BEERISTA SOR­CHA HAMIL­TON

The Irish Times Magazine - - DRINK - @ ITbeerista beerista@ irish­times. com

The great can come­back just keeps on go­ing. They’re start­ing to out­num­ber bot­tles on many shelves now, while one Dublin city cen­tre off- li­cence is pretty much can- only when it comes to craft beer.

Tucked away off Grafton Street, you could be for­given for not know­ing about Stephen Street News. But at the back of this small newsagent you’ll find a lovely dis­play: 56 dif­fer­ent craft beers to be ex­act, and that’ll be closer to 100 once their new fridge ar­rives.

Cans are be­com­ing re­ally pop­u­lar, says a spokesman for the in­de­pen­dent off- li­cence, which has been open for two years. For peo­ple on their way home, cy­cling or get­ting on the Luas, they’re lighter to carry than bot­tles, he says. And be­cause they’re tight for space in the shop, stock­ing cans also makes more sense be­cause they’re eas­ier for stack­ing and keep­ing re­frig­er­ated. “We’re now fo­cus­ing on be­ing 95 to 98 per cent cans.”

Most peo­ple com­ing into the shop to buy craft beer usu­ally get a few from dif­fer­ent brew­eries. “Our cus­tomers sup­port the craft beer in­dus­try,” he says. “Any­thing that’s new they’re will­ing to try.”

There will be a des­ig­nated space in the new fridge for the taller 440ml cans, which also seem to be catch­ing on, with some mi­cro­brew­eries switch­ing their core ranges to the big­ger size. 8 De­grees’ Ci­tra IPA is tast­ing and look­ing good in its new brightly coloured can. This is a sin­gle hop beer, with loads of juicy trop­i­cal fruit and a solid bit­ter fin­ish, at 5.7 per cent. Also worth check­ing out is Trou­ble Brew­ing’s Silk Road, a sai­son with a clean body and lovely dry fin­ish.

The pop­u­lar­ity of cans is also up­ping the game in terms of de­sign and graph­ics – and the se­lec­tion in Stephen Street News is def­i­nitely worth a look, or a bit of “beer- gaz­ing”, next time you’re nearby.

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