Blog of an aspiring foodie

Bourbon? In County Kilkenny?

Posted by beer_chris on 3-May-2009

I’ve really been enjoying the local brew here in Kilkenny – a cream ale called ‘Kilkenny Draught’, interestingly enough.  I’ve had my share of Guinness and even an excellent  cider called Bulmers. However, my mini pub crawl yesterday has convinced me of something – something rather interesting and funny. My buddy and I were sitting at a rather large pub right across from Kilkenny castle called ”Left Bank’. This buddy of  mine was on a bit of a personal mission to drink double Irish whiskeys all day – and had made it clear to our bartender that he wanted something special. The bartender was a young man – likey in hisearly twenties – and was struggling a bit to keep my friend satisfied – every bottle he brought over was something my bud already knew of or had tasted. finally, he looked at him, a bit puzzled, and said ‘Im definitely gonna’ look after yah’ and disappeared for a moment. Clearly he was headed to the bcak to get something extra rare – something really special (and expensive) for the crazy American. He came back and set two bottles in front of us:

Jim Beam single distilled

Woodford Reserve

My friend and I chuckled – here were two Americans, looking for something really special, and what do we get in an Irish bar? Bourbon. We explained how funny we thought this was to our bartender, who was a little disappointed we didn’t buy a dram of the Woodford – I think it was going for 15 euros a pop (!).

Of everything he tasted that night, I sipped on a few of them. The Bushmills 10 year old was probably my favorite ‘new to me’ Irish whiskey. Midleton remains my fave, but I’ve had that at home. The Bushmills 10 was very citrusy – it had notes of grapefruit and citron in it.

However, I was thinking more about the bourbon this morning, and I had an epiphany. Ireland is one of the few countries in the world with a really famous beer/whiskey culture – but there are really very few varieties to choose. Every pub I’ve walked into, whether a brand new one like ‘Left Bank’ or the oldest operating pub in Kilkenny just down the road from our B&B has the same selection of beer and whiskey. Special in Ireland is foreign – and so when you want specia lwhiskey you’re going to drink small batch bourbon from the states or Wild Turkey.

After a couple days of crawling pubs, I’m ready for some real ale. The culture is the same as in england/scotland in the pubs, and the beer is really good – there’s just not all that much variety, at least so far as I’ve seen.

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