Mid-week tipple: a coffee porter and a Pinot Noir

Every week John Wilson finds a beer and a wine for you to try at home. This week No Joe Porter from O Brother Brewing in Wicklow and a Pinot Noir La Roncière 2014, Val de Loire

No Joe Porter, O Brother Brewing, Wicklow.


First there was Joe. Joe Coffee was a single batch porter that didn’t hold back on the coffee content. Unlike some of their rivals you could really taste the coffee. Great if you like espresso, but not if you drink latté. No Joe is the same beer but without the coffee. ‘It was conceived as a coffee porter,’ says Barry O’Neill of O Brother; ‘local roaster Coffee Mojo ground and brewed  68 litres of fresh coffee on site, which was added to the porter. We were tasting the beer all the way along and thinking this is realty nice even without the coffee. So this time, we did it without. It’s the one I bring home in the winter, ‘admits Barry,  ‘there is something warming about it. It is all sold now (all of their releases tend to be presold), but there is still plenty in the shops.’

As for O Brother, Barry says they are thriving; ‘We are out the door doing emergency bottling runs this week, trying to keep up with everything, the draft and bottles at the same time. We are going one and a quarter years, but it still feels like we are finding our feet; it will probably always be that way.’ For a porter No Joe still has plenty of body and alcohol (6.7%), with vanilla, chocolate and toasted malt with an attractive subtle bitter touch.


Pinot Noir La Roncière 2014, Val de Loire


Available from Whelehan’s Wines, Loughlinstown for €14.95

Pinot Noir is a difficult grape to grow and very few of the wines come cheap. Chile is the best source for less than €15, but over the last few years, I have come across a few very decent Pinots from France. This one comes from the Loire Valley and is made by one of the top Sancerre producers, André Vatan. He produces a little red Sancerre, but that will set you back €20 or more. I loved this wine, from vineyards just outside the Sancerre region. Light, floral and refreshing, with slightly earthy dark cherry fruits. Now that spring has arrived, you can serve this cool with cold meats, boiled ham, or with chicken dishes.