Beer in Ireland-

kinda sucks, unfortunately. There are a total of 4 craft brewers in the country, as far as I can tell- Porterhouse, Messrs. Maguire's, Dublin Brewing Company and Carlow's.

Porterhouse- some hits, mostly just bland. Their big claim is the XXXX stout which they push as being better than Guinness. And it is. But it's still not that great (get there in a sec). Their other big one was Ain Brain Blasta (which means 'a tasty drop' in gaelic), which was pretty boring but at 7.9% at least you didn't have to drink too much. Porterhouse did have a decent bottle selection tho, including some rare Frech Biere de Garde's (so rare, in fact, that they were out) and some belgian stuff. Boring wit, boring mild, boring red, downright wierd and gross Oyster Stout.

Messrs. Maguire's only had 4 on, and the two I tried were so mediocre I wasn't inclined to try the others. Could barely taste the red, and the stout tasted like they added a ton of molasses didn't ferment it all the way. Very very sweet. Interesting pub though, in that the female:male ration was about 10:1. Made me think something was up...

Dublin Brewing Company- only beer I had from them was the Revolution Red (I was too burnt out on Stouts at this point... I just wanted to go home and drink my own, hah), and it was actually quite good. Pretty tangy with a pronounced strawberry taste. The hops were evident, if tame by comparison with my normal ration. I had this at O'Niells pub right across from the tourism center, only place I saw it. Very hot bartender girl, and very very annoying American patrons. Yes I'm American, but I prefer not to associate my self with the idiots from this place.

Carlow's- didn't see anything from them on tap, but I picked up a few bottles to take home- O'Hara's stout and Molings red. Haven't tried em yet, but I'll get some out tonite and get back to you.

Now, the other crap. Guinness is better there, but its still not great. Available, drinkable, yes. Good, compared to what's easily available in CA? No way sir. I drank Murphy's if I had the choice, much better Irish stout.

Other things they had were Kilkenny's, Smithwicks, some ciders, and random European lagers. Stella EVERYWHERE. Basically, it's not a craft beer country.

Now, the WHISKEY... good shit. I had a glass of Middleton Very Rare (130 Euro/bottle, 10 Euro/glass), and it was damn good. So smooth and mellow you could just drink it nonstop. If that weren't a total waste of money anyway. I tried a few rare aged ones, Jameson 18 year, Powers 18 year, Terconnel, some other ones I can't remember. I've decided that, with few exceptions (Middleton being one), Powers Gold Label is the best bang for your buck. At 2-4x the cost, the aged stuff isn't THAT much better. By the way, virtually every Irish whiskey is distilled in the same place...

One interesting thing I got was Green Spot Irish Whiskey. It's made by Jameson especially for the Mitchell and Son wine merchants in Dublin, only a few hundred bottles a year. At 35 Euro, it was quite a bargain! Very very good, better then some of the aged stuff that was way more expensive, with the added bonus of 'you can't get it anywhere else' coolness.

Overall, fun trip, I recommend it to anyone!

Has anyone told you how lucky you were to drink the "real" Guinness in Ireland and how much better it is?

it IS better, that's certain. but no, nobody really mentioned it :P

Yeah, but like you said, its better but still not great. Not deserving of the high regard that all the Guinness drinkers give it. Is there even any competition from Beamish or Murphy's, or are they forever in Guinness' shadow?

And who distills the whisky for everyone?

Jameson owns the distillary. Not sure if they outright own all the labels or if it's some kinda collaberation, but it's pretty much the only place there.

point of interest- Jameson is the best selling whiskey outside of Ireland, but one of the worst selling IN Ireland. Powers is the best selling there. And for good reason, I think.

Beamish and Murphy's are in, I'd say, 50% of the pubs, but they're relegated to one tap, whereas guinness will generally have 2-3 tap COMPLEXES dominating the lineup.

Oh, and everything is nitro over there, which sucks.

For me it is not so much that Guinness tastes better in Eire, its the fact that it is poured better. I moved to England and they pour it in one go - and you get some kind of cream soup instead of guinness. In a wet glass at that. The Paeds pour it precisely and have the artistic vigour to put a shamrock on the head. Beamish does give competition because its cheaper and you can get more pints for your punt. I only know xxxx as an aus lager?

The irish drink more american lagers than anything. Bud, Miller and Labatts - As the saying goes a prophet is not welcome in their own town.

meathook-
unfortunately Irish girls are digusting -especially in the north where they have the attitude to match. Health and appearance doesn't really fit into their ceol frame of mind.

Ya know, everyone's saying that, but I honestly didn't see it. Maybe my tastes are just different.

it's all a matter of conditioning :P

meathook, I've never had the foreign extra version but I thought that was the stuff sent to tropical markets. I've never liked Guinness or the other Irish/dry stouts much anyways. The style just ain't my thing, I guess.

I don't know; they are pretty rough. It's funny though when my ex's friends used to visit us here in England. They used to think they were such hot shit, and their arrogance made me want to puke. They we'd go out and the clubs were like the playboy mansion and they'd look like shit. Made me laugh. Only problem is the playboy ladies here prefer anorexic limp wristed waifs instead of bodybuiding irish skin heads.

Back to the beer. Guinness wherver it comes from is a bit thick and makes you shit turf in the morning. But I have it on good authority that after you poison yourself with other alcohol forms (lager, spirits, wine) you can always stomach a Guinness thats why its worth keeping a few around.

I actually go the other way crunion... embarassing as it is to admit, I have a weak stomach for beer :P I can have 3-4, then I have to switch to whiskey, which usually sobers me up...

Jameson, Powers, Bushmills, Paddy, and another two or three whisky's are all owned by IWG (Irish Whiskys Group).  Its a conglomerate that formed about 20 years ago out of the various local distilleries.  Jameson was elected to be the flagship product to the world, mainly because it was the lowest common denominator of whiskies available.  Powers 12 (no 18 I ever saw?) is the most popular Irish in Ireland.

didn't we have the 18 at the distillary?

Jameson yes, Powers no.  The good Powers is the 12 year old.

ahh ok. Well it was good.