The Revenge of the Pikemen!

Mural in The Slieve Bloom, Kinnitty

So, it turns out, the guy that built Kinnitty Castle wasn’t a nice dude. But this isn’t a history blog so I’ll let you do your own research. We went for a walk around Glenbarrow in the Slieve Bloom mountains today and I decided that we’d stop by the new brewery in Kinnitty on our way home.

Pikeman Red Ale in The Slieve Bloom

Kieran the proprietor gave me a great welcome and a tasty of their nice, malty Red Ale. He told me it was very popular with the locals and as he said it two mature gentlemen came up to the bar and called a pair of pints as if to prove his point!

With Alistair the brewer at Slieve Bloom

Kieran then brought me out to the back of the pub where they have a tidy brewing set up. Alistair, the brewer is one of only a small handful in Ireland that has studied at Heriot-Watt. And he is clearly dedicated to the cause, brewing on a Sunday afternoon.

Home grown hops in The Slieve Bloom

They have grown a small amount of hops in their garden and hope to use them in a future brew. I invited the lads to this year’s Midlands Craft Beer Festival and they said they’ll have a few brews ready to go by then. I was very impressed this spot, it’s an unpretentious pub with good local custom and I recommend paying a visit. Kieran kindly gave me a few samples to take home too. Sláinte!

Kieran pulling a pint of Pikeman Red Ale in The Slieve Bloom

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A few beers in NYC.

First, a pint of Threes

I’m just back from a trip to New York with the family over the Christmas break. Armed with recommendations from a few friends and the Where to Drink Beer book I was more ready than I had been on my last visit over a decade ago. In fact, many of the places weren’t even there the last time! My first stop was Threes on Franklin and Kent in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It was all of a four minute walk from where we were staying and I was off to a good start with their Kicking and Screaming Pilsner. I also enjoyed their tasty burger. Passing Time, their grisette, was delicious. Padraig Fox spoke highly of their Vliet Pilsner so that gave me all of the excuse I needed for a second visit. It wasn’t a wasted trip. The place has a nice vibe and the lads behind the bar are sound.

The tap list in Brouwerij Lane

It was on to Brouwerij Lane next. This place has a great, rotating tap list as well as an impressive range of bottles and cans in a large fridge. There is no bar, as such, but that doesn’t mean you can pour your own! I had great craic chatting with Tegan and Ben. Grimm’s Super Spruce, a gøse was lovely as was Saunter, a mild from Suarez Family Brewery. $60 Nachos from Hoof Hearted is one of those that I had to try as the name tickled my puerile sense of humour. It’s a grand IPA. Unfortunately this place closes at 10 most evenings so I wasn’t able to pay it a second visit. But if you’re in the area you should definitely go in and have one for me!

Seven Doors Grisette in The Blind Tiger

The Blind Tiger was described to me as ‘the OG craft beer bar of NYC’ by David Clarke. The family was in a loooong que for the Museum of Illusions. The Blind Tiger was only a thirteen minute walk away. Reader, I left them queing. Here I enjoyed another grisette, this time from Seven Doors. They were also pouring Hill Farmstead’s Of First and Last Things IPA, I think I prefer their sours (the couple I’ve had) but it was still very good indeed. I Grimm’s Galaxy Pop!, a Berliner weisse next, yes it did taste like ‘candy’! And I completed my brief session with Revolution’s Deth’s Tar, an Imperial Stout that lived up to it’s name and was as treacley as you’d expect. I rejoined the family at the top of the que and the Museum of Illusions was more fun than I thought it would be.

ET Found Home Edition Schwarzbier at Evil Twin

Shane Smith was one of a few others that were coincidentally over in New York at the same time so we met up with his friend Kristin Elliott in Evil Twin. We all enjoyed the Black Lager. My favourite Evil Twin on the day was Yes I Eat On The Subway And I Don’t Think It’s Weird IPA. There was also a Monkish tap takeover in the back room so we shared some small pour of their very aptly named Foggiest Window and Gang of Four. If you like your IPAs hazy, hoppy and strong, these are right up your alley. Myself and Kristin also shared some yummy Bao buns from the food truck outside.

Evil Twin Brewing NYC

Kings County Brewers Collective

Next stop for Shane and I was Kings County Brewers Collective. Both of us agreed that their big boozy Ryde to Oblivion was the pick of the bunch there. I may also have indulged in some falafel pizza from Traze.

Grimm Artisanal Ales

Our last port of call was Grimm’s Tap Room. This place was cool and I was delighted to get to visit after enjoying a couple of their beers in the aforementioned bars. Gathering with Jester King, a fruited sour was the stand out beer here but we didn’t have any bad ones.

‘Irish’ Black Lager in McSorley’s Old Ale House

I paid a very brief visit to McSorley’s Old Ale House. Between one thing and another I could’ve enjoyed it more. The beer is easy drink and the place is like something out of Gangs of New York.

Tørst

Tørst has been on my beer bucket list pretty much since it opened. David had told me to ask for Mark, Mark wasn’t there but Mike looked after me very well in his stead. They have an absolutely savage line up of beers and natural wines, whatever they are. The food menu also looked awesome but I was just after having dinner with the family and I couldn’t even manage a few nuts. I loved Fou D’or Sour from Hermit Thrush and Wood Ya Honey from Jackie O’s. Put this place down as an absolute must. And maybe go hungry.

Sloop Juice Bomb in One World Observatory

On New Year’s Eve we went up the One World Observatory and I thought it was too cool a spot not to have a beer. It was great that they were pouring micro brewed beer as I’d imagine a similar spot in Ireland would have a limited selection. And Juice Bomb from Sloop was very tasty. But it was $16 and served in a plastic pint pot. Sure look, had to be done!

Paulie Gee’s draught beer line up. In a bath tub.

I was very happy to see Other Half’s Green City IPA on the menu in Paulie Gee’s. It’s a great match for their pizza. And it’s a deadly spot. After that we went to Prospect Park to catch the New Year’s Eve fireworks. They were way better than watching a ball drop in Times Square. No, really.

Thanks for coming on this trip with me. Sláinte!

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Craft Beer Days 2019

Do you remember the last time I was in Hamburg? Well I do! And when the boss asked if I’d be willing to go to Craft Beer Days again I didn’t hesitate before agreeing…

This time though I planned the trip a little better, arriving a day early to check out a few places other than the fantastic Altes Mädchen. My first stop was Galopper Des Jahres which was only a ten minute walk from the main event. My first beer was an IPL – Prototyp, from local brewery Kehrwieder. Nice pub, decent beer, I was off to a good start.

And then to Altes Mädchen for the pre festival warm up. I really liked their New Era Dry Hopped Pilsener and White IPA Matrosenschluck. Despite the difficulty in ordering it!

Later that evening myself and my new pal Funs went to check out ÜberQuell near the docks. I went with their SupaDupa IPA and Funs had their Wheat IPA. This was a grand spot that I’d say would have been hopping if we hadn’t gone in ten minutes before closing time. Then we rejoined the group in the rather appropriately named Tipsy Baker.

The next day Peter and I were stationed behind the bar with several McGargles beers pouring. Francis Big Bangin’ IPA was particularly well received and we were kept busy! (Above picture taken by Henning Angerer)

I was told about Schoppe Bräu’s Holy Shit 15% IPA and in the interest of research I had to try it. It was very bitter and had a bit of a burning aftertaste. Great craic altogether.

Nicky from Munich’s And Union (Moycullen, Co. Galway originally), Funs from La Trappe and I honestly didn’t share beard care tips.

The next day I started off sensibly with BrewDog’s newish Punk AF. Clever name aside; I didn’t fall in love with it.

And Union’s Steph Weiss tasted lovely on what was turning out to be a warm (31c) sunny Sunday.

I tried a few of Sudden Death’s beers over the weekend, including the very enjoyable Sour IPA Skull Crusher. Great bunch of lads with very cool artwork.

La Trappe’s Barrel Aged Quadruple was beautiful. Pick up a bottle if you see it.

And that was just about it, bar clearing up and some post festival beers and food. It has to be said the food in Altes Mädchen is consistently great and the staff were extremely friendly and helpful. Craft Beer Days was a great, well run event, thanks to Volker and Berit for inviting us…who knows, I could be back soon. Sláinte!

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The Big Weekend

So…The Big Grill happened. And I was there, every day. Luckily Shane from Dot was also there and he had just the thing to get a lad ready for a festival action. Stout, coffee and ice cream, that’s three of the main food groups, right?

At the end of day one I went to pay my first, long overdue, visit to The Big Romance. There were some beers on from Jackie O and Other Half, and it was a Velvet Underground night so I was happy out.

Day two and myself and Peter were behind the Rye River bar pulling those lovely McGargles beers…and the Rye River Seasonal – Jigsaw DDH IPL which went down really well.

Friday evening I went to Blackbird, Rathmines for a post shift pint. Oisin was behind the bar and we got chatting and he told me about An Irish Impeachment. He was one of a lucky few who were able to go to Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp. The resulting beer was very tasty and I recommend trying it before it’s all gone! Shout out to Johnny too, sound crew in Blackbird.

On Saturday we poured Marcos’ Basil Belgian Witbier from our pilot kit. It was pleasingly dry and savoury.

My neighbours for the weekend were Black Donkey and their Bog Fire smoked Saison was excellent.

Black’s Chocolate Napalm Chilli Stout delivered exactly what was promised on the tap badge with velvety sweetness up front and a burning ticklish afterglow.

Wicklow Wolf’s Fuzzy Logic was quite good and the first batch of Elevation from their new brewery was on form.

Dan Kelly’s love bringing something different to The Big Grill and their American Pie ticked all of the boxes, Blueberry and Bourbon made this one a perfect dessert cider.

And I made the mistake of calling Kinnegar’s Little Rickey Little Mickey! Actually, I wonder why no one has ever called a beer Little Mickey? This one was a nicely refreshing Lime and Basil sour anyway, whatever you want to call it.

Sunday came and Steve’s Smoked Porter came with it…

This one went down a treat with the meaty morsels and smokey smells of barbeque that were in the air.

And for something completely different I tried some of Kinsale’s Hazy Summer Mead. I enjoyed this and the next time I’m in Kinsale I will be paying them a visit to try their special that’s made with local honey.

Brand new Rye River Seasonal The Knot DDH IPA also made the first public appearance over the weekend. I think it was tasting whopper but I’m very biased! Keep an eye out for this one…

And thus finished a long but enjoyable weekend at The Big Grill, I’m only the better of it now. Sláinte!

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A busy day…

The day started out badly. Trust me. But don’t worry about that, it got steadily better. Until the very end. I was kindly invited by Padraig Fox to attend Meatopia in the Open Gate Brewery. Vegans and vegetarians should probably stop reading now…

Malcolm Lee was being interviewed on stage when we arrived and he spoke about his food and the food scene in Singapore. His was the first stall that you met and his pork shoulder skewers were delicious. The lovely Singaporean Tea Pilsner helped offset some of the heat from the spices.

Next we tried Kwame Onwuachi’s very tasty short rib and lamb.

My wife really enjoyed Anna Haugh’s Chicken Boudain.

Inside we tried the Grilled Pineapple which wasn’t part of the Meatopia event but came highly recommended by Caoimhe O’Brien. Great shout Caoimhe.

I also rather liked the Maritime Stout which contained molluscs apparently! All told, a very good afternoon was had, cheers to the Open Gate crew for looking after us.

Most normal people think one festival a day is plenty. But sure look…next stop The Harbour Bar in Bray for the second day of the Harbour Brewha! O Brother’s Bale Out tasted great on the warm summers evening that was in it.

I was glad to get to try Larkin’s draught only Amber Lager; The Drayman Cometh! This is a pretty rare style here but I like it for a change.

For the second weekend on the trot I found myself drinking Wicklow beers, this time I opted for their Black 16 Stout. Maybe someday this one will make it into bottles.

Quincey from Wicklow Wolf was giving me major shirt envy! There was almost as many hops on the shirt as there were in their new IPA; Matty Baby, which was brewed with their friends from Belfast’s Boundary. He noted that despite it being 7.5% I made pretty quick work of it.

Fair play to Mark ‘Antrim Man’ Molloy and The Harbour Bar yet again for a small but craicing local event.

On a slightly bigger scale we then went to the Iveagh Gardens as my better half wanted to have a little shimmy to Jenny Greene. And I had a flat white.

A quick visit to Underdog then for a night cap…Northern Monk’s Even More Death seemed appropriate being a bit like boozy melted dark chocolate. And then back to retrieve our car…where an over enthusiastic security guard told us we were ‘trespassing’. Misunderstanding sorted, we headed home, no, I wasn’t driving! Hopefully I’ll see some of you this weekend in Moate. Sláinte!

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