200 miles from home to hotel, in torrential rain on a motorbike, I was more than ready for a pint after parking up at our accommodation in Westport, County Mayo. For a small seaside town it has an impressive selection of Irish draught and bottled microbrewery beers in pubs as well as a superb offering in the local Supervalu supermarket.
We stayed in the very welcoming Wyatt Hotel in the town centre and while my fellow biking buddies got wired into the obligatory Coors Lite at the hotel’s Cobbler’s bar, my first swally of the evening came from Oileán Éadaigh West Mayo brewery and a pint of Clew Bay Sunset. A lovely deep berry and caramel combo – shove yer Coors thanks.
The hotel had pumps for West Mayo and Reel Deel as well as a load of bottles from Mescan. Its Westport Extra is superb and bonus points to the barmaid for informing me it was 9.3% ABV. Peach, mango and passion fruit come through so strongly on this one. I did mean to go back to another one later in the evening but forgot!
Next was a purchase from the aforementioned Supervalu, Little Bangin’ IPA, little bro or sis of McGargles Big Bangin’. I’d been looking forward to this for a while as it’s not widely available in Northern Ireland and I was not disappointed. Light and with a very subtle pineapple edge to it (yeah I couldn’t believe it either) – at 3.8% ABV this is a delightful session beer and joins Whiplash’s Rollover and Galway Bay’s Croozer in the “Top notch sessioner” category.
Heading into town after a great Indian/Nepalese meal at The Everest (converted churches that sell curry and red wine are always on to a winner) we stopped at The Porter House bar. With the same West Mayo draught and Mescan bottle options as my hotel, I opted for the 5% ABV Westporter Stout. Have to say I wasn’t impressed – leaping out of the bottle and quite thin, tasteless and overly dry.
Next door to The Porter House is Matt Molloy’s where I was excited to find a new discovery, Achill Brewery. As it was 11pm on a Friday night, the pub was packed and it wasn’t the time to ask the bar staff about the beer. “Pint of Achill please” were the only words said. A bit of investigation later and I presume this was the Sláinte golden ale. I can only imagine this is aimed at the lager drinkers, again I wasn’t feeling the love. A touch of lemon in there but not much else unfortunately. Shame, as I really wanted to like this.
On the earlier issue of the town’s Supervalu, I wish I’d taken a photo of the beer walls. They got this fella a little giddy. Being on the bike, I couldn’t lift a caseful to bring home as I’d room for only four bottles in my luggage. So instead of a photo of the walls of beer you’ll have to make do with one of what I brought home.
And the Himalayan lamb curry with garlic naan was sublime.
Sláinte Westport agus Mayo.