The Brew Pubs of Dublin: The Porterhouse vs. J.W. Sweetman

Wrapping my beer tour of Dublin where I’ve written about the old historic pubs and then the new craft beer bars, it’s time to go over the brew pubs. If you can stand up straight after visiting the other ones, you have two to choose from in Dublin within a ten minute along the river.

The Porterhouse on Parliament St. is a small chain of brew pubs  — six in Ireland (4 in Dublin), one in London and one satellite at Fraunces Tavern in New York City. Their Temple Bar location in Dublin has a sort industrial, steampunk meets library in a football pub setting. The TVs in some pubs are frowned upon by the local old timers, but they bring in the punters and tourists looking to watch the matches. The layout is a little funky with two back areas away from the noisy center bar and an upstairs areas that overlooks the whole place.

Like the Galway Bay Brewing-owned pubs, the Porterhouse has an extensive selection of their own beers along with guest breweries. Even though most Irish people order full pints, I went with the half pints so I can sample them all and keep up some appearance of decency.

Here’s what I had:

  • Wrasslers XXXX Irish Stout
  • Kölsch
  • Chiller Lager
  • Irish Red Ale

JWSweetman

J.W. Sweetman lays claim to be the lone micro-brewery in Dublin proper. I would add that it’s also the most dimly lit pub in Dublin. Flowing beer and dark spaces can make for some dangerous situations. I was there on a rawkus Saturday night where I ran into several “hen” parties, a.k.a. bachelorette parties.

The pub is spread out over three floors with a basement space, thus you have 4 bars to choose from. Even with all that space, it was tough to find a place to sit or stand. Interacting with others became a shouting match.

From what I can see, there was plenty of stuff on the walls to gaze out. I remember on the stairs they displayed antiques with signs over them saying, “Please Don’t Touch.” Yeah, they are just asking for trouble.

Both of these places, I didn’t have food. Beer wise, The Porterhouse takes the crown — more experimental and distinct. J.W. Sweetman’s beers didn’t speak to me, a little watery for my taste and a but bland. Reading recent news, they’ve upped their brew game a bit from two years ago. Thus, will check out again.

Here’s what I had:

  • Pale Ale
  • Red Ale
  • Porter

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