Brand new and on sale today but you won’t find it in your local off-license or craft brew pub just yet. Angel Stout by Elbow Lane Brewery is, for now, only available at Market Lane in Cork city and The Castle Cafe in Blackrock. Happily enough, popping in to try the new stout gave me the opportunity to sample the fine food on offer in Market Lane over the bank holiday weekend.
Some would call releasing a stout in Cork a hard act to follow. I must confess that having only really discovered the wealth of craft beers available in the last year or so, my horizons were somewhat limited to two of Cork’s better known; Murphys Irish Stout and Beamish. Then I tried Shandon Stout by the Franciscan Well brewery and I didn’t know which way was up. It didn’t take long before I jumped into craft brew with both feet and with a small push even began all grain brewing in the not too distant past. Having been a coffee drinker (and lover) for quite some time, you’d expect my taste buds to be a finely tuned machine, capable of extracting a wealth of information on every new beer I sample and producing copious tasting notes and an appraisal so detailed it would make any “Antiques Roadshow” host blush. Sadly, not so. Or rather, not yet. I’m no expert but I know what I like. Because of that, I mostly only drink what I like. I buy beer in mixed batches and remember (or take photos of labels) of beers that I like. Then I buy those over and over. Life is, after all, too short for bad beer. Since finding out that some beers actually contain flavour, I’ve delighted in getting to grips with varied ales, stouts and porters from the many new and a few of the more established Irish, UK and American brewers.
So this would be the part where I make out like I know what I’m talking about…
On cracking open the bottle and expecting a all too familiar stout aroma, I was very pleasantly surprised by the sweet smell that almost seemed to jump out of the bottle at me. The carbonation seems spot on (to me anyway) and on pouring I got another wave of wonderful sweet treacle on the nose. After taking a couple of very quick photos I got into it and although I can’t exactly put my finger on it, I’m getting a gorgeous silky dark roast coffee (I’d like to think it’s Cork Coffee Roasters “Morning Growler”) taste. About half way in and I’m picking up citrus flavours that compliment the coffee / sweet taste perfectly. Holy moley, that’s a cracker. I haven’t been this pleased/surprised with/by a stout since Dungarvan’s Coffee & Oatmeal stout in December last year. I’ll most certainly be picking up a few more of these on my next trip to Cork at the end of the month for the home brewing expo. Immediately I want to try it both on cask (hint hint Elbow Lane, the craft brew festival would be perfect) and with a nitrogen mix behind it to give a bit of oomph to the creaminess and head retention.
The arrival of a new craft beer brewery in Cork is to be celebrated. Elbow Lane’s debut has surprised and delighted in equal measures and is a hell of a way to kick off the inclusion of craft beers on Munster Pubs. I’m expecting great things from them with their two upcoming brews; Wisdom Ale and Elbow Lager. I believe both will be available in a month or so.
You can also find Elbow Lane Brewery on @elbowlanecork.