You can imagine my excitement when I got wind of the news that The Bull and Castle, that bastion of great beer and progress, planned to have a cask stout on for the St Patrick's Day festivities. I was optimistic that the cask would be emptied very quickly indeed but others in the Irish beer lovers group were not as bullish. I am glad to say that I was correct, the beer was gone is twenty four hours - quite an achievement in an Irish pub where cask ale does not exist. Fair enough, it was a public holiday and there were a great many tourists about the place but it was still very impressive. I managed to grab a pint just as the cask neared its end and was thoroughly satisfied with what I got. The stout in question was Leann Follain brewed by The Carlow Brewing Company. It weighs in a 6% abv so wasn't exactly a session pint but I still sank my pint quite rapidly and went for more. Dark roasted malt was to the fore made all the more enjoyable by the warmer serving temperature and perfect carbonation. It was just super to get a pint of stout in an Irish pub which didn't freeze your hand to the glass when you carried it back to the table. There were a number of teething problems with the set up that will no doubt be ironed out, but Geoff, the tireless and industrious manager of the bar, has assured us that more cask will be available in the future. Unsurprisingly the brewers he has spoken to are very happy to provide him with cask ale because it is far easier to produce than keg, dispensing as it does with all the filtration steps which strip the beer of some flavour.
This is the start of something fabulous in the Irish beer scene.