Happy Samhain!

The second time I enjoyed this one…

This blog has always celebrated the joy of seasonal ales and Pumpkin Ales are included! The one I have had most of is from Trouble Brewing, which I had in 2013, 2014 , 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2020. This year it came in a can for the first time and it tastes as good as ever. It’s light and spicy and you could manage a few of them without difficulty. And it’s only 4.5%. Cheers to Joe McNab for tracking this one down in Ardkeen Grocers for me. (In fairness the lads in Craft Central and O’Brien’s, Athlone also got in touch when they had some as they knew I was on the hunt!)

Three pumpkin cans for the Autumn of 2020

I picked up White Hag’s Samhain Pumpkin Ale in (the always well stocked) Carry Out Tullamore. It’s their first Pumpkin Ale, but not their first beer called Samhain. This one is more full on at 6.2% and is heavier, like a creamy dessert beer. It has a vanilla, toffee pudding aroma which follows through to the flavour. There is also some cinammon in there and it tastes like Autumn. This is good craic but one is plenty.

Spooky Samhain Pumpkin Ale

I found New Belgium’s Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin in Dicey Reilly’s, Ballyshannon. I think it was the only American Pumpkin Ale to make it here this year. This one is 6.5% and spicy but not quite as sweet as the White Hag one. I am keeping a can to go with some pumpkin pie.

If you want to try another Irish pumpkin beer Treaty City have one available as part of their Trick’r’Treaty special release… sold out on their website but there could be some lurking around Limerick. And if you want to look back at Sean Lightholder’s plethora of Pumpkin Ale posts you can do so here! Enjoy your seasonal ales sensibly folks…Sláinte!

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4 Quarters of Limerick

Treaty City’s Epic Stout

Treaty City have featured in this blog before, most recently last year when I visited High Nelly’s. I’ve also enjoyed their Harris Pale Ale in The Curragower, a stone’s throw from the brewery. They asked if I’d be interested in trying some of their new limited series beers and of course, I said yes please! The first one I opened was Medieval Quarter. It takes its name from the area where the brewery is located, Nicholas Street, which was Limerick’s old main thouroghfare. This is a pretty robust stout with a big roast malt bill and some hefty strong espresso coffee and dark chocolate bitterness. Of the four this is the only one brewed without adjuncts (non traditional ingredients) and it was delicious. I’d strongly suggest keeping this one around. It would pair well with hearty fare like beef stew or chocolate desserts and it drinks equally well on its own.

Treaty City’s cultured Pale Ale

Next up was the Cultural Quarter. I’m not a tea drinker at all so the flavours of the tea, sourced from Cahill’s Tea Shop really stand out to me. It is easy drinking and has a dry finish that keeps you coming back for more. I was sent some notes with the beers and they also have a QR code on the label that brings you to the website where you’ll find information about the ingredients and some suggested food pairings. One suggestion for this beer is apple custard tart, the closest thing to that in the house was some fresh apple cake which worked nicely.

Treaty City feeling Witty

Georgian Quarter is a Belgian style Wit brewed with coriander seeds and orange peel. The accompanying noted recommend a tall glass and a slice of orange, who am I to argue? The head on this one dissipated quite quickly. I’m not sure if the addition of the orange helped or hindered here. No matter, this is a grand light beer for a sunny afternoon.

Treaty City take me down to the (Shannon) river!

Having grown up close to the Shannon I’ve always felt an attachment to the river that passes through my hometown before winding it’s way down to Limerick. River Quarter was hopped with Citra and had the unusual addition of Indian black limes. These limes were boiled in salt water before being dried out, crushed and added to the brew. The combination is a winning one. This is a very pleasant Pale Ale. And at 4.6% you can enjoy a couple of them. If you want to try these beers for yourself they’re available directly from the brewery. Yurt…I mean, eh, sláinte, don’t know what came over me!

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Pils’n’Thrills and (no) Bellyaches!

It’s the Irish Summer, it’s a Bank Holiday weekend, you can’t go to the pub and you have a woeful thirst. In my last blog I told you about some great places you can order craft beer online but here are some easy drinking, wallet friendly options too.

Manislav must be one of the lads who works in Dundalk’s Pearse Lyons Brewery. It’s a 5% Czech style Pilsner that you’ll find in Tesco. And it is hard to distinguish from the actual Czech brewed beers in it’s green bottle!

The Crafty Brewing Company Irish Lager is another 5% Pilsner brewed in Celbridge by Rye River Brewing Company (my employer!). This is to be found exclusively in Lidl. It has picked up a few awards along the way and is a favourite of my brewing colleagues.

Rheinbacher Premium Pilsner is available in Aldi. It’s 4.9% and ‘brewed in accordance with the German purity law’ apparently. This is the only one of the trio that’s actually brewed on the continent and it’s the cheapest of the bunch, probably because they’re brewing and selling vast quantities of it. That said, all three are less than two euro for 500mls. It comes highly recommended by such noted beer geeks as John ‘Beer Nut’ and Sean ‘Wide Street’. And they all make for damn fine drinking on a sunny afternoon. Czech, em out! (Apologies) Sláinte!

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Beer in isolation

The pubs have been closed for the longest time in living memory. According to reports in the national media this has resulted in a spike in off sales. I’m not sure that this equates to people drinking more than they normally would though. Personally I’m in favour of little and often instead of a massive bender at the weekend. It means that you can relax and enjoy a drink and you (generally) don’t have a hangover.

McGargles beers brewed by Rye River (and a couple of sknakey ones from St Mel’s photobombing!)

You’ll be glad to hear that I’m still working as part of the Rye River crew, getting our beers on to shelves around the country. So, you know, grab a few when you’re out picking up your essential shopping!

A delivery from The Beer Club

But what if you are craving some beers that you can’t find locally, or you’re trying to limit your excursions? The good news is that you have loads of options, some from people who have been providing these services for a while, some from those who’ve quickly adapted to the current situation.

Craig Kearney went to the trouble of putting together a list of breweries selling directly to the public here so fair play to him. Any support for independent Irish breweries is a great thing and you can be sure that you’re keeping people in their jobs.

A couple of cans from Heaney

Some notes to finish on: when you order beer for yourself it’s not a ‘care package’, if someone sends it to you that’s fair enough. Maybe start calling them ‘self care packages’. I just had to get that off my chest. Secondly, this isn’t a sponsored post, (NEWSFLASH) I just know and am somewhat fond of the Irish craft beer thing. Lastly, man, I miss beer festivals. Sláinte!

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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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