Sunday, 18 May 2014

The Radisson Blu Hotel, Galway - Marinas Restaurant Review
Back in March me and my girlfriend ( were celebrating our 5 year anniversary and  wanted to do something a little special, so we decided to go on a long weekend away in Galway. 

We decided that we would stay in the Radisson Blu hotel. Firstly this is a gorgeous hotel in the heart of  Galway city and is only around a 5 minute walk to Eyre Square. While we were here we decided to go to their restaurant on the first night, the Marinas. The restaurant is beautifully laid out and the décor is modern and has a sophisticated feel to it.  

Now to the important and exciting bit, the food. The food was stunning and was well above my expectations. We went for their three course menu, which gave a varied selection of starters, mains and deserts all of which sounded gorgeous, (I kind of wanted them all !!!). 

I went for a smoked chicken salad to start with, this consisted of smoked chicken on a bed of shredded lettuce, with crispy Parma Ham on the top. This is a light starter, exactly what I would expect from a starter, just getting my taste buds ready for the main event. The portion that I got was also the perfect size, just enough to get me started. 

For my main I went for pan fried sea bass with slow roasted tomatoes, served with roasted new potatoes and roasted vegetables, with a roasted red pepper sauce. This was a really delicious main course. The fish was cooked perfectly, a crispy skin and soft flesh, this wasn't over cooked which I was really glad about as I really don’t like it when you go to a restaurant and pay quite a lot of money for a piece of fish that ends up being rubbery. 
The new potatoes and roasted veg that came with the fish were delicious, they had been cooked with garlic, rosemary and thyme, this brought a depth of flavour to them and made them really moreish, I personally could have eaten more of them, but that was just out of
The real surprising element that really brought the whole dish together was the slow roasted tomatoes that came on top of the fish. These were really soft and sweet and brought a slight sharpness to cut through the oily nature of the sea bass and roasted veg. These tomatoes really brought the whole dish together and without them, the dish wouldn't have been as satisfying or complete. 
The portion size was again perfect I was absolutely full by the end, but always have a little space for desert. I enjoyed the main so much that I have made my own version of it a few times since and it always goes down a treat. 

Finally I had desert, I went for a Bailey's cheesecake. The cheesecake came with a halved strawberry on the top and a caramel sauce. This was nice, it was nice and light, however my only criticism would be that it didn't pack that much flavour. If I'm going to have a Bailey's cheesecake, I kind of expect it to taste of Bailey's. The cheesecake was just lacking the depth of flavour I was hoping for, the texture on the other hand was perfect, soft and creamy with a nice crunchy base. The strawberries added a slight sharpness and contrast to the sweet cheesecake. 
The whole thing was brought together with a caramel sauce, which was needed as it brought in an additional flavour profile, but the desert could have been exceptional if the flavour was in the cheesecake itself. 

Overall the food in the Marinas restaurant was exceptional and far above what I expected to receive in a hotel restaurant. The presentation of all the dishes was great as can be seen from the photographs.  
I really enjoyed my stay with the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway and would really recommend it. If you are looking for a hotel in the center of Galway, with approachable staff, great standard of rooms and good food then this really is the place for you. 

Here is a breakdown of my review of the food at the Radisson Blu Galway, Marinas Restaurant.

Presentation: 8
Flavour: 7
Balanced Course: 8
Value for money: 8
Overall Score: 31 out of 40
Presentation: 9
Flavour: 9
Balanced Course: 10
Value for money: 9
Overall Score: 37 out of 40

Presentation: 9
Flavour: 6
Balanced Course: 6
Value for money: 7
Overall Score: 28 out of 40
Meal as a whole
Presentation: 26
Flavour: 22
Balanced Course: 24
Value for money: 24
Overall Score: 96 out of 120

I am always on the lookout for great food and great beer, so if you know of anywhere that you recommend I should give a review of or if you are a bar or restaurant that would like me to do a review and post of your bar and restaurant please get in touch.

You can get in touch via Twitter @GenuineBeerBlog, Facebook, Google+ or drop me an email at 

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Sunday, 11 May 2014

The Evolution of Beer Drinking

In modern life we don’t really think about the things we do as much as the past, but sometimes it’s good to know how things were in order to get to this point. We take a lot for granted and one thing that I never really thought about when enjoying a nice cold pint, is the glass in which my beer is served. Throughout the world there are many different accounts of when beer production began and included in this would be the way in which it was served. In modern life we are all used to the pint glass, but how did we get to the pint glass and why are there so many different variations of glass to enjoy your beverage in?

Back in ancient Greece the Greeks were renowned for drinking three main things, wine, beer and honey mead, early documenting has shown that they used to use cups known as Kylix. These were ceramic cups that would have something painted on the bottom, this could be of a humorous nature or a sexual nature, but would only reveal itself the closer the drinker got to the bottom. This ceramic cup was one of the earliest forms of “pint glass” that we know of, there were examples going back before then which would have been a similar design and material.

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In ancient Ireland there are documented examples of early drinking vessels being made of wood and stone. These would have been used as a way to drink any liquid but this would have included beer. There are also examples of horns being used as drinking vessels for beer. The horn would have come from a bullock and would have been made at home. These would have been hollowed out and heavily decorated and used to drink beer from. This would also have been a popular drinking method for the Vikings.

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Going from ancient drinking methods to modern seems like a huge jump, however there was a defining moment when the way in which we drink beer was to change. In the past the way in which we drank beer was more about something that would hold liquid, rather than the vessel having a purpose. There was a point when drinking establishments would change from the dark, dreary places to a more bright and inviting place to go. This in turn meant that people would pay more close attention to what they were drinking and the clarity of the beer that they were consuming.

One progression from the ceramic cups was the pewter tankards that were used in most pubs. This would be a handy way to serve up beer in a measurable fashion, however it got to a stage when people wanted to be able to see what they were drinking and so the pewter tankards were to be replaced with the modern glass.

When glass was introduced there wasn't a call for different designs, it just had to be practical and hold a measurable amount of beer. In around 1928 the 10 sided beer glass was introduced that would be used by many drinking establishments, this particular style of glass was also used in the “Beer is Best” advertising campaign by the Brewers Society in the 1930’s. This glass would then be replaced by the dimple glass that many would attribute mild ales to be drank from. At this point there was still no real thought to why a glass was shaped in a particular way, however this was all to change.

When more beer varieties came on the scene, specially designed glasses were being made for them. An example of this would be Weisse beers, these are usually served in a tall, thin glass with a ballooned top. The general idea behind this is the sediment will be left at the bottom of the glass when the beer is being drank. There are so many varieties of beer glass out there now here is a list of just a few.

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In different parts of the world different glasses also tend to be used. In Belgium there tends to be a different glass dependant on the beer in which you are drinking, some to keep in the carbonation, others to stop sediment. There are also other variations of glasses in other countries that are  little more novel, like the beer boot of Germany and the Yard glass in the United Kingdom.      

There is also a need now in modern times for us to be able to get ready access to pint glasses that are made from plastic as sometimes glass is not appropriate. These are usually just a plain pint glass, however they are extremely useful and something that wasn't always available. Somewhere where you can get easy access to plastic pint cups and order in bulk would be on Viking directs website, where you can order in bulk for an upcoming event, their website is easy to use and they have a great selection on there. The link to their site can be found below, check them out if you’re in need of some plastic pint cups.

From wood and ceramic, to pewter and horn, to glass and plastic, the ways in which we enjoy our beer has changed throughout time and history, however one thing is evident and that is that beer is still as popular as ever and ever growing. With more beer styles coming in and craft beer on the rise, there will sure to be an increase in the ways in which we consume our beer, bringing new technology to the way in which we enjoy it. 

I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for the humble pint glass.

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