Showing posts with label Pearse Lyons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pearse Lyons. Show all posts

Sunday, June 19, 2022

A Delayed Irish Whiskey Double. Pearse Single Malt & Fercullen 10 Year Old Single Grain

A Delayed Irish Whiskey Double

Pearse Single Malt & Fercullen 10 Year Old Single Grain

Pearse Single Malt Irish Whiskey 46%abv €90.00

Back in 2019, I visited the beautiful Pearse Lyons distillery in Dublin’s Liberties. As you’ll see on the label, the distillery dedicates their spirits to the people and place that make it! They didn’t make that much of this one, just 4,000 bottles of which this one is #3377.

After a lovely informative tour, we got down to the pleasure of tasting a few as the afternoon sunlight spread through the gorgeous stained glass windows, each showing a scene from the process of making whiskey.

This Single Malt was our final tasting of the session. It was a new style of bottle for Pearse and was intended to be the type used from then on.

Cooper at work in Pearse window.

The standard within the bottle impressed and I thought it was exceptional and this latest tasting leaves that opinion unchanged. It is, as you may know, all their own malt, raised in first and second fill Bourbon casks. 

They say: “It is the first five-year age statement Irish whiskey to appear from a new distillery in the whole of Ireland in more than 25 years. Presented in 4,000 individually numbered bottles, this limited release 5-Year-Old Single Malt was produced on two small-batch copper pot stills, and aged in bourbon casks.”

It is sweet, oaky, peppery. Still young, yet full of promise, all very encouraging indeed. This was actually the bottle that I bought before I left! Only getting around to it three years later but still loving its fruit of the grain, still giving it a big thumbs up.

Fercullen 10 Year Old Single Grain Irish Whiskey, 40% abv, €57.50

Carefully selected from rare stocks of aged Irish Whiskey, the Fercullen 10-year-old Single Grain Irish Whiskey has been aged exclusively in American white oak (ex Bourbon barrels) for over a decade before being re-casked to mature in fresh bourbon barrels. 

Produced by Powerscourt Distillery, it comes in a lovely gold colour. Vanilla, honey and spice in the sweet aromas (all through really), rounded and not overly intense. Beautifully smooth and balanced on the palate, sweet, crisp grain with complex combinations of oak and fruit. While flavours of vanilla and orchard fruits lead the palate, there are subtle combinations all the way, nothing jars at all, no extremes, easy sipping (no need for water) to a long and lovely finale with a sweet vanilla oak touch.

I tasted this first three years ago with the then Powerscourt master distiller Noel Sweeney. We actually started with it. Noel was not at all surprised at its success, “a star performer”, and he thinks that this particular category is generally “under-rated”. Again, I bought this bottle on that visit and only got around to it now.

Ready for 2019 tasting in Powerscourt

The Fercullen 10 year old is based on old stock made by Sweeney while at Cooley, where he began his 30 plus year whiskey career and stayed on after founder John Teeling sold to Beam in 2011.

Noel is a globally recognised expert who has been credited for the release of many international award-winning whiskeys and was inducted into Whisky Magazine’s celebrated ‘Hall of Fame’ in 2017.


Celtic Whiskey still have some of the Pearse at €90.00.

And they have the Fercullen listed at €57.50

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

A Quart of Ale± #26A. Moving on over to craft. A Variety of Lagers.

A Quart of Ale
± #26A

Moving on over to craft

A Variety of Lagers

Hope Underdog Hoppy Lager 4.8%, 440ml can via Ardkeen QFS

This modern hybrid style lager has a hazy gold colour, lots of bubbles on show, with a delicate quickly fading white head. Hops make their presence known in the nose. Very impressive introduction on the palate, with a terrific mouthfeel, malt sweetness and hop bitterness get along very well indeed. It is deeply refreshing, full of flavour and persistent. A big and pleasant surprise for me and one to note for sure.

They say: The malts and the yeast we use are traditional, but the hops are not. We use lager malt and other European malt such as Munich malt for flavour, and we use a classic German lager yeast: a strain originally isolated from the oldest brewery in the world. We also use modern American hops for flavour, such as Citra, El Dorado, and Mosaic, furthermore we use the dry hopping technique which is associated with IPAs rather than lager. Underdog hoppy lager is the result.

When it comes to food pairing it’s a brilliant all-rounder, great with BBQs, pizza, spicy foods like curries and for anybody who doesn’t like wine with their food.

Malts: Lager, Munich, Melanoidin, Carapils, Acidulated.

Hops: Magnum, El Dorado, Mosaic 

Yeast: German Lager

IBU 25

The Brewery: Hope Beer started out in 2015 when the brewery was founded by four friends with a passion for beer and business. What began as a series of late-night kitchen table discussions is now a state-of-the-art brewery, producing an extensive range of award-winning premium craft beers. All Hope beers are brewed, bottled, canned and kegged at Howth Junction on Dublin’s Northside and are crafted to be the perfect accompaniment to food.

The Story: During the American invasion of Mexico in 1846, Irishman John Riley came to the aid of the Mexicans in their hour of need. He formed the famous San Patricios Battalion and willingly joined the underdog by fighting against the odds. Ok, they lost, but they became Mexican heroes, remembered especially on St. Patrick’s Day, and on every other day of the year by their nickname: Greengo’s.

Duvel-Moortgat “Vedett Extra Blond” 5.2%, 330ml bottle Bradley’s of Cork

Thought I was buying a golden or blond ale here but turns out this one is more of a lager, a bottom fermented beer, a speciality of the Belgian brewery.

It is straw coloured, lots of bubbles rising, and a fluffy white head that diminishes slowly.  The “extra” here is because of the higher than usual abv. There is a moderate hoppy element in the aromas and on the palate, you immediately realise you have a thirst-quencher in your hand, dry and smooth with a finely balanced hoppiness and a subtle bitterness towards the finalé, always with a mild malt character in the background.

They say: An excellent companion for mushrooms, asparagus, mussels, sushi (with a hint of spiciness), fried chicken breast, calves’ liver, noodle and rice dishes, lemon grass, coconut milk, creamy cottage cheese or a goat’s cheese made with unpasteurised milk. Best served at 3 – 6 °C. 

This Vedett has been in production since the 1940s and was “refreshed” and re-launched in 2003. Brewed with 100 % natural ingredients: water, yeast, pale barley malt, rice. Saaz-Saaz and Styrian Golding hops.

Cotton Ball Indian Summer 4.7%, 500ml bottle and on draught, Cotton Ball Off-licence

Fancy the freshness of a lager, the flavours of an ale? Then check out the Cotton Ball’s Indian Summer.

I was reminded of the qualities of the Cotton Ball’s Indian Summer, produced first as a seasonal but now very much a core beer, during a visit to one of Cork’s newest restaurants in MacCurtain Street. 

A delicious pint (left). The brewery indicate Indian Summer is “a hybrid beer made with lager and crystal malts but with an ale yeast and is an excellent thirst quencher….  great with an Indian Friday night take away.” 

I had my pint in the new Thompsons restaurant (where the Cotton have a micro brewery) and it paired very well indeed with a Nduja pizza. The recipe for this hybrid may be somewhat unusual but it has impressive character, giving the drinker the best of both worlds.

They say: Our Pale Ale made with Irish lager malt, crystal malt and ale yeast while being delicately bittered using three new world hops. 

This beer gives a citrusy aroma with a light clean palate and a lingering hoppy bitterness. This beer is for sure a thirst quencher! 

Metalman Equinox Wheat Lager 4.6%, 330ml can Ardkeen QFS

A beer for a sunny day! Even if that sunny day was just above freezing as winter sneaked in.

It’s a hazy mid-gold colour with a myriad of little bubbles rising towards a white head that doesn’t hang about. Orange and lemon peel have been added for a burst of citrus, along with some ground coriander to give a hint of spice at the end. It seems to have worked well as the wheat lager is very refreshing, full of flavour and totally quaffable with a clove-y hint there too. Nice finish also.

Very satisfactory overall and good too that you are able to get it in keg, cask and can.

Pearse Lyons Brown Bear India Pale Lager 5.2%, Aldi

Something of a hybrid like the Cotton Ball’s Indian Summer. A more serious beer than I first thought and quite a satisfactory one as well. Not a big fan of the discounts but credit where credit is due, so a big thumbs up for this particular Brown Bear. Colour is more amber than gold, the aromas are hoppy and the fruity finalé is more ale than lager.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

A Quart of Ale± #10. Moving on over to craft. American Style IPA

Quart of Ale± #10
Moving on over to craft. 

American Style IPA

First, there was IPA. In the 18th century, English beer, on its way to India was highly hopped. It became known as India pale ale and went down well with the soldiers and later found favour with drinkers at home. 

Two hundred years later, just like the empire, it was slipping into oblivion, until the Americans revived it by using their more aromatic and flavourful hops and more of them. And so the American IPA was born. And that led to a revival in the UK.

In Part 1 here, we start with a 100% American IPA and an answer from the UK and a worthy effort too from our own Porterhouse. Both Lyons and Lough Gill have strong US connections. Part 2 will focus on some excellent American style IPA produced here in Ireland by the likes of Kinnegar, Whiplash, Blacks and Yellowbelly.

Founders All Day IPA 4.7%, 42 IBU, 355ml can, Bradley’s of Cork

Light amber colour, no shortage of bubbles, white head falls quickly. Aromas are sharply hoppy. Mouth-filling, with strong but not by any means overpowering hop input, not too bitter at all. Excellent, and certainly sessional as they indicate on the label. A classic Founders without all the alcohol.

They say: The beer you’ve been waiting for. Keeps your taste satisfied while keeping your senses sharp. An all-day IPA naturally brewed with a complex array of malts, grains and hops. Balanced for optimal aromatics and a clean finish. The perfect reward for an honest day’s work and the ultimate companion to celebrate life’s simple pleasures.

Brewer Jeremy Kosmicki  made the All Day his mission: “Not too malty, not too bitter, not too much alcohol. Something I would get satisfaction from. Pretty excited that the company got behind it and said go for it. It’s not a light beer.. the only thing light about it is the alcohol.” Reckon he cracked it! See his video onsite at

Thornbridge Jamestown New England IPA 5.9%, 330ml can, Bradley’s of Cork
Lighter colour, a light hazy gold, than Founders, big white head, a bit slower to sink. Hoppy aromas. On the palate, you get a fruity greeting, little trace of bitterness. Very quaffable indeed. And if you’re inching your way into craft, you could do worse than try this English made beer.
Hops: Galaxy, Nelson Sauvin, Citra. Mosaic
Maris Otters, Wheat, Oat

They say: Jamestown is soft in body and huge in character. Expect a bouquet of stone fruit and citrus, followed by flavours of papaya and pineapple on the palate. Vegan friendly!

Porterhouse Renegade New England IPA 5.3%, 440ml can, Bradley’s of Cork
Again a hazy gold, a little heavier than the Jamestown, big white head that lingers a while. Hops peep through in the aromas. Well flavoured as you’d expect from the hops but this smooth New Englander from old Dublin is very drinkable, well balanced with hops enough but no overt bitterness.

They say: Renegade is our take on a NEIPA. With an extended whirlpool at lower temperature for a smooth soft finish. Unfiltered and heavily dry hopped with Amarillo, Galaxy and Mosaic for notable flavours of passionfruit, mango, lemon with a touch of blueberry. This NEIPA is fermented on traditional East Coast yeast.

Malts: Ale, Oats, Cara, Wheat.
Hops: Magnum, Citra, Mandarina Bavaria, Simco.

Lough Gill Native IPA 5.5%, 440ml can, Aldi
In Lough Gill, a couple of years back, with James (left) and Tony
The label shows a buffalo with the stars and stripes background. More than enough to indicate that this is more than likely an American style Indian Pale Ale. No big surprise really considering that head brewer Tony is a Lakota Sioux. It came into the Aldi offering about two years back and I hadn’t heard of it until a chance visit to the local store recently. The surprise is that this has some characteristics of an English style IPA.

It comes in a reddish brown colour with an off white head that doesn’t last as long as an Aldi queue. Aromas of moderate intensity with both malt and hops at level pegging. And that equilibrium is repeated on the palate. Nice bit of flavour though and a dry malty finish from a beer that falls somewhere between American and English, between pale ale and red. Pretty good one though.

With COVID-19 hammering small business right across the country James Ward, founder, Lough Gill Brewing Company, is delighted that Aldi has extended its usual summer contract for Native to last through the autumn. 

Pearse Lyons “Brown Bear” IPA 5.2%, 500ml bottle Aldi
The late lamented Pearse Lyons (clip from distillery tour video)

Amber is the colour of this Aldi beer. The soft white head soon sinks to a lacy disc. Hops and their floral notes feature in the aromas of moderate intensity. It has been dry hopped and that comes across clearly on the palate right through to the finish but the malt has a strong enough part to play here as well. 

Well-made, well balanced as you’d expect from the Pearse Lyons company who own a distillery and a brewery in the US. Their distillery in Dublin’s Liberties is a must visit while their beers are being produced, for Aldi, in the old McArdles brewery in Dundalk. I haven’t had the pleasure of a visit there yet.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Irish whiskey distilleries reopening with a host of new visitor offerings

Irish whiskey distilleries reopening with a host of new visitor offerings
Taste the difference at Roe & Co

  • IrishWhiskey360° campaign urges domestic tourists to ‘get back into the spirit’ by visiting local distilleries -

Bespoke whiskey and food tastings, intimate cocktail-making classes and collaborations with local restaurants are just some of what’s on offer from Irish whiskey distilleries and visitor centres as they re-open in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions.

Commenting on their reopening, William Lavelle, head of Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey said many distilleries and brand homes have introduced new visitor offerings and more intimate tourist experiences in the wake of Covid-19.  Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey have today launched their IrishWhiskey360° “Get Back Into The Spirit” campaign to promote Irish whiskey tourism.

“Smaller tour sizes, private tastings, new cocktail and food pairings, and collaborations with local businesses are just some of the ways our members are adapting their offerings as they reopen,” he said. “Safety is obviously a key focus for all our visitor centres – they have reduced their tour sizes and introduced all the necessary requirements to ensure social distancing can be adhered to.

“Irish whiskey visitor centres are not just for whiskey fans – they offer a cultural and historical experience, where visitors can learn about how whiskey is made, the history of the local area, taste  whiskey and sample local cuisine. Whether you’re a couple looking for a fun date experience, or a group of friends looking to catch up after a difficult few months, I would urge people to get back into the spirit of discovery and friendship, and support local brands, by including an Irish whiskey visitor centre in your summer plans.”

Some of the distilleries and visitor centres that are reopening with new offerings include:

  • Clonakilty DistilleryCo. Cork, which is offering smaller, later tours on Friday and Saturday evenings to allow visitors to follow their tour with a meal in neighbouring restaurant, the Whale’s Tail.
  • Kilbeggan Distillery, Co. Westmeath, which is running smaller, more intimate tours, and have developed a new ‘Bottle Your Own’ experience, where visitors can bottle their own 10 year-old single malt cask exclusive to Kilbeggan Distillery.
  • Roe & Co. Distillery in Dublin, where groups of up to six people can experience a cocktail-making workshop, and visitors will have the opportunity to discover the five pillars of flavours in whiskey.
  • Tullamore Dew, Co. Offaly, which will be offering intimate-sized tours, and whiskey and food pairings.
Gin School at Clonakilty Distillery

Other distilleries that opened or due to open shortly include:

  • Teeling Whiskey Distillery, Newmarket, Dublin.
  • Powerscourt Distillery, Co. Wicklow.
  • Jameson Distillery, Bow Street, Dublin.
  • Jameson Distillery, Midleton. Co. Cork.
  • Pearse Lyons Distillery, James’s Street, Dublin.
  • Skellig Six18, Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry.

The Irish whiskey industry had a successful 2019 with 143 million bottles (nearly 12 million cases) of Irish whiskey sold globally, a doubling of sales since 2010, along with a record one million people visiting Irish whiskey distilleries and visitor centres.

Further information on the Irish whiskey distilleries and visitor centres that are now open is available at:

Monday, January 21, 2019

Pearse Lyons Whiskey Lifts Liberties. More than a distillery

Pearse Lyons Whiskey Lifts Liberties
More than a distillery

We begin our tour in the graveyard of the former church of St. James, now home to the Pearse Lyons Distillery. Here in the Golden Triangle in the heart of The Liberties we end with a sip of the golden Pearse Five-Year-Old Single Malt, the design and packaging inspired by the former church, now restored and with a unique blue glass spire. In addition, there is also a genuine old pub, McCann’s, on site and some of the tours end there for a drink. 

The late Pearse Lyons on video frame
When you have finished the tour, having heard how Deirdre and Pearse Lyons took over the rump of the old church and the overgrown graveyard (where up to 100,000 had been buried over the centuries) and transformed it, you realise that this is much more than just a business venture, more than a distillery.

We are here for the whiskey of course and our tour allows us quite a tasting, beginning with The Original. This has been raised in US barrels (from the Lyons Town Branch distillery in Lexington) and the vanilla shows. It is a lovely whiskey, citrus and smoke on the nose, sweet, light and a little smoky as you sip.

Our patient guide at this stage is James and he has all the answers telling us that our next whiskey, the Distiller’s Choice is a 3 to 9 year old blend of no less than seven Irish whiskies, 6 sourced by Mr Lyons plus their own malt whiskey (ex ale barrel, Lyons also have a brewery Alltech). 

The Lyons distillery is quite new (though they had set up their equipment in Carlow for a few years before opening here in St Jame’s), hence the sourcing. The blend is perfect, again a touch of fruit (including citrus) on the nose, smooth and sweet and very satisfying indeed.

James was quite enthusiastic about the third whiskey, the Founder’s Choice, a 12 year old single malt. Again fruity on the nose with herbal notes too, sweet, oaky, herbal and spicy on the silky palate and finish. No wonder it is James’s favourite!

Number four is the Cooper’s Select, 42% like all the previous drinks. This a blend of 80% Single Malt and 20% Grain and has spent four years in Sherry cask. Dried fruit and coffee on the nose and that rich combination continues on the palate. This is an after-dinner drink and a very nice one too! But if you fancy it, you’d better act quickly as they won’t be producing this exact drink again.  James: “When it’s gone, it’s gone”.

Yeast at work
The future is represented in more ways than one in our final Pearse tasting, the Single Malt. Its bottle shape is different to the previous four and will be standard for Pearse whiskey in the future. The standard within is exceptional. This by the way is all their own malt, raised in first and second fill Bourbon casks. 

“It is the first five-year age statement Irish whiskey to appear from a new distillery in the whole of Ireland in more than 25 years. Presented in 4,000 individually numbered bottles, this limited release 5-Year-Old Single Malt was produced on two small-batch copper pot stills, and aged in bourbon casks.”

It is sweet, oaky, peppery. Still  young, yet full of promise, all very encouraging indeed. And it was also a bottle that I bought before I left!
James, with the Single Malt

Had an enjoyable taste of their Ha’penny Dublin Dry Gin, a small-batch, pot distilled gin featuring 13 expertly selected botanicals including Geranium, Dandelion, Lavender and Blackberry – all of which would have been growing in the nearby Phoenix Park in Victorian times when the bridge was built. The Ha’penny series also features a whiskey.

The counter where we tasted is set up in the church under a stained glass representation of a cooper at work. The stained glass windows are amazing; one commemorates the area’s connection with the Camino to Santiago di Compostela, another depicts how Irish Whiskey is made; the fourth shows the natural ingredients grown for “uisce beatha”. Amazing how the warm amber light from the windows fills up the distillery interior, reflecting on the copper stills and the Caen stone pillars. 

Outside though, the work is continuing and will continue for a long while to come, as our excellent tour guide Bernard told us. Many a story has emerged from the graveyard and no doubt more to come, all exciting much interest locally and further afield.

The headstones shed light on the trades that The Liberties welcomed in the past. Tradesmen and women who worked as coopers, distillers, linen merchants, shoemakers, bakers, bishops and soldiers have all found a resting place here at St. James’ Church alongside many members of the Lyons family. 

The graveyard is next door to Guinness property and one of the more prominent graves, right up by the wall of the church, belongs to Sir Haldane Porter, an assistant managing director of Guinness at his death in 1944.

The oldest person buried here is Florence Walltropp, 105 years old at her death. They also found five leaded coffins, always a sign of a contagious disease; these five are of one family believed to have decimated by the 1832 cholera outbreak in Dublin.

And the Golden Triangle? At one time, close to 40 distilleries were in operation in Dublin, nestled in a one mile radius around here, better known as the “Golden Triangle.”
Cooper at work
The four big distillery players at the time were George Roe and Company, John Power and Son, William Jameson and Company and John Jameson and Son. Today, the Pearse Lyons Distillery is playing a leading role as the Golden Triangle in the heart of The Liberties makes a remarkable revival.

A visit here is Very Highly Recommended. For the whiskey yes but it is, after all, much more than a distillery. Read more here

* Pearse Lyons greets all visitors during an introductory video to the tour but sadly the great man died last year. He will be missed for a long time and will be remembered whenever a person from the Liberties, or indeed a visitor on his or her way to the distillery, spots the distinctive blue spire.
also on this Dublin trip:
The Little Museum of Dublin
Café en Seine

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Two Recommended Irish Whiskeys

Pearse 5 Year Old Single Malt Whiskey, 46% abv, exclusively at SuperValu €80.00.

Something amazingly clean about this, the crispness of the fruit (apple, citrus), the toast of the oak, a waft of pepper, and the clove notes, all there from the start to the lingering finish. Spice and citrus also feature in the aromas and the malt too of course. Nothing overly complex here, just pleasant clean lines, not unlike the lines of the stained glass windows in the Church of St James in Dublin, the home of the Pearse Lyons Distillery.*

It has been wholly produced and aged in Ireland.  Using Irish malted barley and their own special yeast strain, the whiskey spirit was produced on the unique pair of copper pot stills imported from Kentucky and aged in bourbon casks from their distillery in Lexington Kentucky.

The unique design of the unusual small-batch copper stills is credited with giving the whiskey a special character. The wash still, christened ‘Mighty Molly’, includes a “neck and ball” configuration which assists in refining the spirit character in the first step of distillation. The spirit still, ‘Little Lizzie’,  features four rectification plates that further purify and refine the spirit collected, harnessing the fullness, complexity and refinement of flavour of a double-distilled Irish Whiskey.

A Malt Whiskey, by the way, is made solely from malted barley in copper pot stills. A single malt is the product of a single distillery.

Conor Ryan, Global Whiskey Ambassador at the Pearse Lyons Distillery spoke at the recent launch: “As with the other whiskeys produced at the Pearse Lyons Distillery, the Pearse 5-year-old Single-Malt features no additional colourings, so the colour you see has been purely produced in the natural barrel ageing process. The maturation process has an enormous influence on the flavour profile of the end product whiskey with the length of time, quality and previous use of the barrel being the crucial components. We are lucky to have a fantastic supply of fresh used ex bourbon casks which we source from our sister distillery in Kentucky which contributes vanilla, toasted wood, fruity and spicy notes to the final product.”

The bottle design has been inspired by St James Church, the home of the Pearse Lyons Distillery.  The centrepiece of the label features the octagonal spire, the view seen when looking up from inside the distillery and the colour scheme reflects the copper stills which were used to produce the whiskey. Each of the limited-edition bottles has been individually numbered and the first bottle will be positioned in pride of place at the Pearse Lyons Distillery in the Liberties.

* Based on 5cl sample.

Tullamore D.E.W. Trilogy Irish Whiskey, 40%, €65.00 during distillery tour.

I enjoyed this one when I tasted it during a summer visit to the distillery, well the visitor centre, in Tullamore and enjoyed it even better when I poured from the bottle the other night.

The amber draws you in, as do the aromas of tropical fruit and sweet spice. On the palate it is rich and mellow, soft and full bodied, very approachable (more so with a few, a very few, drops of water) and there is a long and richly satisfying finish. One for the short list!

The Trilogy name refers in part at least to the fact that three different types of cask have been used. It was matured in Sherry and Bourbon and finished off in Rum casks. The deeper colour comes from the wood as well.

But where did the basic whiskey itself come from? The distillery operated between 1829 and the early 1950s and was revived by William Grant in 2010 so not their own whiskey obviously. I’ve read it came from Midleton and Bushmills. Three types of whiskey too, pot still, malt and grain, each triple distilled, the combination also a trilogy.

We’ll let the distillery have the final word - note the three generations: “Our 15 Year Old Trilogy is the very pinnacle of our craft. Across three generations of Williams, the three unique crafts of distillation, blending and maturation in finest oak were honed.”