one with a full scale of sun shining on the top of our favourite roof. This one spiced it up…
Hey, Harry, why that face?
Is it 7.5%? We had a scarier numbers flying through our bellies today! Is it a name? Oh well, KAMIKAZE by Brewdog… unless you and Sam are a part of some secret knitting club, there is nothing to worry about! He took a risk. She took a sip. I followed the crowd. And nobody got hurt! Kamikaze Knitting Club is another tasty dessert we treated ourselves with. This time with a rich flavour of maple syrup and chocolatey-coconutty taste balanced with a hoppy flavour and shockingly dry and slightly bitter finish. The overall impression didn’t feel too sweet, as we were predicting.
Symbolism worked all the way through our beer sesh with these two. I HAD TO finish it with a Foreign stout! At the end of the day – we all are (and forever will be) foreigners in this country! Cheers to us with Siren Craft Brew!
And we all will keep on thinking why are people always people, and why is it Christmas every day. But I like that we do have Christmas every day. Because Christmas is Christmas and people will stay people. Forever. And that will be enough of philosophy (haha) for today.
Cheers to all Christmases, New Years, Paddy’s Days, Easters, and all other important holidays we will spend together working! Cheers to our big crazy pub beer family!
Harry & Sam – it was a pleasure to have you up there, in a magical place where all the beer in the world taste delicious and we all can be happy, hoppy and brewlicious for a moment. Almost in a beer heaven, but not high enough yet! And somewhere on the ground very, very soon!
Sláinte – Cheers – Nazdravie!
Photos by Radka’s Beer Club & Harry’s fancy iPhone watch device!
Beer playlist built thanks to incredible selection in Stephen Street News Off Licence