#MCBF21 was a cracker!

Well I think it’s fair to say that we were blessed with the weather. The 7th annual Midlands Craft Beer Festival was a hit. The crowd landed early and were fierce thirsty. The lads selling tokens were flat out.

The que for Dead Centre’s Moaterboat

Moaterboat, the Nitro Raspberry Cream Ale from Dead Centre sold out in 22 minutes. They had to go and get the only other keg to satisfy the fans.

Galway Bay Brewery Czech Pils at the Midlands Craft Beer Festival

I was on the Galway Bay Brewery bar pouring the lovely crisp Czech Pils and at the other end of the spectrum 200 Fathoms. It tasted particularly good with the pork filled donut from Ginger’s BBQ.

Ginger’s BBQ Pork Donut Special

Josh from Nitro Ground made me a delicious Cortado to help with my energy level. His Kombucha proved popular with the designated drivers too.

Nitro Ground Cortado, and Josh striking a pose!

Darren Doyle from Studio 93 had a great set up for the live broadcast. Brian Cahill from Craic Beer Community did a bang up job of hosting too. If you want to hear from the brewers click here!

DJ Keith Marshall provided sunny vibes

All that remains to be said is thanks to everyone who came and enjoyed themselves, the brewers: Wide Street, Rye River, Ballykilcavan, Dead Centre and (of course) Galway Bay, Lough Ree Distillery, Nitro Ground and Gingers BBQ. And the musicians Maggie Dunne, DJ Keith Marshall and the bould Bishops Love Sci Fi! Fair play to John, Paul and Derek for their help with the running. Tony did a stellar job on the social media ‘assets’! And Don and Lisa as always for being such great hosts. See you next year. Sláinte!

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Midlands Craft Beer Festival 2021

The 7th annual Midlands Craft Beer Festival is happening on Saturday the 28th of August!

This is pretty exciting! A real live event. In Moate. With beer. Next Saturday we will be having all of the craic from 3pm.

Many of you will be familiar with Don’s Bar beer garden from previous years but, like many of his fellow publicans, he has invested in his outdoor area and there are several cosy pods for you to relax in.

If you are not able to attend in person there is going to be a live stream on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook which will kick off around 5pm. Thanks to Studio 93, Craic Beer Community and Beer Cloud for their help with this.

Moaterboat from Dead Centre will be pouring!

Dead Centre are bringing back their hugely popular Raspberry Cream Ale Moaterboat and an Oatmeal Stout brewed with Kilbeggan Oats, Kilbeggan Chocolate which has been aged in Lough Ree Distillery Barrels. Ballykilcavan are pouring Bambricks Brown Ale, Lineblocker and it will be the first outing for an Amber Kellerbier which is currently called KellerQueen! I will be manning the Galway Bay Brewery taps and I have a keg of the beautiful Bitter Pil and also a small keg of Two Hundred Fathoms with Calendar Coffee Teamwork Espresso.

Two of the Galway Bay Brewery beers which will be available at the festival

Wide Street are bringing the Witbier they brewed with Brendan Views on Brews earlier this year and their new Pale Ale Sound by Design. Rye River will be bringing their Lil’ Bangin’ Session IPA and their new Coastal IPA.

Nitro Ground Coffee and Kombucha will be pouring at Midlands Craft Beer Festival

It’s not all beer though! Nitro Ground are making their debut festival appearance. Josh is bringing some non alcoholic options in the form of Nitro Coffee and hoppy, fruity Kombucha. Lough Ree Distillery are bringing lemon infused vodka and their excellent gin. And BiaSol are keeping the beer business sustainable with their products which use spent grain from the brewing process.

Sourdough baked with flour from BiaSol

There will be live music on the day from DJ Keith Marshall from 6-7pm and Bishops Love Sci Fi take the stage from 7-9pm. Due to the current covid restrictions no one is allowed to dance, so, eh, leave the dancing shoes at home. I have been asked about tickets by a few people. We have decided that there will be no entry fee but instead you may give a voluntary donation to help offset the running costs. Capacity is limited in the beer garden so you would be advised to arrive early to get a seat. See you there next Saturday. Sláinte!

Ps: in an effort to reduce plastic/waste some of the brewers will have glassware. You’ll be able to pay a returnable deposit to use these. Also, please remember to bring cash for beer tokens!

Ginger’s BBQ is coming to the Midlands Craft Beer Festival! 🤤🤤🤤
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Putting Irish Beer on the map!

A new map of Irish breweries.

The ICBI with support from Bord Bia have just created a map of Irish breweries. This useful tool can be accessed by tourists and those of us who enjoy exploring our own country.

Breweries who aren’t on the list can complete a fairly straightforward form to be added. Full disclosure: I added my employer Galway Bay Brewery to the list. And it was pretty painless.

Check it out on http://irishbeer.ie and let me know what you think. Sláinte!

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10 Years of Metalman!

Metalman Windjammer in the sun.

Metalman are celebrating 10 years of brewing this year! The Waterford brewery has launched some special beers to mark the occasion and they very kindly sent me out some to try. Included in the box was their iconic Pale Ale which was the first Irish craft beer to hit the shelves in cans back in January 2015. I remember bemoaning the fact that it was never bottled as it was rare enough that I’d come across a tap but they showed remarkable foresight in investing in a canning line.

Windjammer is a NZ Amber – hopped with very tasty hops from New Zealand. It tastes great on a sunny evening in the garden.

Metalman Giant Molecular Clouds

Giant Molecular Clouds is the first in their Galactic Voyager Series. It’s a New England style IPA with Amarillo, Azaca and Huell Melon. It’s very enjoyable. And juicy. Keep an eye out for this hoppy series and the very fetching artwork over the course of the summer.

Metalman Galactic Voyager Series

Decade is a beer in lieu of a tenth birthday cake but imagine a Black Forest Gateux with an espresso chaser. This Tart Cherry Coffee Porter is exactly how you’d imagine it to be. Waterford’s Coffee House Lane lent a hand with this one and I’ve drank enough of their coffee too! So join me in raising a glass or two of Metalman beer to help them mark ten years of brewing. You can find them at http://metalmanbrewing.com and in good off licences. Sláinte!

Metalman Decade – Tart Cherry Coffee Porter
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What’s the craic with Kefir?

The King of Kefir range

King of Kefir contacted me a couple of weeks ago and said they had a new bottle and new label and asked if they could send me out some samples. I replied that I wasn’t sure if I liked kefir, as I think the last time I tried it was a fairly ropey home brewed version. They still sent me out a package with a nice hand written note. So I’ve spent the weekend drinking them.

Al fresco imbibing

Oh, and, don’t worry, this isn’t going to turn into a lifestyle and wellness blog. I started with the Cucumber, Mint and Thyme as I expected it to be my least favourite. I’m not a huge fan of cucumber but it proved to be a pleasant, refreshing beverage on a sunny afternoon. Not a million miles off gin and tonic flavours.

King of Kefir Hopped Culture

I was very interested in popping Hopped Culture open as it was hopped with Amarillo, Citra and Mosaic. To answer the question which I posed in the title – Kefir is a fermented beverage, these are non alcoholic and if you’re diet conscious they have only 7 Kcal per bottle. Personally, I’m mostly concerned with the taste. If diet or alcohol are a problem I can drink water, or, indeed coffee! I must say I was impressed. This is a very tasty drink and the hops work well in it. I will definitely keep this on hand as a non alcoholic alternative to beer.

King of Kefir Lemongrass and Ginger

The Lemongrass and Ginger had an intriguing blend of cardamom, fennel, star anise and cloves in the mix. It also ticked the boxes as a dry, refreshing, grown up beverage. You certainly don’t have sticky teeth after drinking these.

King of Kefir Chilli and Ginger. And pizza.

Lastly, I popped open the Chilli and Ginger with some homemade pizza this evening. And I can confirm that it was a successful pairing. Nice little tingle from the chillies. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this range. If you want to give these a try you’ll find them in all of the fancy food shops: Bradley’s, Fallon and Byrne, 57 The Headline and in Supervalu Food Academy fridges. Sláinte!

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