Irish Beer: Porterhouse Hop Head
I hadn’t actually intended to bring any beer back from Dublin, not least because we were flying with frigging Ryanair and had observed their avaricious attitude to baggage allowances before the flight over. However I did end up with one bottle of beer, a Porterhouse Hop Head.
The bottle is very nice: a ringpull bottle cap and a metallic label design, although with what might be regarded as slightly BrewDog-esque design and a similar slightly confrontational first sentence to the blurb. However, instead of launching into postmodernist nonsense, I found it refreshing that the ingredients list told you specifics about the hops (Pilgrim, Nuggett, Cascade, Centennial) and the malt. I recall that the summaries on the beer list in Porterhouse Bars were similarly informative. Given that The Porterhouse is and has been at the forefront of expanding Irish consumers’ beer horizons, this would seem to be a useful and admirable way to do so.
Opening the ringpull cap, the beer poured on the orangey side of pale with a decent amount of carbonation and a thin head. It had a nice piney malty smell like you might expect of an American pale ale. Kate noted strawberry on the nose before me, which then gave way to a slight alcohol smell.
The taste had a definite malty raspberry hint to it. It was really quite fizzy on the tongue, but had some oilyness. In the aftertaste the raspberry flavour gave way to an ultimate bitterness, but always with a slightly alkaline taste.
A few of the ratings on Ratebeer reckon the beer overplays its hand with the name “Hop Head”, and it’s fair to say that whilst it’s quite bitter, it pales (no pun intended) in comparison to some of the more extreme American examples. Nonetheless it seems to be quite well liked and deservedly so. This is a very enjoyable American-style pale ale that I would definitely have again.
It also demonstrated to me that The Porterhouse is able to produce some great beers outside the stouts and porters I’d already been impressed with, particularly their Oyster Stout and Wrassler.