So, I’m just going to put this straight out there – as a relatively snobby Brit abroad wild horses could not usually drag me into an Irish Pub. As much as I enjoy the odd Guinness, I prefer it slightly less well-travelled, and the unfortunate stereotype of my desperate fellow countrymen clamouring for a taste of home does tend to have me running in the opposite direction. Sean Patrick’s is a completely different kettle of fish. This is a dynamic, high-quality nano-brewery which had eleven of their own beers available at the time we visited, as well as a mighty 30 taps featuring an impressively well-curated range of local and national craft beers. To be honest, as a regular visitor to San Marcos, I feel bad that Sean Patrick’s has slipped under my radar for so long.
Sean Patrick’s serve their own beer in flights of four, which cost $12 if you include the specials, which I would strongly recommend. In an attempt at keeping slightly on the straight and narrow, ours ran the gamut from Grodziskie to Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout, and I’m happy to report that there wasn’t a dud amongst them. The Ghost Hits Grodziskie was crisp, fresh and clean, with not a hint of its 6.2% ABV on the palate, although it lacked any discernible smoke, which was a little disappointing. Always a good test of a brewery’s mettle, the Crystal Hop IPA was a lovely full, flavoursome West Coast style offering that I could easily have sunk a pint of, and probably will do next time. Then came the heavy hitters. The Finn’s Flash Barrel Aged Sour Red was deliciously tart and vinious, and highly moreish, and the Morrigan’s Trio Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout, highly ambitious at 14.6%, was a deep, dense delight. Blended in three barrels, the rich sweetly decedent, coffee-pecan favour was a perfect after-dinner treat. We also tried a little of the ‘Ello Puppet Porter and Bubba’s Brown Ale, which were both totally on point too. We were permitted a swift wander into the back room to see where the action happens and the kettles are indeed tiny, this is small-scale brewing to a very high standard, and these beers won’t be around for long.
The interior of Sean Patrick’s is much what you would expect from an Irish Pub, but the food menu is another welcome surprise. Traditional pub fare from both Texas and Ireland are given tasty twists, with unusual delicacies like Irish egg rolls and deep fried jalapenos. I had my first ever Irish Boxty, an amazing dish that resembles a burrito made out of potato. Yes, really. I now want one every day, which may become a problem. I also want more of the deep fried jalapenos, and more of the really excellent beer, once my inevitable hangover subsides, so I hope to be back at Sean Patrick’s very soon. It just goes to show, folks, that when we challenge our prejudices we are rewarded (ideally with great beer and food). A San Marcos craft beer highlight.