Beers from around the world

Lowenbrau

Posted on: 15th January, 2014

Category: The Wine Buff

Contributor: Tony Eklof

Tony Eklof, originally from New England, has settled in Clonakilty after a career as a librarian at University College Dublin. His knowledge and passion for wine has been inspired by frequent visits to the wine growing regions of the continent, particularly Italy and France.

“Goodbye to the port and brandy, to the vodka and the stag, to the Smithwick and the Harpic, the bottle, draught and keg.” (Christy Moore)

This month, your Wine Buff has become the Beer Buff. There are plenty of post-Christmas articles to advise you on lower-range wines at the moment, so I thought I would concentrate on the growing number of beers available on the Irish market. Many of today’s beers are brewed to complement a meal. Traditionally lagers or lighter beers go particularly well with Asian cuisine, while ales are good with heartier fare such as meat pies.

When I first arrived in Ireland all those years ago, Guinness was the major player among beers, followed by a number of ales, Smithwicks, Double Diamond, McCardles from Dundalk, and Bass. Your choice of lager was even more limited, Harp, and if memory serves, Carling Black Label. And that was pretty much it. How different it all is now. There are dozens, possibly hundreds of beers available now, brewed in all corners of the world and ranging from low-alcohol to the very strong. (A Scottish brewery claims to make the strongest beer in the world, more powerful than some whiskeys, and not the sort of beverage to choose for what the English call ‘a session ale’.

Many of the popular Belgian beers on the market are very strong and it is advisable to check the label as there is a big difference between the 4.3 alcohol level, which for some bizarre reason is standard for most Irish beers, and the seven per cent or even higher of Belgian monastic ales. My favourite Belgian is the excellent Leffe Blonde, a medium strength beer widely available. One of my favourite bars is the 17th c. Roy d’Espagne in Brussels where Leffe, Blonde or Brune, is the house beer, served up by immaculate waiters in old-fashioned aprons. The bar occupies one corner of the stunningly beautiful Grand Place in Brussels.

Whether you are shopping for wine or beer, the label is your guide and will tell you the strength, the ingredients, and importantly, the source. Germany famously has a 16th c. law that prohibits unusual ingredients in the beer. As for the source, look out for ‘brewed under licence’ on a beer label. It warns you that the Carlsberg you are purchasing is brewed in Dublin and not in Copenhagen. Would you drink Chianti made in Spain? My favourite example for you is Coors, now widely available in Ireland.

Coors was a cult beer in the USA and famously a favourite of one Richard M. Nixon! The selling point of Coors is that it is brewed in the Rocky Mountains using the fresh water of the region. The packaging here invites you to enjoy ‘the Rocky Mountain experience’ even though it is brewed in the UK by a beer monolith, Molson-Coors. Molson, new to the market, advertises itself as Canadian beer but is a watered-down version brewed over here, so how it gets away with calling itself Canadian, I don’t know. Much more appealing is the independently owned Moosehead brewed in New Brunswick. I saw pictures in the current issue of ‘Food and Wine Magazine’ of celebrities attending the launch to the Irish market of the iconic French beer, Kronenbourg. It will be interesting to see if it is the real deal, or just another ‘brewed under licence.’ One other trend I dislike is that of serving beer ice cold. It is a ploy so that you can’t actually taste the beer! Back to the aforementioned Coors, which advertises on the pack, ‘there is cold and then there is damme (sic) cold!’

Real beer lovers have an organisation now with over 150,000 members called CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. They are responsible for pretty much turning the tide in the UK against big takeovers and bad beer and for promoting locally brewed ‘craft beers’. Interestingly the movement was founded by four guys having a drink in a bar in Dunquin, on the Dingle Peninsular. If you see a CAMRA award noted on a beer it is a good sign.

Recently there has been a marked increase in the number of small micro- breweries in Ireland. These can be found in all corners of Ireland including Dingle, Kilcock, and Dungarvan. Another phenomenon has been the rise in popularity of wheat beers, mostly brewed in Germany. These are normally served in their own stylish glasses reflecting the Continental practice of each beer having its own specific glass.

My own favourite beer? Has to be Lowenbrau, one of the great Munich beers, although it worries me that it was recently taken over by the giant Anheuser-Busch Corporation, makers of America’s favourite beer. Taste in beer is just like taste in wine, a very personalised affair. Below are just a few of my favourites available in the West Cork area.

Slainte, Prost, Cheers, Na zdrowie!

Recommended Beers

Vedett, Belgian Pils, Next Door, Clonakilty
Badger’s Fursty Ferret (ale), SuperValu.
Tom Crean, Fresh Irish Lager, SuperValu
Samuel Adams, Boston Lager, SuperValu
Helvick Gold, Blonde Ale, (Widely available)
McGargle’s Pilsner, Matson’s Wine Store, Bandon
Skinner’s Cornish Knocker, Golden Ale Matson’s
Moorhouse, Pride of Pendle, pale ale, Matson’s

Latest News Articles:

Doors open in newly revamped Schull Community College
West Cork aid worker forced to wade through snake-infested swamps to help support civilians fleeing war
New community building in Ballydehob nearing completion
Castletownbere Fisherman’s Co-op wins overall ‘Green Business of the Year’ award
Trinity exhibition honours West Cork botanist
3,000 people to attend events throughout Local Enterprise Week
€1m in funding sought for a new Air Ambulance
Quality Hotel Clonakilty West Cork Rally 2017
Time capsule burial in Clonakilty Credit Union
Age Friendly Towns Programme launched

Join us on Facebook

West Cork Flag Day Collections
in aid of Cork ARC Cancer Support House

Cork ARC Cancer Support House’s annual West Cork Flag Day collections are set to take place in Bandon on Friday 21st April and in Castletownbere, Bantry, Ballylickey, Skibbereen, Clonakilty, Kinsale and Macroom on Thursday 27th April, 2017.

Hilary Sullivan, Head of Fundraising / Corporate Affairs at Cork ARC Cancer Support House says: “Please remember on our annual Flag Day collection that all our collectors are volunteers, giving their time freely to raise funds and increase awareness about our cancer support services at our West Cork centre.” Acknowledging the ethos of volunteering being the driving force behind the charity’s work in the community, Hilary also says, “As all of the services at Cork ARC Cancer Support House in West Cork are supported by a large volunteer base, we hope that our volunteer collectors’ generosity of spirit will be rewarded by a warm reception from the public despite the difficult financial conditions experienced by so many people.”
... See MoreSee Less

19th April, 2017  ·  

ECCLES Hotel Glengarriff to host April 30th Wedding Showcase – Newly refurbished ballroom and bedrooms on show – Tasters of Chef Nick Davey’s delicious menus

ECCLES Hotel in Glengarriff has been helping guests to experience West Cork in all its serene beauty for over 250 years. And with the Eccles Team now being led by General Manager Aileen Hanley, that tradition is set to continue.

Aileen joins the historic West Cork Property from Sheen Falls Lodge, Kenmare where she held the position of Sales & Operations Manager. Firmly re-establishing the award-winning property, during her tenure, along with her husband Patrick (now Park Hotel Kenmare General Manager) Aileen plans to continue her success and work her magic at ECCLES Hotel, along with a dedicated team to bring it back to its former glory and re-establish its place in the local community.

Aileen and the team at ECCLES Hotel will host a wedding showcase on Sunday April 30th from 12 to 5pm. The showcase will present the refurbished Ilnacullin ballroom to couples. The ballroom which can comfortably host up to 320 guests, will be set up in all its splendour to help couples visualise their wedding reception at ECCLES Hotel. Some of the hotel’s newly refurbished bedrooms with stunning bay views will also be available to view on the day.

Rose O’Sullivan, wedding coordinator at ECCLES Hotel said, “As well as larger weddings ECCLES Hotel is a wonderful venue for more intimate wedding celebrations too as well as civil ceremonies and blessings. Couples can come and see all we have to offer and enjoy a prosecco and canape reception at the showcase, to give them a flavour of our delicious new wedding fare by Head Chef Nick Davey.”

For more information visit www.eccleshotel.com, call 027 63003 or email weddings@eccleshotel.com
... See MoreSee Less

19th April, 2017  ·  

Clonakilty Cruinniú na Cásca event

As part of the “Cruinniú na Cásca” initiative, Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage has organised a complimentary guided historical walk of Clonakilty town starting at 12.00 noon at the Michael Collins statue on Easter Monday.

The event is totally free and the walk will be led by Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage committee member, Fachtna McCarthy.
... See MoreSee Less

13th April, 2017  ·  

The Peninsula Players' stage their new play "The Cripple of Inishmaan" on April 28th & 29th in the Beara Bay Castletownbere. Tickets at the door. Unsuitable for younger audiences. Not for the faint-hearted! ... See MoreSee Less

10th April, 2017  ·  

Jump to:

Top