Restaurant Review: Rascals’ Taproom & Pizzeria

Restaurant Review: Rascals’ Taproom & Pizzeria

Rascals’ Taproom & Pizzeria, Goldenbridge Estate, Tyrconnell Rd, Inchicore, Dublin 8

Tel: 01-5382951 www.rascalsbrewing.com

The financial crash of 2008 could never be called a good thing, but one positive that resulted was a number of young Irish people creating their own food and drink businesses.

The boom in craft distilleries and breweries has been a delight to witness and to write about, but it has not been easy for the brewers given the vicious competition from the big boys who have done everything they can to shut them out. A number of pubs that once supported the micro brewers have now ditched them, thanks I suspect to incentives from Macros. These pubs no longer have my custom.

Thanks to changes in legislation however the micro-brewers are starting to fight back. Taprooms next to breweries are popping up all over the country and many are now serving food (usually pizza). Cork citizens saw this early with Franciscan Well, Dead Centre Brewing in Athlone opened earlier this year and can boast wonderful views of the River Shannon and Rascals are now open over a year.

Rascals’ Taproom-Pizzeria is in the centre of Inchicore, just a few minutes from the Luas line — you won’t miss it given the vivid turquoise paint job that matches their Yankee White IPA cans. Rascals have fully integrated themselves into Inchicore and have even linked up with local League of Ireland Team St Patrick’s Athletic whose home ground is just a few minutes away.

The Taproom is a large open space with a view of the rather impressive brewery at the back of the room, they offer brewery tours and it is the perfect space for Christmas or birthday parties. There are regular tables suitable for groups or couples and comfy couches for lounging if you need to relax. We visited on a Sunday and the music had a chilled retro vibe ranging from John Lee Hooker to Booker T and the MG’s to Edwyn Collins.

All the Rascals’ core range is available on tap with a rotating selection exclusive to the Taproom. We ordered a tasting tray and our favourite was a tie between the Cherry Dubbel Black IPA (6.1% abv) — with its intriguing bitter cherry character, and the Cereal Killer ‘oatmeal-granola’ Stout — a creamy smooth nitro-stout with vanilla aromas and a nutty richness.

We tried four other beers and all were excellent — the Supersplit Orange Milkshake IPA tasting of childhood summers and the Happy Days Session Pale Ale a perfect foil for my spicy pizza.

Besides their own beers there is a small selection from other breweries (e.g. Black’s Kinsale), gluten free options, McIvors Cider, Keffir and a selection of well chosen wines from Wines Direct.

The pizza oven was imported from Italy and is wood-fired normally but due to a busy Saturday they were low on wood on the Sunday we visited so they were using the gas jets. Surprisingly this made little difference as the bases had excellent charring and bubbling so the oven was clearly at the correct temperature.

We began with garlic flatbread with sun-dried tomato pesto (€6.50), and Bruschetta with tomato, garlic and balsamic cream (€7). These were simply thin cooked pizza bases with toppings, but thanks to the bubbly crisp base they worked well and we didn’t feel cheated. From the choice of eight pizzas we chose three and all worked thanks to the (all important) base being allowed to shine, and well-thought-out flavour combinations that didn’t overwhelm.

The ‘Blue Belle’ (€15) was the winner — Mozzarella, Pear, Cashel Blue Cheese, Candied Walnuts and Rocket — tangy, salty, peppery and the sweet elements carefully balanced. ‘Meat Me in Inchicore’ (€14) had pepperoni, Gubbeen Chorizo, peppers and Jalapeños and ‘Here Comes the Hot Stepper’ had Mozzarella, Nduja, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, Kale and Chilli Oil’ — both tasty and moreish although the Kale didn’t quite work for me — it rarely does.

On the dessert front the winner was a wonderfully gooey and sticky Chocolate Brownie made with Cereal Killer Stout. Eton Mess was a generous portion of mini meringues with raspberry coulis, strawberries and edible flowers, I prefer a stickier softer meringue. This was a solid effort.

So support your local brewery — lucky Inchicore won’t need to be told twice.

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