Tonight's feast was courtesy Porterhouse Brewing in Temple Bar. All-wood, graffiti-carved tables, with what looked like a painted tin ceiling, I loved the atmosphere—I wouldn't have been surprised to see either Johnson or Pepys walk in; instead, we shared the space with well-mannered tourists, college kids, and one heavy-set lady in a thoroughly incongruous Che Guevara t-shirt. The sound system was playing good vintage rock: early Beatles (Day Tripper), Stones (Satisfaction), Black Sabbath (Paranoid), and Alice Cooper (Lace and Whiskey).
We started with a taster round of three light and three dark brews, all house-made, and on tap.
Thick, almost chewy. Moderate hops, with a long, bitter finish. Nice, round maltiness beneath. This was GOOD, and I'll be back for more.
Turner's Stickelbract Bitter
Very hoppy, but just a little bitter. Not much malt evident, and it seemed a little watery. In fact, it disappeared entirely with food.
Good aroma, nice creamy head, good balance between hops and malt. A little thinner than the O'Hara's we had two nights ago, but still good.
Not much aroma, but a nice, velvety head. Smooth and creamy, and the malt comes in after, lingering on your tongue. It's light, but good; a little sweet, and held up to food best of the three darks.
Fluffy head, bitter. Faint hint of coffee; lingering bitter finish. Good, but not as sophisticated as the Oyster.
Wrasslsr's XXXX Stout
Dark, fluffy head—VERY malty. Lingering bitterness, not as creamy as the Oyster, but very good all the same.
The accompanying meal was pork and leek bangers (that's sausages, to the uninitiated) with mashed spuds.
The bangers were crisp outside, moist inside—very good!—and the potatoes were real, with unabashed lumps. The whole thing was doused with a fantastic beer-and-onion gravy, and served up in a huge Yorkshire pudding. Best of the beers to go with it were the Red and the Oyster. I found, when I got down that far, that the gravy had soaked into the pud–so I ate that, too, faux pas or not.
Dessert? Irish coffee chocolate mousse, flavored with Jameson's. A whipped cream base, well-flavored with chocolate, coffee, and whiskey, it arrived garnished with strawberry halves, sticky chocolate sauce swirled on the plate beneath, and grated chocolate on top. Good? Try 'stellar,' and you'll be close. We followed it with a glass of Greenmore Single-Grain, eight years old. Very smooth it was, with a hint of caramel, and no peat—traditional in Irish whiskey.
I would have happily sat there all night, tasting my way through the 15 or 20 whiskeys listed on the menu, and maybe having a second dessert. Too full, though—we'll have to come back.