Less than a month ago I posted this little piece encouraging people here in the US to contact their elected officials to ensure health insurance would be available to as many people as possible, no wait, sorry wrong blog, that post was to encourage people to contact their local bottle shops to get hold of the newly available Porterhouse beers. Well, well, well, guess what I found during a routine trip to Beer Run here in Charlottesville? Yes indeed, they are stocking Wrasslers XXXX and Oyster Stout, I nearly leapt for joy, but instead I smiled broadly and bought some beer, you really don't need to be told which ones I assume, but just in case, here are the labels.
Ah the memories come flooding back, but as I said, I posted about that before. From what I understand, and I am sure that I will be swiftly corrected if I am wrong, these versions of Wrasslers and Oyster Stout are somewhat different from the ones you would get in the Porterhouse bars in Dublin, for a start they are bottle conditioned. Secondly, there is not a whiff of nitrogenation to be had, no stupid widgets or magic balls floating around to give me a great head (note, "a great head" you mucky people) and rob me blind of most of the flavour. "Ah yes", I hear you cry, "but how did it taste?". Well, if you're sitting comfortably, let's begin.
Once upon a time there was a bloke called Michael Collins, and he liked a tipple, and so the good people at the Porterhouse took his favourite tipple from his local brewery in Cork, though long closed down as a result of the predatory nature of the free market, and used it as inspiration for a beer they called Wrasslers XXXX. Wrasslers is a beautifully dark, dark, ruby red beer with a tan head that bob, bob, bobbed along on top of the beer.
"My, my, what a beautiful big chocolate smell you have Wrasslers"
"all the better to tempt you to taste me with"
"and is that a tang of sour milk in the background?"
"why, yes it is, just like the old days"
Sorry there, got carried away. So yes, chocolate is a big theme in Wrasslers, both on the nose and in the mouth - though I am not sure of the purpose of putting beer on one's nose, I will strive to discover it though. Despite the big, smooth chocolate flavours, there is a good dose of bitterness to counteract that, I am guessing the Galena hops are responsible there. Simply put, this is so much better than the beer I had on a nitro tap, and I am very glad I have a good stock in the cellar.
The last time, and also the first time, I tried Oyster Stout, I was a touch disappointed, but that was most likely because I had heard many a soul rant and rave about how this was the best beer ever produced in the history of humanity, and nothing could ever have lived up to the expectations I had allowed to develop in advance of my trip to Dublin in 2008, so I was looking forward to reacquainting myself with the Oyster Stout. Again the actual beer was a deep ruby red, although the head was rockier than the Wrasslers. The usual stout aromas abounded, chocolate and coffee front and centre, but there was something else, lurking in the background, something I couldn't place. The only thing I could think of was that it had a touch of the sea about it, somewhat akin to the Islay whiskies, perhaps that was pure suggestion, but there we go. As far as drinking goes, this is lighter than the Wrasslers, but full of flavour and with a long bitter finish, simply put it is great drinking and beats the stuff on nitro in Dublin.
So there you have it, my favourite stout, and something I can see becoming very popular, is available just round the corner from me, and I am a happy man with plans to stock up further. Happy days indeed.