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Que Syrah Syrah- 01 April 2015

While the calendar says we should be emerging from the icy grip of Winter, the weather we are experiencing at the moment suggests a different truth. There is still plenty of time to partake in a bottle of one of our favourite cold weather wines, the mighty Shiraz.

 

From the steep terraces overlooking the Rhone river, producing elegant wines with signature black pepper notes (e.g. Romain Duvernay St. Joseph), to the enclaves of Southern Australia, the Barossa Valley being the best known, with its own signature hints of dark chocolate (e.g. Penfolds Grange), Syrah/Shiraz has become one of the world’s widest planted grape varieties, even gaining momentum in traditional Cabernet Sauvignon strongholds like South Africa or the land of the once dominant Carignan, the Languedoc.

Here are some wines that show why Shiraz keeps growing from strength to strength:

30 Mile Shiraz

Produced by renowned Aussie winemaker John Quarisa, this is a multi-award winning wine with wonderful aromas of dark fruits on the nose with hints of vanilla, followed by intense flavours of blackberries and a touch of chocolate, backed up by rich, smooth tannins. It is a superb wine at a magnificent price: only €9.99, reduced from €12.99.

Le Versant Syrah

Le Versant Syrah

Coming from the award winning vineyards of Foncalieu, this wine has an intense, deep purple colour. The aromas are mixed and complex at first with spices, leather and violette flower and then blackcurrant and toasted notes appear. It’s full-bodied on the palate with flavours of raspberry, strawberry and cherry, soft tannins & long length, coming in at €12.99.

Bleasdale Bremerview Shiraz

Bleasdale Bremerview Shiraz

The Potts family arrived in Australia in 1836 and recognised the potential of the Langhorne Creek, with its red soils and a ready water source from the river Bremer, to produce quality wines.  The vineyards used to produce the Bremerview Shiraz today overlook the river, hence the name.  The wine has intense ripe dark berry fruit aromas. A touch of cinnamon. The palate is dense with blackberry preserve and smoky oak flavours and lovely lingering fruit sweetness. €15.99

Thistledown “The Basket Case” Ancient Vine Shiraz

Thistledown “The Basket Case” Ancient Vine Shiraz

Thistledown is a relatively new Australian wine producer with a love for the traditional and a strong Irish connection, Fergal Tynan MW is one of the founders. The wine is sourced from 60 year old vines (hence the ancient name) and uses old techniques in the form of the basket press. The finished article is concentrated, lush and creamy on the palate with perfumed, powerful dark fruits and hints of liquorice. €24.99

Greenstone Heathcote Shiraz

The Greenstone vineyard was purchased in 2003 by viticulturalist Mark Walpole, formally chief viticulturist for Brown Brothers, Tuscan winemaker Alberto Antonini and Master of Wine David Gleave.  This trio were attracted to the town of Heathcote by the potential of the ancient red soils to create a unique and spectacular wine.

Giving the wine 94 points, James Halliday of the Australian Wine Companion described the wine as:

Medium purple-crimson; the very fragrant bouquet of spicy red berry fruits leads into a tightly focused and very elegant palate with a mix of savoury/earthy red and black fruits, the tannins fine and long, oak playing a pure support role. €29.99

Greenstone Heathcote Shiraz

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Growler Alert!- 27 March 2015

“In the late 1800s and early 1900s, fresh beer was carried from the local pub to one's home by means of a small-galvanized pail. Rumour has it that when the beer sloshed around the pail, it created a rumbling sound as the CO2 escaped through the lid, thus the term ‘growler’ was coined.”

Growler system

Fresh draught craft beer is now available to buy in growlers at McHugh’s Off-Licence Kilbarrack and Artane thanks to addition of our new foamless beer dispensing units in our stores. This system pressurizes the bottle with carbon dioxide, then by releasing a two-way valve, the beer runs down the inside of the bottle, filling it from the bottom and displacing the carbon dioxide. The beer only ever touches the bottle. Basically, we pressurize the bottle, counter-fill it under the pressure and cap off with foam, much like a bottling plant.

Growler bottles

What this means is that we can now offer fresh draught beer straight from the keg, which can be bought to enjoy at home and even stays fresh for up to two months.

We will have four rotating taps at any one time, and endeavour to pour only the best in local, obscure, limited and seasonal beers. Even in its infancy, we’ve had high demand for Lagunitas IPA, and we’ve decided to keep this as a staple for the foreseeable future. It’s not hard to see why, given the huge hit of fresh hops and sticky toffee malt that this 6.2% abv IPA has to offer.

Growler Menu

Most kegs will have an average turnaround of 2-3 weeks so keep an eye on twitter and facebook for regulator updates on what’s pouring at McHugh’s!
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Winter is Coming- 13 February 2015
As the winter doesn't seem to be leaving us any time soon, we've still got time to savour some great winter seasonals while the cold is still around. Up for discussion, we've got Flying Dog's K9 cruiser, O'Hara's Winter Star and Anderson Valley's Winter Solstice.

K9
Maryland's Flying Dog is known for its quirky beers and this winter seasonal is no different. As with several other winter seasonals, the recipe changes slightly from year to year, so we never really know what we're going to get in the end. What we do know, is that it's a strong, dark ale, brewed to 7.4% ABV. It's got a nice off-white fluffy head and aromas of roasted hazelnuts, fruit cake and plums. The mouthfeel is quite full and just on the pleasant side of syrupy. It finishes with clove spiciness and nice alcohol warmth.

O'Hara's Winter Star is described as a spiced amber ale and features coconut, cinnamon and orange essence. It pours a nice deep copper colour with good sized white head. There's a good dose of cinnamon on the nose with a sweet malty, caramel base. Some citrus is found on the palate from the orange essence with smooth spicy notes on the finish. At 4.3% ABV it's a lighter, more refreshing style than our last beer and a great alternative to the darker, heavier winter styles.

Our last beer comes from California's Anderson Valley. "Winter Solstice" is strong spiced ale, which pours dark amber with a modest, tan head. The nose is quite rich and complex with plenty of ginger, cinnamon, muscovado and dried fruit in abundance. On the palate there's a nutty breadiness which underlies sweet cherry and cinnamon spice. This is the perfect match for a hearty winter stew, and just the thing to warm you up on the last of these cold, winter nights.


Tags :  Winterseasonalbeer
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Beery Christmas- 16 December 2014
While there may be no sign of snowflakes just yet, the true herald of Christmas cheer has arrived; the Christmas seasonal brews! And today we’re trying three different festive ales, White Gypsy’s Yule Ól; Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale, and Mikkeller’s Hoppy Lovin Christmas.

Templmore’s White Gypsy is the first up with its festive dark ale, Yule Ól. Unlike their core 70cl bottled range (due back before Christmas, I might add), this is bottled in a 50cl bottle and pours a dark, deep ruby colour with a fluffy tan head. It’s more Christmas pudding than Christmas cake on the nose, with an emphasis on dried fruit rather than seasonal spice. There’s plums, figs, redcurrants and brown sugar sitting on top a nice base of nutty brown bread. On the palate it comes across a little more toasty with a hint of chocolate and plenty of sweet dried fruit on the finish. The 6% ABV means it’ll warm you up just the right amount too. Certainly one to try with some quality hard cheeses after dinner.

Anchor Brewing has been brewing its Christmas Ale since 1975, making this year their 40th Christmas brew. The recipe has remained a closely guarded secret throughout this time and slight variations are made every year. Judging by the aroma that leaps out as soon as the cap is popped, it’s a very long recipe… Talk about festive! Cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, raisins, figs, toffee and ginger nut biscuits abound, with rich molasses on the palate finishing in intense clove spice. This deep, heavily spiced porter truly epitomises Christmas ale and would go great with the Christmas pudding or simply enjoyed by the fire. This year it also comes in a 1.5L magnum, the perfect gift for the craft beer connoisseur!

Anchor Christmas Ale 2014

Finally we have a festive brew all the way from Denmark; Mikkeller’s Hoppy Lovin’ Christmas. In true Mikkeller fashion, it’s a slightly twisted version of a Christmas beer. The label features a few lads in Christmas jumpers (and signature Mikkeller bowler hats) feeding some reindeer mistletoe in their living room, which kind of sets the tone nicely…enough said. This is described as an IPA brewed with pine needles and ginger, which I suppose could be considered festive. I mean, to be honest, who doesn’t love the smell of a pine tree at Christmas? And that’s what you’re getting with this beer. It’s like a Christmas tree in a bottle. Very intense pine fills the aroma and palate with some tropical fruit and subtle spicy notes behind it. Not your traditional festive brew but a damn fine quirky IPA for the season.

There are plenty more Festive beers in stock in-store and online, all in limited supply, so pop in and get them before they’re gone!

Merry Christmas from McHugh's!

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Help the Halloween Party- 28 October 2014

Pumpkin Beer

Ghosts, witches and vampires? No no, everyone knows what Halloween is really about, and that’s Pumpkin brews! And we have some very limited release pumpkin brews for discussion today; Brew Dog's "Pumpkinhead", Brooklyn Brewery’s “Post-Road Pumpkin Ale”, Flying Dog’s “The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale” and our very own Trouble Brewing’s more simply titled, “Pumpkin brew”.

We’ll keep it close to home first off with “Pumpkin Brew” from Kildare’s Trouble Brewing. This has been a draught staple the last few Halloweens and this year they’ve decided to bottle it for the first time. A deep-amber ale, it’s brewed with roasted pumpkin and appropriate spices. It pours like a typical Irish amber would, with light carbonation and a one-finger fluffy white head. The spices are apparent on the nose but not overpowering, there’s subtle nutmeg and cinnamon, with some root vegetable hints underneath soft toffee malt. On the palate the pumpkin comes through a lot more, adding a soft, almost savoury edge which is married by the toffee sweetness and finished with a nice spicy linger. At 4.5% this is a great choice for a spooky session!
On to Scotland next, and to Brew Dog's "Pumpkinhead", they're first dabble in the style. In typical Brew Dog style it's wrapped in eye-catching label designed by London based screen print artist Johnathan Reiner. The beer itself is copper coloured with a humble off white head, the aroma having substantial spice and plenty of sweet toffee. The palate has some nice roasted nut that flows well with the pumpkin flavour and allspice notes which ends with a sweet toffee finish. A very good example of the style from these craft beer titans.

Brew Dog pumpkinNext is Post Road Pumpkin Ale from Brooklyn Brewery. This pours a hazier orange-brown colour compared to Trouble’s effort, and has a larger, thicker off-white head. The aroma again showing the classic seasonal spice, but with a sweet caramel base and some roast pumpkin evident. The palate is sticky caramel malt with a good dose of cinnamon and a nice, clear roasted pumpkin element. It’s smooth and sweet with just a little extra body given it’s 5% ABV.

Post RoadLast, but most certainly not least, is Flying Dog’s “The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale”. In true Flying Dog fashion, they haven’t held back for their Samhain Seasonal. What we have here is a 9%, spiced to the nines, all-out monster of a pumpkin ale. Spices fly out of the bottle as soon as the cap is popped. This ale is a serious departure from our two previous examples, pouring deep mocha brown with a thick, beige head. It’s a veritable spice-rack in a glass with lashings of cinnamon, ginger, coriander, aniseed, cloves and possibly much more. There’s molasses and raisin bread in there too, and it’s all fighting for your attention. On the palate the beer is full bodied and quite smooth, even given its devilishly high ABV. Dried fruit, dark, intense roast pumpkin, and spice, spice, spice. The finish will last until next Halloween, it really is something else.

All these beers are in very limited supply so hurry and get to taste them before they get banished for another year!

Happy Halloween! 
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