A good Irish boy like myself couldn’t resist those magic first two letters on the sign of McIntyre’s Pub hanging high above the doors.
Located in the K-Mart/Toms River Fitness plaza and touting itself as both an Irish Pub and a Sports Bar, it was right up my alley in location and in description.
I found myself agreeing with this description and I enjoy spending my time and money within its walls. It is actually two bars in one, with the Sports Bar up front and the Irish Pub in the back. The sight lines are excellent in the Sports Bar with 16 Flat Screen TVs and one of the largest bars in area the town has to offer.
In the Pub section, there are TVs also, but the focus of the entertainment is the live musical acts that appear almost nightly on the stage. My personal favorite night back in the ol’ pub is their weekly Thursday Night Original Music Showcase that features local bands performing their own musical creations.
I do not deny that there are some really fun and talented cover bands out there that I enjoy listening to, but I will always give the edge to an artist displaying their talents with their own material and taking a real risk by putting their labors of love out for the public to hear. There have been other pieces on this website about , most notably Frank Clark’s excellent review of the place, so I won’t say too much more about the establishment itself, except that I enjoy it and recommend it to most anyone.
I mentioned above that there is a risk when performing original music in public. In my last column, I the dividends I was paid when I took the risk of trying out for the first time. I knew little to nothing about the place but after I went in and sat down, I quickly knew that I was going to be adding to my repertoire of local hangouts. Taking risks is a general theme in life and also experiencing the world. Being as though I spend a good amount of my life examining the world through the bottom of a pint glass, I find risk applies to this world of unconventional beers I have been inviting you to join me in as a reader of
At McIntyre’s, I was greeted at the front door with a sign that said “Palm: Belgium’s #1 Ale now available on tap!” Sign: 1 My Brain: 0. I have heard of Palm and heard some good things so I decided, along with my research partners on this trip Guy and Bologna, that we were sufficiently interested and that this was something different enough to try out for the column.
A good bar that is going out on a limb is often proud of their selection and will let their clientele know when something new is available, so be sure to look out for signs on the door or on the walls. McIntyre’s does this and proudly displays their other different choices like Shock Top Raspberry, Murphy’s Red and Stout, and Leinenkugel’s Summer Shanty to name a few.
We ordered our Palms and the first thing we noticed was the presentation. It was served in a large Beer Snifter glass and had a nice amber color with a light tan head. I was impressed enough with the initial presentation to take a picture to include here.
The level of sweetness and malty flavor that was present surprised me, and it was far less hoppy then other Belgian Ales I have had. Guy agreed that it was unlike other Belgian Ales he’s had before. He noted that with other Belgian’s, he’s enjoyed how many different flavors you can get in one glass from the initial taste to the finish and this one was not dynamic. When asked for his opinion and thoughts, Bologna unleashed “It’s light. I like it. It’s pretty good.” He’s not the best color man in the business for nothing, folks.
I could picture this being a nice choice for the summer because the sweetness and low carbonation found was refreshing. Those two elements also did a nice job countering that this was a 5.4 percent ABV beverage. Having said that, the 3 of us did not necessarily want to order another one. Guy summed up the consensus when he said, “I’m glad I tried it, but I definitely don’t want another one.”
A wise man once told me “They can’t all be Gems, some are just rocks.” When it comes to trying out beer that you have never heard of but are intrigued by, they can’t all be gems. However, like any other sensory experience, it is all up to the beholder. My preferences will no doubt be different then yours so find out for yourselves. On the risk vs. reward scale, trying out a new beer has much more potential for reward. If you’re trying out a new dish at a restaurant and it turns out to be terrible, you’re stuck with that as your meal. If you’re trying a new beer and it’s not good, the financial investment was minimal and you can always go back to something more familiar. The Gems are true rewards, but it’s no big loss to throw away the rocks.