Letter from Dublin. (No, not the one in Ohio.)

May 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I believe in drinking locally. For the most part, that means locally-produced beers.

So, here I am, in front of a shelf at a local “bottle shop.” I’m admiring a nice, if relatively small, selection of Goose Island beers. Beers I love to drink when I’m drinking locally.

Priced in Euros - More than I pay back home

Priced in Euros - More than I pay back home

But I wont be getting any of them. I believe in drinking locally.

I’m in Dublin right now.

So, I’ll be drinking brands like O’Hara’s, Trouble, and Eight Degree. And even Porterhouse (the largest Irish-owned brewery).

Guinness? Yeah, it’s brewed here, but, like Smithwick’s and Harp, it’s owned by London-based Diageo. Nevertheless, I’ll be drinking a bit of those, too.

So drinking Goose while I’m here wouldn’t exactly be drinking locally. Just as drinking Guinness in Chicago isn’t drinking locally. Or even Porterhouse (which is distributed in the Chicago region by Glunz) still isn’t drinking locally, even if you do hale from the ol’ sod. (FYI, the Glunz selection and distribution of Porterhouse beers is extremely limited – maybe someone will pressure them to carry the Oyster Stout.)

But Goose and other American beers are having their own impact. “American beers have a great reputation here; they sell well” said Mr. Butler, manager of the Drink Store, in the Stoneybatter neighborhood of Dublin. “We’re probably about where you Americans were ten years ago with craft beers.”

The Drink Store

The Drink Store

We commented that many of the local beers were very malty. “Yes, we’re learning from you Americans, to not be so afraid of the hops.

As evidence of that, Smithwick’s just introduced its own Pale Ale, using, surprisingly, Amarillo hops – a typically American variety.

But am I contributing to my carbon footprint by traveling over here to Dublin to try the local Irish beers? Yes, of course I am – I took a big ol’ honkin’ jetliner to get here.  (It’s very tough to walk, or canoe, even, from Chicago to Dublin, to minimize the carbon footprint. Rowboats don’t work particularly well, either.)

So what’s the drinking-locally lesson? Perhaps Irish brewers will realize the American, no-holds-barred, phooey-with-tradition, try-anything approach will click with craft beer drinkers, and bring more Irish drinkers into the craft beer pantheon.

And then Goose and the other American craft brewers can retreat to serving their local-region craft beer drinkers, and let the Irish brewers serve their own with locally-Irish-produced, quality stuff.

We taught ‘em, they got it, our job is done here.

It’s doubtful that’s their strategy, but we can always hope.