Saturday, May 7, 2011

April Beer Post - I know its actually May but most of these beers were drank in April.

I was in the porterhouse with some lads I went to college with last night. Against my better judgement I started tasting some beers and while I enjoyed the beers I am paying for it today. All of this reminded me that I haven't done a post in a while!
(I also believe they may be as well!)
Goose Island, India Pale Ale

As a rule I'm not a big fan of IPA's because of the bitter taste but this one was suprisingly tolerable!

I can't describe the colour because I didn't get a glass ( a mortal sin I know!) but the flavour was slightly caramel and orange rind with a mildly malty after taste. I'd definetly recommend this to other people who aren't fans of IPA. According to the beer advocate there are hints of pine but I didn't get these! At 5.9% its certain to give you that happy feeling!

Paulaner Salvator
I had never seen or heard of this till I saw it in the fridge in "against the grain" on Camden St. Clearly a dark beer rich in flavour, its actually a double bock ( stronger version of single bock which is itself a strong sweet malty beer). It loves up to its taste as a lovely malty finish deep. Strong bread like smell with a sweet slightly fruity finish. at 7.9% this was the strongest of the beers taht was tasted in Against the Grain

Triple Karmeliet

I tasted this at a Trappist beer night arrenged by the porterhouse north. I can't remember the name of the guy running the event but he had tremendous knowlegde of his subject.
Triple Karmeliet pour slightly cloudy into the glass with very little head. The aroma was immediately coriander with a hint of caramel and a vague nutty scent and the flavour was all of the above. The taste was a bit hoppy for my liking but certainly a beer to taste, almost like a desert wine. 8.4% gives it a good kick!

Metalman IPA
Metalman has been causign a stir in the Irish craft brewing community over the last few months to the point where you have to dash to a pub when you hear its on tap to try and get a taste! Metalman are basedin Waterford and seem to release batches of their beers on draft only.
The colour is blonde but with a hint of red (i'm colour blind so don't trust this description) As with all IPA's its bitter but with a smoothness I have only seen matched by Goose Island above. The taste is caramel (again!) and honey, but the scent is more about the hops.

Trouble Or
The final beer I am blogging about is Trouble Or. I was lucky enough to taste this just after the keg was opened in the Bull and castle. Its brewed by Trouble Brewing, another addition to the growing army of Irish Craft Brewers.
I'm a bit stumped as to how to describe this. Their spiel is:
"A smooth, refreshing golden ale that is full-bodied and has a distinctive hop flavour.
Brewed using the best two-row Maris Otter pale malt interwoven with a complimentary selection of speciality malt for a robust taste. It is hopped with a combination of traditional English and modern American hops, to produce a beer with subtle fruit flavours and a crisp, lingering finish."

What I tasted was slightly different. I'd definetly agree with the malty falvour but it seemed uncarbonated to me. The colour was golden but slightly cloudy while the flavour was honey, like Fullers Honey Dew. The smell was of grain as well. I'm not certain if this is supposed to be the way it should taste or if it was too young or had not come out right, but I quite enjoyed it. I think the only way is to try it again :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The problem of education

I've been thinking about the problem of the teaching profession in Ireland because of all the teachers union conferences recently.
I'm not going to pretend to understand the full career requirements or motivations of people to choose teaching over another profession; but I think that it is an important area of ambiguity that needs to be addressed.

From my point of view the benefits and positives of being a teacher are:
  •     Stable employment once your are taken on full time
  •     Opportunity to work with young people
  •     Opportunity to shape and direct young adults
  •     Able  to focus on a subject that you have some interest in
  •     Long holidays
  •     Tenure (where you are full time)
The negatives (for me) would be:
  •     Putting up with disruptive kids
  •     Repetitive nature of the material
  •     Lack of direction in terms of career development.
I want to focus on the last one for the moment as its probably the one I know least about.
How does a teacher progress? I assume that you start off on an entry grade and over time maybe you teach higher level classes, or more subjects or become year heads. Maybe the ultimate objective is to become principle or vice principal? (Feel free to enlighten me, I really know nothing about this topic!)

In my line of business I advance by going for roles with more responsibility or I move into roles that I feel can benefit from my experience plus give me knew understanding. In theory I can indefinetly move diagonally upwards. to my mind there is effectively a cap on how much authority you can achieve as a teacher.

How do you get salary rises? If your salary is linked to the number of students you teach, or the number of classes you take then you might be able to cheat the system by offering your services and targetting those classes and subjects that are in demand at that time. However this reflects nothing of your achievements. Good exam grades might be a start but only exam year teachers could be assessed. Non-standardised end of year exams can be easily gamed to produce lots of good results; Cross-marking and exam setting have the same vulnerability. Obviously a class full of A's isn't likely so the bell curve can be used to detect cheating in that way, but in effect it pre-determines performance and therefore remuneration?
If anyone wants to explain to me how the Irish system works!