Friday, 20 February 2015

#257: Metal Can

Much of a hubbub was made of the first canned Irish craft beer on the market; for a long time, Metalman had been teasing the idea, whetting the appetite of those who have been enjoying cans from the likes of Founders, Brewdog and Beavertown for some time now. Not only are there the practical advantages (indulging incognito, easier to recycle, harder to break, completely light-proof, better for preserving freshness, stackable, etc.) but Metalman's entry bore special significance because it heralded the first time any of their delicious beers would appear in a take-home serving (not including the collaboration with Hardknott).

Thus, Metalman Pale Ale made a long-awaited return to my palate. It had been around a year since I'd had the draught version - a shame because of the quality of the beer but testament to the myriad of great Irish beers to be occupying yourself with these days - so comparing with the draught version would be very unfair.
That said, it surely isn't as good.

Pouring clear copper, it's almost devoid of any aroma at first. When it does eventually drum up the courage and warmth to be smelled, it is simply awash with caramel. For the first few sips everything is OK; fruity, not exactly bitter, but noticeably hop forward, as you'd find the draught version I'm sure. Malts overcome this before long, to an effect that is not exactly cloying but certainly too much to enjoy. If you're really looking, you might find some grapefruit and other miscellaneous citrus notes clinging to driftwood for dear life in a sea of caramel, roiling with the odd swell of toffee malt. Amazingly, the beer remains quite drinkable - quaffable even; the four cans I bought didn't last very long. All of this would be disappointing but ultimately fine if it wasn't for the fact that, rather inconveniently, there are just way too many better pale ales and IPAs on this island, and many at a better price point, for this can to eke out a living.

The very first run was by no means a disaster, but improvements will have to be made if Metalman Pale Ale cans are to match the brewer's own very high standards.

Also; Metalman, please can Windjammer.


  1. Professor Pie-Tin22 February 2015 at 08:47

    Not just can Windjammer.
    I've forgotten that last time I saw Windjammer in Cork.
    And it is FAR superior to their Pale Ale in every respect.

  2. No arguments here. I believe the last time I saw it was at last year's Easterfest. Gone be the days when it was €4.80 a pint in the Crane Lane.

  3. Professor Pie-Tin22 February 2015 at 11:56

    I'm non-plussed as to why they don't produce it.It was a firm favourite with everyone I know when it was around and far more palatable than dross like the dreadful Yerba they produced with Hardknott.
    They appear to like to experiment quite a lot but surely the way to get a firm foothold craft-wise in Ireland is to do what the FW do and produce a core range of beers consistently to build up a following.
    Rebel Red is is building up a real head of steam and appearing in pubs in my town which swore blind that Craft would never be a seller.

    1. I imagine Rebel Red's widespread presence in non-craft pubs has much more to do with the fact that it's in the MolsonCoors portfolio now. Those pubs are already getting stuff from Coors, so FW have a ready made access point. I certainly don't think its thanks to the quality of or demand for the beer in particular.