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Real ale in West Ireland

Staying in the city of Galway, of course there's plenty of stout about, but there are some really nice ales that are definitely worth trying. These two are available in various of the pubs:

  • Galway Hooker is a delicious well-balanced pale ale. It's got a lovely piney tang, with a bit of hoppiness to balance it. (For more tang, see Metal Man below.)
  • Smithwicks is an interesting ale, kinda unusual to me - it's a reddish ale but a bit fizzy and watery almost like lager. That gives it a kind of refreshing taste, and it makes for a good shandy on a hot day. (We didn't have many hot days though.)

Lucky for us, we rented a little place not far from the Oslo Bar in Salthill - an upmarket place with its own microbrewery, and a great selection of ales on tap.

You can see the microbrewery (Bay Brewery) room through a window - they make an ale and a lager. The ale is a good, soft medium ale. The lager is not great, I'm afraid, but never mind.

The other Irish ales that were on tap in the Oslo when we were there were:

  • Metal Man - delicious - really zingy pale ale, a grapefruity tang (or maybe metallic... given the name) with a slightly dry finish. Despite the zinginess it was easy to drink a good few of these. I think it might be a bit too tangy for some people, so you might rather have the more balanced Galway Hooker, but I loved this beer.
  • Belfast Blonde - good blonde
  • Trouble Brewing - good (can't remember it now though)
  • Helvick Gold - unpleasantly yeasty. The bar staff agreed with us on this, apparently it hadn't been popular.

So to sum up, get a taste of Metal Man if you can; but in the Galway area you can fairly easily get a pint of Galway Hooker which is well worth it.

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