Beer of the week: Trouble Brewing Dark Arts

When we first walked in the door of L. Mulligan. Grocer. close on 8 months ago, we took a lot in; contorted beer mats, half-drunk pints on the bar, filthy over turned stools and a somewhat ‘earthy’ aroma, but we didn’t let that perturb us. We were able to see the beauty in the bar, the potential in the slowly and disturbingly sloped ceiling and the room for growth in the rubbish tip that was the smoking area, and so we signed for the pub. We have documented before the transformation of the pub over the subsequent weeks, and it was with nervous apprehension, akin to the arrival of a new-born, that we watched our very first beer tap go in: Trouble Brewing, Ór. Other taps have come and gone in the intervening days but I will always remember Ór as the beer that opened our place. It was the first beer ordered, paid for and drank in the pub (you know who you are) and is the beer of choice for many of the customers that have become regulars, and beer converts. When Stephen from Trouble Brewing told me they were brewing another beer, a seasonal special, it is understandable that I sacrificed *e**** ***o** to give them the elbowroom to broaden their range here. It was only a seasonal special though, so I wouldn’t be committing to losing a tap full-time. Or so I thought!

Dark Arts has been an extremely popular choice amongst the Mulligan’s faithful and rightly so. It’s a great beer. From where I stand, it pours beautifully, with a tornado like cascade, which starts out creamy white and settles to a very appealing ruby hue with an off white head that nearly looks like a perfectly executed Irish coffee, minus the whiskey lacing of course. Dark Arts sits at 4.4%, and drinks extremely smoothly. On the nose it has a wonderful nutty, cocoa and slight orange aroma to it. The body of the beer isn’t massively thick or creamy but I don’t feel it needs it as it has enough cocoa and nutty flavours going on to balance that out. It reminds me of chocolate bread and butter pudding with crème anglaise. I know it sounds crazy but the nutty, chocolate centre has an oaky, vanilla flavour that brings me back to the version of that dessert I had recently in Wolfe’s of Capel Street; decadent, rich, creamy and very moreish. There is a nice dry finish to the porter that accentuates the dry chocolate components in the porter, and leaves your mouth feeling nicely coated, and your palate sated.

Dark Arts is many a Mulligers' favoured after-shift beer these days. On days the three of us are here, after our shift, you will often find us at the end of the bar talking shop. We are coven-like in our hushed tones, and our all too familiar chant of “3 Dark Arts please” every 40 minutes or so. The excitement we felt that first day Steven came in to install the tap still resonates with this porter, and keeps us, and our customers, ordering and reordering with gusto.
Dark Arts: Part of the Permanent Collection at L. Muligan. Grocer.
€4.50 a delicious pint.
Also available at Glennons, Allenwood-the closest pub to Trouble H.Q.
Images by permission of Trouble Brewing.

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