Beer: Lough Gill's Pain & Perfection

Paul McConville

Paul McConville

Paul is the Irish News sports editor. He has worked for the newspaper since 2003 as a sub-editor and sports reporter. He also writes a weekly column on craft beer.

WE'VE all heard of comfort food, but with the increasingly depressing nature of the world these days, watching the news has become a thoroughly draining experience, so much so that I like to engage in some 'comfort viewing'.

Sometimes you just need to take your mind off it all. The Great British Bake Off is the very epitome of comfort viewing. Easy going, inoffensive and there's cake at the end of all. What's not to like?

This week was pastry week, which usually involves a tonne of butter and some flaky French or Danish delights.

Pastries have also made their way into the beer world. The term is more frequently connected with stouts, with pastry stouts usually indicating an attempt to replicate the taste of something like a blueberry muffin or maple syrup-smothered waffle.

Essentially, it's all about making confectionary into beer – or maybe vice versa. Quite what makes a beer 'pastry' isn't overly clear, but when I came across a pastry sour from Sligo-based brewers Lough Gill, I got a fair idea.

Pain & Perfection is billed as a Mango Guava Passionfruit Pastry Sour, which doesn't leave much mystery as to what to expect. It contains various elements of all those fruits, but is also brewed with lactose sugars, which give it that rich, creamy and desert feel and probably what pushes it into pastry territory.

Of course, the proof of the pudding – so to speak – is in the eating (or drinking in this case) and this one delivers on this front. It pours a thick and almost opaque bright amber colour in the glass with a velvety white head.

No surprise that there are tropical aromas bursting out of it and they flood over the palate on the first gulp, which is a bit of an assault on the senses. With a refreshing sour base, the sweetness of the intense fruity flavours balance it out nicely.

The 'pastry' element comes in the creamy, sugar and smoothness provided by the lactose. The gives it an almost ice cream feel and the best way the whole could be summed up is as a 'liquid alcohol Solero in a glass'.

In that case, it's probably more of a summer drink, but I'll take 'unseasonably mild' if it means tucking into this pastry sour.