Long before craft beer hit Ireland, you had to drink the blue and gold cans from the bloody Dutch. I have a long history with the Dutch, Firstly they’ve been a shower of langers in Africa. Then they stole my flip flop. Just as I was coming around to gaining trust again a goddam Dutch Bishop swindled me out of €300 - feigning it was for Charity.
Breathe in, Breathe out. Positive self mantra. If the eye is bad, the whole body lives in darkness, whereas if the eye is good the whole body is illuminated. Do you think the person who annoys you is thinking about you right now…? Don’t let them win, don’t think about them, they are just trees. Forgive and move on.
So, why am I doing a blog. I find I love telling stories. I love teaching people about beer, food and living a mindful life. I’m not a guru! So it’s more a form of reflection. “To reflect is to climb a tree and survey the land around you” John Dewey. I have a feeling it will be cathartic, get things out of the brain and on to a page. Far far better than ruminating! One of my favourite words (to ruminate is to compulsively focus attention on the symptoms of one's distress, and on its possible causes and consequences, as opposed to its solutions).
Anyhow, where was I? Oh yeah, red ales: remember in that midst of a shite Irish beer scene, shite haircuts, shite jumpers, wrangler jeans. But then there was Smithwicks, Phoenix, Bass, MacArdles. All pretty similar. That drinker has the DNA for loving craft beer. The richness in the ale. But now there is so much better. Take out that copper twang you often got. Which is why I reckon people would ask for a drop of stout on top of the head of the pint. To give it a little creaminess (now you just gotta find a red ale with some flaked oats in it as this little addition will creamatise your lovely beer).
What’s in a red ale that pulls it together? Carared malt and you can lob in some chocolate malt for a bit of cut (that’s like the drop of Guinness on the head of your Smithwicks by the way). Then it’s about playing around with the ratios and how much you want to involve hops.
One final note to the Dutch, please stop drinking the Stella. It’s not good for your reputation as I’m sure you’re lovely people.
If you liked the odd Smithwicks try these: Running successfully from the first ones below, I’m confident you’ll have no trouble pushin the boat out a little bit more after. The last few are soured beers so be careful; these could attack the taste buds a bit aggressively.
8 Degrees Amber ella
Brewdog 5am Saint
Mescan Red Tripel
Siren Liquid Mistress
Lagunitas Lucky 13 Mondo Large red
Odell Runoff red IPA
Wicklow wolf Sorachi red
Kinnegar Walla walla.
Rodenbach Grand Cru
(note to beer nerds - lets not get bogged down on pointing out that some of these are not reds, they’re ambers etc. I’ll talk about the joys and issues of categorising labels in the future. It can help some, and put off others; depending on how you approach the matter. #ifitlookslikeaduck )