geoparks on the island of Ireland and both of them feature on my very favourite places to go list but for very different reasons. Marble Arch Caves in County Fermanagh is a place I've been to so many times I've lost count. The caves extend far beyond the show cave and exploring them is a lot of fun. I particularly love Cascades cave with it's entrance maze leading to large river passages filled with decorations. It's a whole other world. You can read about Artur's cave diving exploits in the area over at his blog Hell and High Water, he's a bona fide explorer.
The Copper Coast, Irelands other geopark is down south near Dungarvan, County Waterford. I love the Copper Coast though I don't have a photo of anywhere in the area. Maybe its because I don't want to show anyone the place as it will ruin the most wonderful feature of the place which is the splendid isolation. When I worked shifts in Kilkenny I'd have days off midweek and I'd go to Annestown beach and fly my kite with the whole beach to myself. To me the Copper Coast conjures up images of beautiful deserted beaches with wonderful rock formations. When I heard Dungarvan Brewing Company had named their red ale Copper Coast I smiled at the perfect name.
So to the beer at last, it pours a coppery brown colour with a nice cream head. It has a slightly yeasty caramel nose. It tastes of chocolate caramel with what tastes like a small amount of roast barley rounding it off. There's a nice bit of a hop bite which is great to find in a red ale. All too often red ales are far too much on the malty side of the equation so this is great to find. Though this is mostly a malt driven beer and it's nice and robust and not thin at all, another fault I find in many red ales. I loved the nice blurry carbonation which didn't ruin the beer by being too fizzy.
This is a beer for drinking with a nice hearty dinner, like a stew, pie or duck. This beer will go with any kind of roasted meat as the caramel flavours in both will complement each other. Of course you could always drink it sitting on your favourite deserted beach watching the sun set.
The music I'd set this beer to is something that I always used to listen to while driving around the Copper Coast on a sunny day, Four Tet's album Rounds. I'd liken it to the track 'As Serious as your Life' as it's laid back, complex and a bit sweet like this beer. And no I'm not going to even try to explain how I match beer and music...