Last night Alltech held their launch for next years International Craft Brews & Food Fair in Ely, Dublin. I was happy to be invited along. Well I was happy when I found the right Ely, having stopped at the one in CHQ first. I was still in time for proceedings though!
On arrival I was handed a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale which is of course aged in bourbon barrels. An accompaniment of 28 day aged steak with bearnaise sauce was on hand to provide some soakage. This beer is Alltech’s most popular and with good reason, it is beautifully balanced and you’d forget it was over 8% as it goes down very easily. Next on the menu was the Kentucky IPA which was paired with some gouda (I’m pretty sure it was gouda, it was good cheese). It’s a very drinkable IPA, not wildly hoppy but not bad at all.
In between beers there was the opportunity to sample the Pearse Lyons Reserve malt whiskey. Dr Pearse Lyons is the founder of Alltech. He came from a brewing background and applied his knowledge to great success in the world of agriculture before returning to his first passions of brewing and distilling. This malt whiskey was the first to be produced in Kentucky since 1919! It’s oaky with a hint of vanilla and really has to be tried.
Town Branch Bourbon was next on the menu and I enjoyed it with some blue cheese. The sweetness of the bourbon was complimented perfectly by the cheese. I am not the biggest fan of bourbon since my younger days drinking a certain well known brand but this could well win me over.
Alltech’s Aisling Worth demonstrated how to make a proper winter warmer with Bluegrass Sundown a bourbon infused coffee liqueur. It’s like an Irish coffee but the bourbon means it’s a little sweeter than you might expect. I know I am going to be called upon to make a few of these over the Christmas.
Finally I had a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout it’s an imperial stout with a great coffee aroma. It went very well with a chocolate brownie and made a perfect finish to the evening’s events.
The next Alltech International Craft Brews & Food Fair takes place in the Convention Centre, Dublin from the 6th to the 8th of February 2014. Day one is intended for people in the business but the next two days are open to everyone. There are expected to be fifty different breweries and over fifteen artisan food producers present. There will be food pairings similar to the ones described above and other ‘sensory experiences’! Get along there, I guarantee you will enjoy yourself.
The Kentucky Ale, IPA and Stout are available nationwide in O’brien’s and other off licences. The Pearse Lyons Reserve Malt Whiskey and Bluegrass Sundown are in the Celtic Whiskey Shop (near St Stephen’s Green) and they’re not quite as expensive as you’d expect. Great ideas for Christmas presents.