Value for money
Porterhouse Oyster Stout
€1.99 for 330ml, €6.03 per litre
If you’re turned off by the thought of eating oysters, you might want to pass on this beer as real shellfish are used in the brewing process down at the Porterhouse. We may have imagined it but we did get a hint of their flavour in the mix, which was oddly pleasant. Mind you, while we recognised the strange flavour, we’d no clue it was oysters until we looked up the ingredients. The head was thin and the hoppy flavour thick and lingering. It seemed to have a lot of fizz, which wasn’t really to our taste, and we didn’t like the small bottle either.
Verdict: Not a bad but not great.
Star rating: ***
Founders Breakfast Stout
€3.60 for 355ml, 410.14 per litre
This is an American stout and given the day that’s in it, we should dock it points for that and for its price. It does not stop it being mostly amazing. We tracked it down in Drink Store in Dublin’s Stoneybatter and we were glad we did. It is unlike any stout we have ever tasted. We were told its boozy sweetness comes from being brewed in maple syrup and liquor barrels, and it also has a strong coffee flavour with a hint of chocolate. We can’t imagine drinking many in one sitting, or at least if we did we’d struggle to stay standing because it is 8.6 per cent proof, but a couple will go down very nicely – although maybe not for breakfast.
Verdict: Gorgeous but expensive. And non-native.
Star rating: ****
Dungarvan Blackwater Stout
€3.30 for 500ml, €6.60 per litre
This is a very, very good craft stout and it goes wonderfully well with a strong-flavoured hearty meal, although maybe not so well with a night in front of the telly watching football. The roasted barley flavours are lovely and we were impressed by the strength of this stout’s head. It has a smooth drinkability that many of its rivals struggle to match, and a complexity of flavours that most mass-produced beers find it difficult to replicate. Availability might be a problem but it is definitely worth hunting down.
Star rating: *****
Guinness Original Stout
€3 for 568ml, €5.28 per litre
Never mind your fancy Dan cans with their space age widgets, this is an old-school pint bottle of Guinness and all the better for it. While many beer purists may pour scorn upon Pricewatch for praising this product because it comes not from a small producer but one of the biggest breweries in the world, we are not ashamed to admit that we liked it . A lot. We liked the size of the bottle and the size of the head, and we liked the strong and sweet hoppy flavours that really come into their own when served at room temperature – or maybe just a smidgen below. While it is not as easy to get as it once was, it should still be less difficult to track down than many of the upstarts.
Verdict: It works for us.
Star rating: *****