Craft Beer: At last, something good can come of seaweed
FOR as long as I can remember, I have hated seaweed. The slimy, rubber stuff, the dried up kind that served as a prohibitive border between the sand and the sea. I'd sooner tip-toe over jaggy stones and rocks to get to the water than risk placing my foot on some seaweed. Of course, my ever-caring sibling, wise to this aversion, took great delight in chucking sloppy, smelly bits of the stuff at me.
Naturally, when I learnt of the existence of something called dulse many years later, I took a complete dislike to it. Who wants to eat dry bits of seaweed, I thought? Sure, it's packed with loads of nutrients and minerals and all that guff, but it's seaweed at the end of the day. Pass me that Yellow Man.
Anyway, with all that childhood seaside trauma threatening to rise to the surface, I don't knowl what made me reach for a bottle of Shore, a dulse stout which is the collaborative work of Irish brewers Lacada and Mash Down as well as Dead End Brew Machine of Glasgow and North Coast Smokehouse.
On the pour, the beer oozes out of the bottle into the glass like slick black oil. It has a tan head with a little hint of purple, the first nod you'll notice to the dulse.
There are those roasty, coffee aromas you'd expect from a standard stout, along with a little hint of saltiness on the nose and a preview of the smoky flavour ahead.
I was expecting my first taste to be like getting a big gulp of seawater, but it is nothing like that. For a start, this is quite a robust stout, clocking in at 7 per cent. There are wonderfully rich flavours of espresso and bitter chocolate before another taste wave washes over the palate. The malted barley has been smoked and you get a smooth and subtle taste of that, and the dulse gives it an earthy, nutty and ever so slightly salty finish.
It has quite a rich mouthfeel and fine carbonation which helps settle the beer on the palate and absorb all those complex flavours.
A big block of blue cheese and a handful of crackers (sea salt, if you want) would partner this beer really well.
At last, something good can come of seaweed. Now when's the Yellow Man sour coming out?