Brews at Bloom 2019

Bloom’s annual flowers and food bash in the Phoenix Park took place over the weekend. Many years ago I discovered that there was plenty of beer on offer in the Bloom Inn and I’ve served behind the Rye River bar for the last three events. This year I didn’t have to drive every day and so I was able to sample a few beers as well as our own. I visited fellow midlands man Liam to try some of his St. Mel’s Fire 1864 Lager. This is a Pilsner as opposed to St. Mel’s core range Helles Lager. It’s nice and crisp but I probably prefer the Helles myself. Check it out if you’re in Fire on Dawson Street.

The next bar belonged to Howth’s Hope and I had a drop of their fourteenth Limited Edition brew, a juicy India Pale Lager with lots of soft fruity flavours. Pick up a can of this if you see it.

Porterhouse had A LOT of beers pouring. Over the weekend I tried a small drop of their Milkshake IPA which I found a bit cloying and also their 3.2% Be-Low IPA. I could manage a couple of pints of that one!

And then I had something completely different from Dundalk’s Brewmaster: Romanov Imperial Stout. It was an 8% roasted malt, dark chocolate flavoured beer that would I’m sure taste much better beside the fire on a dark evening.

And keeping it malty, I had some of Ballykilcavan’s reliable Red Ale; Brickyard. Joe also brought me over some of his Brown Coffee Ale and that was very tasty. I also tried Boyne’s cleverly named Et Tu Brut? IPA. I’m not running away with this particular beer trend but this wasn’t a bad example if you like your IPAs dry.

Beer brothers

The lads from Mescan were in flying form all weekend and at one stage they forced me to join their band of beer brothers! Their Special Reserve was beautiful too.

It wasn’t all beer though, I had half a look at half of the gardens and I got to try a Micil Mule, made with Poitin that was distilled using a traditional family recipe. You can check out their distillery now in Galway!

Thanks everyone who was friendly and sound, it made the five days a bit easier. Sláinte!

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I’ve got the Oskar Blues!

Craft Beer can

So I was at the All Ireland Craft Beer Festival on Friday. But don’t worry, this isn’t another Beer festival blog! Unfortunately I had to drive home due to family commitments and this put the kibosh on my sampling activities. I did meet my friend Paul from Carlow Brewing and he told me that they were now distributing Oskar Blues. What’s more he had a few cans for me to try. The first one I popped open was the rather controversial Guns’n’Rosé. The 80s hair rock legends have been slightly uptight about this one and there may be a court case pending. Controversy aside, this beer was brewed with prickly pear and hibiscus. It is as it says on the can ‘crisp AF’! I happened to have a couple of seasoned Rosé drinkers on hand and they gave the beer their nod of approval, without remarks about the pleasant aroma being the common denominator.

Next up was Can-O-Bliss, a Tropical IPA. It doesn’t seem to have an actual weed in the can but it is pretty dank. I have to say this one was one of the more enjoyable American IPAs I’ve had in a while. I’d recommend picking up a couple of these.

Lastly I had Death by Coconut. Untappd tells me I’ve had this one before and I’m sticking with my 4 out of 5 bottle caps rating. This one has more coconut than a multi pack of bounty bars. Lovely dessert beer. Not sure if it qualifies as an ‘Irish Style Porter’ though as, coconut has only featured in relatively recent brews from Kinnegar and Porterhouse. Anyway, there’s a few beers for you to keep an eye out for while beer shopping. Sláinte!

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My maiden visit to the Sunflower.

On Saturday evening I happened to be in Belfast and I let two of my Twitter beer buddies know that I was planning a visit to the Sunflower. My first.

Roy Quare Swally was waiting for me and selected Bullhouse’s Road Trippin’. This was an absolutely gorgeous juicy Pale Ale.

I stayed relatively local with the tasty Heaney’s Irish Pale Ale and Farmageddon’s IPA. Apparently Farmageddon’s tap room was in full swing the same evening but time wasn’t on my side. Next time. There was a trad session in full swing on the night which added to the lively atmosphere. There was also some proper Pizza baking in a wood fired oven in the beer garden. There were a couple of decent beers on draught too including old favourite Kinnegar’s Scraggy Bay. I can’t recommend a visit to the Sunflower enough. According to the lads this kind of a spot was unimaginable just a few years ago. On my way back south I stopped at Drinklink and picked up a few cans, including a few more Bullhouse beers. We then visited our friends. They had also picked up several of the same beers for me in Drinklink. I didn’t grumble. Sláinte!

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Where was I? Oh yes, Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair 2019!

The sixth Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair took place over the weekend in the Convention Centre Dublin. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to attend all of them and have been behind the Rye River bar for the last three events. On the Thursday evening we were delighted to see Alltech’s Gearoid Cahill approaching us with nineteen medals including Gold for our Grafters IPA and Best in Category for McGargles Daragh’s Grapefruit Session IPA. The brewers are a great group of lads! We also had a few festival specials pouring including the well received Hop Colossus and Fobby’s Oakily Smokily Grodziskie. Which tasted like a gobfull of Rancheros!

Brewer Bill and I snuck into the media room for the tasting there, I was surprised at how much I liked the Míl Gin and Tonic can. And Joe Donnelly from Rascal’s gave good entertainment value for money. Even when he wasn’t presenting!

Other than that I didn’t stray too far from our bar on the Thursday or Friday. It was great to have the lovely lads from Ballykilcavan as neighbours!

First thing Saturday afternoon I said I’d check out a few other bars around the place. Loudons are a fairly new draught only brewery in east Clare. I enjoyed their Australian Pale Ale which reminded me of the time that Coopers was one of the few ‘craft’ choices available.

And then I was kindly brought over Bridewell’s two special beers, brewed to commemorate the centenary of the first non stop transatlantic flight. Bottles are available in Supervalu Clifden if you find yourself over that way. The Navigator Brown Ale would go nicely with a whiskey according to Whiskey Nut who wasted no time at all getting his own blog up!

So I juggled and shared the three beers.

So Whiskey Nut and I took a walk around. I liked Porterhouse’s light, floral Smash, the Hunter malt made it interesting.

My buddy Ian showed us some whiskey that wasn’t being opened yet, the big tease. And I forgot to go back to their bar when it was opened!

Brewdog’s Brutalism Brut IPA was very easy to drink a pint of, I only asked for a taste…

Sure you’d have to try Lough Gill’s Chuckee Larmz, it’s probably actually healthier than the similarly named / packaged cereal.

I sampled some Cornude popcorn, the tikka masala was epic. Speaking of food, over the weekend I was sustained by a couple of Kono pizza cones, a Pie Man chicken and sausage pie and a rake of Barry John’s sausages. Cheers for looking after me guys!

So, yeah, I guess you could say I had a good day Saturday. (Once again stealing a pic from Tara!)

All credit due to Alltech for putting on another very well organised and fun event. Sláinte!

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Craft Beer Rising and other Stories!

CBR London

Last weekend I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to represent Rye River at London’s Craft Beer Rising event. Myself and Head Brewer Bill landed over there the evening before and we got things off to a start with a few quiet ones.

The next morning we breakfasted at Dishoom. It came highly recommended, and rightly so, we had to return another morning too.

We were pouring Miami J for the first time in 2019 so we did have to do some quality control sampling. We also had our collaboration beers with Hillstown; Delusional White Stout and Caber Toss Wee Heavy. The virgin oak barrel aged Delusional was delicious with a lovely coffee quality to it.

I stuck with the stouts and loved a Blueberry one from Saugatuck.

During the interval some of us made the short walk to an underground festival organised by Kill the Cat bottle shop. I enjoyed some beers from Whiplash and Deya but I’m not sure if I’m cool enough to hang around in unused toilets though.

I began the following day with Hillstown’s Blueberry Sour. Now that’s a breakfast smoothie. All I needed was some waffles.

I knew we were planning on visiting Five Points on Friday afternoon so I warmed up with the well named JUPA.

Myself and Bill headed to Five Points along with the lads from O Brother and Open Gate. And cold cans of IPA were waiting for us.

Ben did a great job of making us feel welcome and showing us around. Afterwards we hit the Penbury Tavern across the road for a pint of Pils and some Pizza. Cool spot.

Then it was straight back to the grindstone.

Where Don Letts was djing. Which was nice.

The next morning Kevin from Hillstown tapped up Beer Hut’s Boombox. It’s always good to start the day with an 8% DIPA and this was one very drinkable example.

I found a few more beers around the place to try. I liked Harbours Helles and Cotswolds Imperial Pilsner.

And that was a wrap. Myself and Bill rounded it off with a couple of small beers in Mother Kelly’s before heading to the airport. It was a great but tiring few days. Big thanks to Get ‘Er Brewed for having us on the Crisp Malt stand. Sláinte!

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