While I don't do new year's resolutions, I did have grand plans to get back to blogging much more regularly when we moved to Ireland in early 2020. Circumstances (waves hands around at…everything) did not support those plans, but I'm hoping to do better in 2021. In support of that goal, here's a quick post to that ties to this week's Beer Ladies Podcast, where we discussed beers on a budget and hangover cures, both real (?) and spurious. The brief for the cheap(er) beer was to see what we could find for under €10. Given the current lockdown restrictions, I took the challenge to my local Centra, rather than roaming further afield to a higher-end off-license, and managed to pick up the following for about €9.50:
While I knew the Rascals beer well already (and am a big fan), I'd never tried the other two. I had to dive down a Google rabbit hole to find out more about the Journeyman, as a top-level 'official' page is nowhere in the first few pages of search results - in fact, The Beer Nut has the first useful report on the beer (and back to that in a moment). This quick bit of research revealed (to me) that the brewery of record on the bottle, Station Works, is now part of the Pearse Lyons family, so it's essentially a 'sibling' of Foxes Rock Session IPA from Pearse Lyons Brewing and a 'cousin' to Lexington Brewing Company's Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, also part of the Pearse Lyons/Alltech portfolio in the US. It still strikes me as very odd that there does not seem to be a findable website for the brewing arm in Ireland - the distillery website is easily found, and, given what I've had from both the distillery and the brewery, I would have to assume that the distillery is very much the priority. The other beers I've had from Pearse Lyons, both in Ireland and in the US, have ranged from underwhelming to aggressively mediocre (looking at you, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale) - but I've liked the whiskey, so…
However, I note that The Beer Nut review of Journeyman from 2018 was, on the whole, positive…which makes me wonder whether the particular bottle I picked up was, perhaps, close to that 'vintage.' Everything about it tasted more than a little old and stale, but it seemed to be much more the result of having sat on several pallets and in storerooms much longer than it should have, rather than there being an issue with the actual recipe and brewing in this instance. I'd happily give it another shot if I could guarantee freshness, but, in this case, even for something in the neighb(u)orhood of €2.50, it was a partial drain-pour. While it was by no means the worst thing I've had recently, I still had 'better' options for the calories involved.
And so, on to the Archway Lager, which was a very pleasant surprise indeed. The can seemed to be fresh, and it was a clean, crisp lager. Nothing fancy, but also something that would be more than a match for a sunny afternoon, ideally with some soccer involved. It was slightly pricier than Carlsberg, which is also one of my go-to soccer beers when I can't find a low-key local craft option. I know that Franciscan Well is owned by the macros these days, but still hope to get to their brewpub at some point post-COVID, as I hear their pizza is amazing (and, in my experience, even when the 'original' has been purchased by one of the big ones, the local brewpub often still gets to make some interesting one-offs), so…
And pizza is a perfect segue to the Rascals, as I do believe their pizza is the best in Dublin, and a perfect complement to their excellent range of beers. Not being able to actually *go* there is not great, but the Fruitropolis, Wunderbar and Happy Days beers are all fantastic go-tos I'm happy to have in my fridge on the regular. It will be very exciting to get back to the brewpub in person and have some of their other creations - hopefully we all get those shots soon.
Of course, it wasn't just me on this week's podcast - go have a listen to hear what Bean and Joanne thought about budget beers!
1 thought on “Beers for a Tenner”
Love the phrase “aggressively mediocre”, and it’s entirely apt. Mind you, it’s a big step up from the early days of Station Works when their beers were aggressively packed with diacetyl and almost undrinkable.
The management at the Franciscan Well brewpub are forever at pains to point out that Molson Coors does not own the place, and in fairness to them it is pleasingly un-corporate. The brewing licence is still in MC’s name, though, so I dunno how hands-off the masters really are.