Saturday, February 21, 2009

We're New - And We've Brought Our Own Beer

As far as beer experiences go, a lot of Irish pubs can be letdowns. Sure, they have Harp and Bass on tap (right next to Bud and Miller). And, yeah, the menu will be loaded with all of the different crazy ways you can mix Guinness with other beers (I once combined Ireland's finest brew with a PBR, but that's a story for another time). But generally the taps and menus don't change from pub to pub.

Going to Katie Mullen's, the new Irish pub on Denver's 16th Street Mall, is more fulfilling than visits to most of its genre, however. First, the place is so big it actually has four separate full-length bars, meaning the large crowds that have populated it since Monday's opening seem a little less menacing. And after sampling a few of the menu items, you'll find something that's right there for you - and that is tasty.

From the beer perspective, though, the menu is fairly lengthy and includes both a couple of Colorado microbrews and some favorites from other European countries. There aren't a lot of other Irish pubs that have Hoegaarden on tap, for example.

My favorite touch, though, was Katie Mullen's Lager. It's an amber-style lager brewed for the bar by Steamworks Brewing Co. that has just enough malt backbone to stand up to the darker beers around it and to the boxties or shepherd's pies with which you will be enjoying it. Bars and restaurants that have a brewery create their own beer for them show they want to be unique; Katie Mullen's Lager is tasty, smooth and slightly chewy all at the same time. Slainte!

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