The Kingdom of Beers

Myself and my family went camping in Killarney at the weekend. We did touristy things but this IS a beer blog so I won’t detail them here! 

With all the money we saved by camping we said we’d treat ourselves and went to the Hotel Europe for dinner. I had one of the local brews from Killarney Brewing Company with my Kerry lamb but the flavours jarred a bit. The lamb was only gorgeous and the beer was grand, just not a good match for each other! 

After dinner I retired to the library with a drop of the newly released Dingle Single Malt. I’m not a whiskey expert but I’d normally sip it neat, this one needed a drop of water to mellow it out a bit. (Pretentious twat!) 

That evening I had arranged to meet Soren, a Killarney based beer nut who runs the Irish beer and breweriana Facebook page. He recommended The Celtic Whiskey Bar. 

They’ve a good number of taps on their two bars. I asked for White Gypsy Banker first as I hadn’t tried it, but, alas the tap was dry. So I opted for Killarney’s Helles instead. It went down very nicely indeed. 

I stuck with Lager and had a delicious pint of YellowBelly’s The Passion after that. Cool spot, serious selection of whiskey too, good shout Soren!  

Back at Base Camp I had Northern Monk’s Patrons Project 1.02 Coffee Porter. Earlier in the day, I’d had BrewDog’s Semi Skimmed Occultist with my chocolate Easter bunny but this one from blew that out of the water. It was rich, creamy and indulgent. If you happen upon a can I highly recommend picking it up! 

The next day we were in Dingle and I enjoyed a West Kerry Carraig Dubh with some beef and I checked how far the brewery/pub was. 11km. Sure it would’ve been rude not to pay a visit. 

My first choice was Blue Rose, an English style Pale Ale. Very refreshing and easy to drink. 

After that I tried a half of Black Elder. A Dark Ale brewed with Elderflower. On cask too, which is indeed a rare treat. I was chatting to Adrienne (hope I’ve that right!) She brews the beer and is a great host. You Really Should spin out as far as Ballyferiter. I’m glad I did before we had to hit the road home, with my patient, loving wife once again behind the wheel. Sláinte! 

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Fresh, fruity and funky feckin beers…

This one’s a bit of a round up on some of the more interesting beers I’ve had over the past fortnight. Crooked Stave’s beers have somehow managed to find their way on to the Irish market. I picked up a couple in Drinkstore a while back for a bottle share but I wasn’t able to stay the duration and didn’t actually taste them. I was then pleasantly surprised to see the one pictured above; St Bretta Brettanomyces Citrus Wild Beer in Super Valu in Celbridge. It’s €8 plus for a 375ml bottle. But sure feck it, that’s only the price of two boring pints. This one is really good, it’s got a nice sherbert pucker thing going on. Go mad, splash out on a bottle or two. 

The Fresh Prince of Kildare ( top marks for the name) is a big ass 9.2% New England Style Double IPA from Trouble Brewing which was brewed with only the freshest of hops. This one is a keg only special and I’m told there are a couple of places still pouring it, including possibly Billy Byrne’s in Kilkenny. A wee drop magically arrived in my garden in Moate. (Cheers Dave!) This one is like soup. Fresh, fruity, hoppy soup. 

Dungarvan seem to be doing a special a month this weather. The March special was Curious Orange, a Saison brewed with sweet orange peel and thyme. Of course I had this with The Fall’s ‘I Am Kurious Oranj’ playing on Spotify. I have a good few Fall albums but not that one. It’s pretty accessible and enjoyable. For an album by The Fall like. The beer is as pithy as one of Mark E Smith’s finest lines. I have a habit of enjoying Dungarvan’s Saisons and this one didn’t disappoint. 

Eight Degrees snapped up Spike from Terrapin on his recent visit to these shores and brewed Retribution with some contributions from him. It’s a Black Rye IPA and it was rather tasty. I’m really looking forward to trying the collaboration Eight Degrees have done with Drakes too! 

Dungarvan’s April special was also a Rye IPA dubbed Magic Road. I wasn’t as mad about this one, it was decent enough but I think I wanted some more hoppiness. 

A name to look out for is Wide Street Brewing. This Ballymahon based brewer has mad skills and I reckon he could be Ireland’s answer to the likes of Crooked Stave. Brett North East is a 100% Brett Pale Ale. He lists the malts, hops and yeast used in the brew on the home made label which I thought was a nice touch. It was murky as you like and the Citra came through beautifully. Good job. Sláinte! 

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I’m not drinking any more American IPAs. 

Well, not the imported ones anyway. Now if you want to hand deliver some fresh ones that’s grand. And American sours. I’ll drink those. But other than that I’m saying #drinklocal. 

Take this pair for instance. Hexed and Of Foam and Fury from Galway Bay Brewery. Super fresh and deliciously hoppy, the equal of any of your American brews. Who’s with me? Sláinte! 

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Tanyard Lane, Tullamore 

Tanyard Lane opened in Tullamore a couple of weeks back and I was finally able to pay it a visit yesterday. It’s a Carrig Bar like Bar Rua in Dublin and The Barrelstore in Carrick On Shannon. As well as their own beers they had Hope Passifyoucan, Galway Hooker and MacIvor’s Cider on draught. I chose Passifyoucan to start with. 

Tanyard Lane does food too so I shared a bowl of chicken wings with my wife. They were grand but we’d have preferred them spicier. For mains I had a burger which was a bit over done. The chips were good. 

My better half had the fish and chips which were quite tasty. For my second pint I tried their Shepherd’s Delight. They called it an IPA but I’d call it an American Amber. Either way it was a decent pint. Friendly service and a nice atmosphere, I’ll visit again. Sláinte! 

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Bag of cans? 

I picked up a few new cans in O’Brien’s and some other places over the last while. I’ll start with the foreign ones and finish with the Irish beers. BrewDog’s Zeitgeist fulfills it’s promise to be an ‘Idiosyncratic Lager’. For starters it’s as black as night, so far, so dunkel. And then it hits you with loads of chocolate aroma and flavour. Colour me confused and happy. If I hadn’t read Lager on the can I would’ve put money on it being a stout. Enjoyable anyway, whatever you want to call it. 

Staying strange, check out the artwork on Cuvee Des Trolls. The taste? Belgian meh.  

Whiplash’s latest collaboration was with Max Lagers and it rolled of the Irish Craft Canning line on Friday. I was there at the start of the process to witness Alex and JR peeling hundreds of Grapefruit. 

I didn’t help or anything, they had already recruited Shane Edge of West and he looked to have it in hand. Keep an eye out for his blog on Whiplash. Difficult as it is to be impartial here, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that this is superlative. It’s pure breakfast juice goodness and I imagine it’s full of vitamin c. It’s lovely and dry and keeps you coming back for more. And it comes once again wrapped in Sophie De Vere’s amazing artwork. Don’t pass it when you see it. 

Wicklow Wolf lucked upon some Zoso hops and made a Smash (single malt and single hop brew) with it and some Red X malt. This is the only beer in Europe brewed with these hops. It has a Grapefruit aroma and flavour too but that’s from the Zoso hop. It’s a limited run so pick it up while you can. 

We already know that YellowBelly make good Lager. They have a new canning line below in their new brewery in Wexford. Unfortunately this particular can was a little under carbonated, but we’ll put it down to teething problems. They’re putting that artwork on their new t shirts which look deadly. 

And finally YellowBelly’s famous Citra Pale Ale. You know you want it. Goes down very easy on one of these fine evenings we’re having. Definitely one of the best Pale Ales in the country. Cans. They’re the way forward. Sláinte! 

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