Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Where Are The Irish Beers?

I am often asked why we do not carry any Irish beers. It would make sense, given our store's theme. The answer is, unfortunately, that they are all in Ireland. That is to say, an Irish beer I'd be interested in selling is in Ireland. Beers from big Irish breweries, like Guinness, Smithwicks, or Harp, are easily available. Since we don't sell corporate beers those options are out, which leaves me with nothing.

Another part of the answer is that the Irish microbrewery business is nowhere near as large as here. In fact, it's just getting off the ground. You may wonder why that is given Irish beer culture. Part of it is to do with Ireland's stricter licensing laws and part of it is the fact that a lot of Irish money is new money, so I expect at some point we'll see more Irish craft brews as more people can afford to operate one.

Even today the microbrews that do exist are brewpubs who do not sell their beers in stores. The most famous is The Porterhouse in Dublin, a few of whose beers I would love to carry. Oh well.

But, for those of you who have been to Ireland, don't fret too much. The Irish have a talent for making sure beers you had there will not taste the same in your homeland, a common complaint about Guinness. Kilkenny, a red ale brewed by the Smithwicks brewery, is delicious in an Irish pub, with the special taps for stouts that give the beer a creamy head. I tried the very same beer in Belgium and it was nowhere near as good. There's a good reason to visit Ireland, I guess.

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