Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Out and about

I don't get out to the pub nearly enough. I read with envy other bloggers who frequent their local, especially if their local stocks and understands good beer. Most of this envy is directed at UK bloggers who have an abundance of great pubs to patronise, but here in Dublin there is but a handful worth visiting and all of that handful are a long bus trip from my house. Last week I visited the Bull and Castle for some long over due Irish craft beer but while their managed to take in some American beer and some not so Irish, Irish beer. The American beer was Sam Adams Double Bock, sadly a let down and all the more sad because I really like Sam Adams beer - most of it is excellent, but this didn't really work. It was very bock like I suppose; sweet, sticky and heavy with nice warmth but a little sickly and just didn't sit right.

The other non Irish beer is in fact Irish in the eyes of many who are not fully informed because the marketing is superb. If the label is to be believed this is the most Irish beer ever in the history of the world. Much debate has been spawned in Irish craft beer appreciation circles by Árainn Mhór's beer mainly because it aggravates us that this beer is pushed as Irish when it is in fact brewed under license in Belgium and then shipped off around the world benefiting greatly from the awful blarney that is spouted on the label. For example the label states the beer contains:
'...a secret essence of Árainn to deliver an aura reflecting the authentic romance of this Irish island...'

And later:

'Árainn Mhór Bán. One of our own. Brewed in the EU. Árainn Mhór Island, County Donegal.'
The first piece of blurb is bullshit. The second is just plain misleading, though no doubt within the letter of the law. It's the brewed in the EU part that is so perfidious because it is entirely accurate but the addition of the island after it would lead most to think that is where the beer is brewed. It is not, and despite suggestions by the guy who set up the business, it will never be brewed on the island.

In some respects I am torn about what this business man is doing. He wants to be involved in the brewing of good beer, and the beer is good, but not remotely Irish tasting - it is a solid Belgian ale through and through with lots of fruit, bottle conditioned to boot and is a welcome addition to the Irish beer scene, but I don't like the way he is doing it. It is misleading and purposefully so.

8 comments:

Saruman said...

I have meant to try this on two occasions but can never bring myself to do so. It certainly looks like it pours Belgian style.

Thom said...

It is very Belgian in appearance and flavour and well worth repeated sampling.

The Beer Nut said...

What the letter of the law (Consumer Protection Act 2007 s43(2)) says is:

"A commercial practice is misleading if it would be likely to cause the average consumer to be deceived or misled in relation toany matter set out in subsection (3) [which includes geographical origin] and to make a transactional decision that the average consumer would not otherwise make."

Encouraging consumers, average and otherwise, to buy Árainn Mhór on the basis that it's Irish -- "one of our own", no less -- is what is intended here, I think. It's an arguable case, but I Árainn Mhór is actually in breach of the letter of the law as well as the spirit.

I also don't think the blonde is a very nice beer.

Thom said...

I much prefer the blonde to the red.

So you think that Árainn Mhór are in breach of the law here?

I suppose things could be made difficult for them if any one bothered to make a challenge.

headbrewer said...

i actually don't like the blonde "bán" either, i do however like the red "rua" but these days rarely can bring myself to actally buy the beers promoted by this company.

as regards the legality of their statements on the blurb i find myself fairly indifferent, sure it is misleading but if someone likes the beer and it promotes the craft beer scene in ireland i figure that it can't do any harm. that said knowing the truth i find myself disliking the blarney mre and more each time i bring myself to drink the beers

The Beer Nut said...

I thought both beers had a mushroomy flavour which worked in the red but just destroyed the blonde.

Anyway, yes, I do think he's in breach of the law here. As far as I know, the people whose job it is to enforce it is the Food Safety Authority, but I'm sure they have more important stuff to be doing.

Dublin beekeeper said...

Have you tried the Sam Adams Honey Porter? sounds nice but the guy in world wide wines, Waterford could not price it.

To me the whole Arainn thing comes down to whether it is good for Irish beer or not. Either it is a good beer that looks Irish and so encourages people to take part in Irish craft brews. Or it is a fake Irish beer that competes with real Irish beers and so damages the craft Irish beer scene. It might be a mixture of both of these.

Oblivious said...

Well Dublin beekeeper from his postings and attitude the latter maybe true