The power of persuasion
A Review of J.W. Sweetman Irish Red Ale by J.W. Sweetman Craft Brewery
Posted on 7/3/2014 by Chops
                   
Delicious
I must admit that I feel a little bad writing this review. The conundrum is quite simple: how do you compare delicious apples to other delicious apples? I recently had the pleasure of visiting Dublin, Ireland. Yes, the land of authentic Irish Red Ales and Dry Stouts. Pub after pub I sampled some of the best versions I have ever tasted. But, the Irish Red Ale I chose to write about wasn't the best of the trip. It was, however, by far the most memorable.

The beer in question is the J.W. Sweetman Irish Red Ale. Now don't get me wrong, this was a great beer and I savored every drop. But when it comes to enjoying good beer, the actual beer is only part of the equation. There are many other factors to consider and location is one of the most important. The J.W. Sweetman Craft Brewery is located right on the River Liffey in the center of Dublin. The pub interior radiates Irish heritage. Walking through the front door is like stepping back in time, complete with rustic dark woods and surly locals. I ordered my Irish Red Ale, got it fresh from an old school pump tap, then found a quiet cozy seat on the second floor overlooking the River Liffey. Wow. It was the perfect beer geek moment, which is why I chose to write about this particular Irish Red Ale.

In the glass, this beer had the classic red-tinted amber coloration of a great Irish Red Ale. It came with a thick and creamy tan head that had long lasting retention. On the nose, I was greeted by a simple sweet malty aroma with notes of toasted bread crust and caramel. It was a textbook example of the style, so I expected no surprises going into that first sip. To be honest, I was more enthralled by the environment to notice any obvious flaws. I just sat back in my cozy space, grinned ear to ear, and dove right into my frosty pint.

The first thing I noticed was a solid toasty malty backbone. It was the primary flavor with secondary notes of caramel and toffee. I also found a mild spicy character that complimented the earthy hop presence quite well. The only issue I had with this beer, if you could even call it that, was on the mouthfeel. It was certainly an easy drinker, but was thinner than usual with a drier bite that carried into the finish. The beer exited with a sour malty aftertaste. It was certainly atypical for the style, but not enough to be a significant detriment.

Overall, the J.W. Sweetman Irish Red Ale was a delicious brew and a solid representation of the style. It does feel odd writing about an Irish Red Ale brewed in Dublin, Ireland and not rating it as perfect. But, while this version may not have been the very best of the trip, the experience surrounding it certainly was. J.W. Sweetman is a must-see for any beer fan visiting Dublin. The brewery crafts an array of delectable Irish brews and there are few better places in the city to enjoy them. My recommendation would be to bring a good book and budget some extra time. This is a magical brewpub with the power of persuasion. ''Why yes, I think I will have another delicious brew overlooking the Liffey.''

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J.W. Sweetman Irish Red Ale by J.W. Sweetman Craft Brewery
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