So #MCBF18 happened.

Woah! Some parts of my body are a bit sore but that’s just because I had a great time at yesterday’s Midlands Craft Beer Festival.

Craft Beer Festival in Don's Bar

We had a nice variety of breweries from the just starting out Wide Street Brewing to the somewhat more established St. Mel’s Brewing. Wide Street were pouring samples of their delicious Saison which was brewed with black lime if I remember correctly.

The dress code was ‘cherries’.

The only currency that mattered were the beer bucks printed up by our friends in Studio 93. Keep an eye out for a video shot by Darren at the festival.

Oisin Foley had the crowd in the palm of his hand with his fun magic tricks. Then Eamon Hatton and friends took to the stage and blew us away with the blues.

Ger Costello brought his White Rhino IPA which had a lovely pineapple flavour and aroma. He also had a brand new Lager brewed with spelt which was very tasty.

Joe had a fun day pouring the fantastic Miami J. It was very well received by the beer loving crowd.

Midlands Beer Collective were pouring the last kegs of their excellent American Style Brethern Brown.

The lads from St Mel’s are festival stalwarts having been at every event in Moate. They are already looking forward to the 2019 festival. Their Helles Lager went down a treat.

Dead Centre have come a long way in the 12 months since they launched at last year’s bash. They’re looking at opening their Athlone brew pub before the year is out. The best of luck Liam!

Don had an offering of pizza, burgers and, my favourite, loaded fries!

Eamon hopped up on stage with Toxic Twins and they made some musical magic together!

Dan Kelly’s Cider was very refreshing in the warm evening. Thanks due to Olan for helping us out with cider at the 11th hour too!

As night fell so did the giant tower of Jenga.

We had a good crew back to my house where we enjoyed a post festival whiskey and a really great breakfast cooked by my amazing wife. Thanks to everyone who helped out, thanks to Don and Lisa for everything and thank you for coming out. See you there next year! Sláinte!

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Cirque de BrewDog

BrewDog’s Cinematic Circus took place in Weston Airport yesterday. It was the first major event they’ve put on over here and I was invited along as a guest. Fallen Lights were playing as I landed at the airport. They performed a crowd pleasing selection of covers with the odd original tune thrown in for good measure.

My first beer of the evening was Third Barrel’s appropriately named Strawberry Airfields, a Strawberry and Black Pepper Farmhouse Ale. It was lovely and summery.

Next up was BrewDog’s Jet Trash, a very drinkable West Coast IPA. I also enjoyed a pulled pork bao bun. Perfect street food.

I met up with several of my fellow beer aficionados. And I was instructed to try YellowBelly’s Tin Can of Emotion. It’s a 10% Double IPA. I misheard the name as Tin Can of Emulsion. Which wouldn’t be unusual from those crazy Wexford cats. But thankfully this sticky and sweet IPA tasted nothing like paint.

In a rather cheeky move I borrowed an Equity Punk pass to visit their special bar to try the special Mallow Mafia. It was an epic 12% Imperial Stout that nailed the marshmallow flavour. I tried the new Overworks sours and really liked the peach one. All of this supping was done with the somewhat unsettling film The Shining being shown on the cinema screen. The consensus was that this was a bit of a strange choice. One alternative suggestion was The Big Lebowski, keep it in mind for next year lads!

I finished up with Dog G, an even bigger Imperial Stout that clocked in at a whopping 17%. I actually preferred the more sessionable Mallow Mafia which was the beer highlight for me. I left before the Circus of Horrors and I’m kind of glad I did. Apparently one of the performers stapled a playing card to his scrotal sack. Ouch.

It was a very enjoyable and well organised event. Thanks for having me along. Sláinte!

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Brews by the Sea

Today was Father’s Day and when my wife asked what I wanted to do I didn’t hesitate before saying that I’d like to attend the Brewha in Bray’s Harbour Bar.

Helles Lager, Irish craft beer

This small festival saw some local breweries showcasing their wares. Larkin’s Helles Lager was a great one to start off with. It was very clean and drinkable. I resisted the sweets and crisps that were also on offer, the beer was enough of a treat for me.

The Garden County Brewers were offering samples of their home brews. They couldn’t accept payment but they had a tip jar. I suspect all monies were swiftly invested in more malt and hops. I enjoyed their fruity Citra IPA.

Speaking of hops, Kev from Third Barrel put all of them into their new, brilliantly named, Shut Up Juice. It’s great to see Third Barrel up and running and developing a small range of hop bombs.

Food...pork...

The lovely people from the Harbour Bar provided some delightfully messy pulled pork sliders and ribs.

Porterhouse had a new special on offer. I loved the Dudesque can artwork of Hazy Border. It’s a collaboration with Hillstown from the top part of our fair isle. If Brexit commentaries all tasted like this I’d have no problem.

Wicklow’s Chocolate and Coconut Stout did exactly what it promised on the tap badge. It’s one of the most coconutty beers I’ve tasted in a while and it would be lovely with some chocolate cake.

Wicklow Wolf’s Ranchero Rauchbier was smokey and interesting. This was a local affair but Wicklow Wolf were definitely the closest brewery to the event. They could’ve just rolled the kegs down the road for the weekend!

I saved the biggest beer until last. O Brother were pouring an untitled 9% Imperial Stout. It was very chewy and a great one to finish an afternoon session with. Fair play to Antrim Man aka Mark Molloy and the Harbour Bar crew for putting on a cracking wee festival. Hopefully this is one that will be returning in 2019. It’s going to be a busy summer of beer festivals so stay tuned for more. Sláinte!

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#MCBF18 is on!

Beer Festival, Moate, Irish craft beer

Just a quick note to let everyone know that we’re a go for the fourth year! We will have breweries from Westmeath, Longford, Carlow and Kildare pouring this time round. Anyone who has attended past years will know that it’s a nice small relaxed event. Hopefully see you there! Sláinte!

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Going Wild in the city!

Last Thursday evening there was a Wild Beer event in 57 The Headline bar. I was invited to head along by Paul from the Carlow Brewing Company who import and distribute Wild Beer in Ireland. Brewer Bill and Mad Scientist Nick from Rye River Brewing accompanied me there. There were several Wild Beer taps to choose from but I went for Nebula first. It was a hazy juicy IPA and it went down a treat. Perfect for the balmy summer evening that was in it.

Next I tried Sleeping Lemons Export, it’s a Gøse brewed with preserved lemons. I would love to try this one with a meringue head!

Three bottles of Wild Beer

After that there was a tasting with Giles from Wild Beer. The throng of beer fans was broken into smaller groups who assembled in the wee back room of The Headline.

Giles gave us some of the background of Wild Beer and explained their ethos. They produce a range of forty five beers and the one they started with was Modus Operandi, a blended sour. He told us that they made beers which provoke quite different reactions and said that no one would like all of their range. So, a bit like that famous contrarian Neil Young then. He was very frank and engaging. He also gave us a taste of Jambo, a Chocolate Raspberry Imperial Stout. This beer was gorgeous in it’s own right and then 57 main man Geoff appeared with a plate of truffles made with Millionaire Stout. It was beer pairing heaven.

Staying with stouts I had a glass of Millionaire, the Salted Caramel Milk Stout after the tasting. Sadly the truffles were all scoffed by then and I couldn’t try the pair together.

Wild beer in 57 The Headline bar

I saved a big one til last, there was only one keg of Wildebeest in Ireland. This 11% Imperial Stout was like a boozy mocha milkshake. I asked Geoff for a cheeseboard and I have to say that I loved the blue cheese with it. It was a top notch event, fair play to all involved. I thought the pricing was decent at €4 for a glass all of the Wild Beers. And it was great to meet up with some of my friends in the beer scene again. If you weren’t there you missed out but you will be able to find some of the Wild Beer range in good off licences. Sláinte!

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