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Inside Scoop: Rascals Pick Their Favourite Beers

Words: George Voronov
Imagery: Rascals Brewing Co.

What we learned when we first started working on CHAR is that there is nothing quite as engaging as letting someone who is obsessed with their craft talk about it in minute detail. Whether it’s wine heads deliberating the pros and cons of leaving the skin on the grape or barbecue freaks showing off their DIY smoking contraptions, we love to hear it. Inside Scoop is a series in which we talk to the purveyors of our favourite gargle to find out about their hidden gems and learn more about the creative process that goes into making the best booze. 

Ireland has seen somewhat of a craft beer boom in the last few years. A multitude of microbreweries have been popping up all over the country ranging from underground operations run out of sheds to to the bigger fish with their eyes set on a more commercial product. One of our all-time favourites are home-town heroes, Rascals Brewing Co. The Rascals family have been a mainstay of Dublin’s Inchicore for years. Since their inception they’ve garnered a name for a range of quality core beers and some banging off-kilter inventions such as the Raspberry Dublinerweisse. I remember having a pint of their Rascals Red when they first started supplying the old Bernard Shaw (RIP) and never really looking back. Fast forward a number of years and their Yankee IPA became a trusty companion, helping me float through hazy lockdown evenings. 

As a relative novice when it comes to the world of craft beer, there are two things that stick out to me in particular. If anyone has ever had the pleasure of talking to a real beer aficionado, they would have probably come to understand that beyond the relatively simple beers enjoyed by us mere mortals, the lagers, the IPAs, the stouts, there lies a psychedelic wonderland of mind-boggling concoctions. There’s people using lactose to create “milkshake beers” and others are ageing their beers in different types of barrels to subtly alter the character of their beer with notes of whiskey or madeira for example. This extremely niche culture of hype limited edition beers is something that we were keen to hear about directly from the horse’s mouth. 

The second thing that has been talked about more and more is the idea of a food and beer pairing. Maybe this is something that’s slightly more divisive, you might think it’s a bit try-hard, it’s just beer after all. Honestly though, I think it makes sense. Especially now that we have evolved from light-beer drinking troglodytes to enlightened consumers of hoppy, flavour-forward beer it seems to follow that we should probably take at least a second to consider what food we eat with it. At the very least it certainly couldn’t hurt, why not make the most of both food and beverage?

To get a better understanding about their creative process, we spoke with members of the Rascals team to hear about their favourite brews and food pairings. Slainte!

Joe Donnelly, Marketing Manager

Favourite Rascals core beer:
Wunderbar IPA. It’s an absolute banger. You won’t find a nicer IPA out there, certainly not at the same value for money. It’s a 6% beer, it’s not too bitter and it has a lovely fruity hop profile thanks to all-German hops. It’s a consistently good IPA, solid and dependable like a 1980s Mercedes W123 E-Class. If this beer was a German footballer it would be Lothar Matthäus. 

Favourite limited edition Rascals beer:
Froots & The Maytals milkshake pale ale. For some reason the addition of lactose (milk sugar) in beers is a divisive issue in the craft beer world. These beers are often referred to as milkshake beers. There are those who feel the same level of hatred towards lactose as people who dislike pineapple on pizza. I don’t get it. Anyway, this is a champion beer. It has a really smooth mouthfeel and full body, but it’s the mango and passion fruit flavours which really elevate it. I also just love the name and label design. We need to make some t-shirts for this beer. We’ve re-released it once already and I’d say it’ll come back again.

Food pairing:

Buttermilk chicken from Guy Sinnott’s Instagram. He’s got some amazing recipes and this one is class and really simple.

Emma Devlin, General Manager

Favourite Rascals core beer:
Happy Days session pale ale. It’s one of our most popular beers and it’s easy to see why. You can’t beat it for a really top quality sessionable beer.

Favourite limited edition Rascals beer:
Raspberry Dublinerweisse. We took the Berliner Weisse style and gave it a bit of a twist. It’s a sour ale with a cloudy complexion and a big fruit hit as well. The lactose provides a creamy sweetness. It was a massive hit over the summer of 2019, back when we had normal lives and went to beer festivals and such.

Food Pairing:

Any Rascals beer-battered fish, served with chips. We’ve a recipe on our website for a batter made with our Hazy Days session IPA. It’s class.

Cathal O’Donoghue, Chief Brewer

Favourite Rascals core beer:
The Happy Days session pale ale. It’s a winner.

Favourite limited edition Rascals beer:
The Big Smoke imperial stout. We’re really proud of that one and it’s a tremendous stout. The flavour is rich and smoky, with subtle hints of chocolate & vanilla, underlined by a gently warming bourbon taste. We collaborated with The Dubliner Irish Whiskey and aged the stout in whiskey barrels. But the smoothness of this beer was something else. It really hit you halfway through your first can; there was a moment when you actually stopped and thought: ‘Wow this is one hell of a beer’.

Food pairing:

I really got into barbecuing this summer and I absolutely love a smoked pulled pork joint, cooked low and slow.

Ger Callinan, Sales Manager

Favourite Rascals core beer:
Yankee White IPA. It’s one of our best-sellers and it’s definitely one of the tastiest. It’s a really zesty and refreshing beer with a unique taste because of the two styles we bring together for the beer; the American pale ale and the Belgian Witbier.

Favourite limited edition beer:
The Big Smoke imperial stout. An amazing beer that we’ll have to bring back at some point. Even just for the can design which is pretty outstanding you’d have to admit.

Food Pairing:

Pizza. Always pizza.

Steve Doherty, Brewer

Favourite Rascals core beer:
Happy Days session pale ale. Refreshing any time of the year, and almost any time of the day. Not breakfast, obviously. Unless you’re a shift worker and it’s your equivalent of an
after-work pint.

Favourite limited edition Rascals beer:
The 9 New England DIPA. It’s a big beer packed with flavour. It was part of a series of New England IPAs we did called the 7, the 5 and the 9 – each number representing the ABV. They were all lovely beers but the 9 was my top one. We used cryo hops to really up the intensity of the hop experience.

Food pairing:

I will have to go for the classic of fish and chips with our own Jailbreak Helles lager.