Beer - and whiskey - pairing at L Mulligan Grocer
When I was in Dublin a few weeks ago I ate at a pub called L Mulligan Grocer which had been recommended on Twitter by a number of locals. I expected it to be a great hangout - most Dublin pubs are - but not that it would have a strikingly original approach to food and drink pairing
All Mulligan’s starters and main course dishes - which are unusually good for a pub, by the way - are matched with one of their beers. The Goats Bridge Trout Tartare with samphire and fennel salad for example was perfectly paired with a wheat beer, the Brown Paper Bag Project’s Doxie (Brown Paper Bag is a collaborative project between L Mulligan’s owners and various Irish and English craft breweries) while a Ballinwillin Wild Boar Braise with ‘carrotlettes’, brussel sprout leaves and parsnip crisps was partnered with the BPBP’s Oxman a dark, almost stout-like brown ale. If that sounds as if they only promote their own brews - they don’t. There are beers from all over: England, Scotland, Belgium, Germany and the US including about 20 on draught. You just have to ask a “Mulliger” or “Mulligette” (i.e. a server) if you want a cask tasting flight.
There’s a nice larkiness about the place that stops it being twee. The beer list for example kicks off like this: “Organising our beer list: a controversial subject. After much deliberation, countless straw polls, a hastily organised caucus and the penning of several haunting protest songs we decided to group our beer collection into broad style categories. These are not designed to be compliant with the BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) style guidelines but an indication of the style you can expect, interspersed with occasional tasting notes and anecdotes of questionable veracity.”
As if this weren’t enough entertainment (Mulligan’s is the perfect place to drink on your own - the staff are so nice and there’s so much going on) their desserts are all paired with a whiskey from the brilliant whiskey list. Sample headings: Rainy Day whiskies (of which there must be a fair few in Dublin), Murmurs of Spring, Whiskeys to save your Shillings for and Perfect Nightcaps “a hug to finish the evening". My Blood Orange and Chocolate - candied blood orange, double chocolate shortcake, dark chocolate ice cream and salt caramel) and Highland Park 12 was my match of the week a few weeks back.
Although it’s slightly off the main drag to the north of the Liffey (in Stoneybatter) Mulligans ticks all the boxes. It’s warm and welcoming, has great drinks, presents them with gentle humour and pairs them brilliantly with food. Food for thought, maybe, if you're running a pub and if you’re off to Dublin, be sure to go!
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