The All Ireland Craft Beer Festival: Part One

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I said I’d try something new this year. Instead of last year’s ‘must try all of the specials’ trolley dash around the RDS, I’d pace myself. So I went in, had a look around, chatted to a few people I know and THEN had a beer. I started off with a super fresh IPA from Yellow Belly which was consumed while perusing issue one of the comic the Simon Lambert gang produced. Pick one of each up, they’re excellent.

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I had heard that one to try was the new Brigid’s Ale from Two Sisters Brewery. Mrs Maltcracker was tending the stand while the eponymous sisters were launching their beer in The Salt House. She did a great job of telling me the story behind the beer. It’s as Kildare as possible with Minch Malt, honey from their family hive, water from Brigid’s well and it was brewed at Trouble Brewing. The beer is malty and bittersweet and I could picture someone drinking it from one of those lovely mugs a couple of hundred years ago.

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I’d met Alain Dekoster from Radik Ale for the first time outside before the festival started and promised to call over and try his Curious Brew. It’s a beer made with fourteen gin botanicals. He told me what some, but not all, of the ingredients were and they included,  lemon peel, coriander and, of course, juniper. The beer is aptly named but it didn’t take me too long to figure out that I liked it!

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Next I went up to the colourful Kinnegar stand to try their Geuzeberry. It’s tart, refreshing and delicious. They also had a few syrups concocted by their friends in the Rathmullan House kitchen to add to your drink if you wished. I drank half of my half straight and then added some rhubarb to what was left. I had a mouthgasm. You can also add elderflower or ‘Football Special’. (It’s a Donegal thing!)

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Then I had to head back in to the city centre to meet my friend Tony who is kindly putting me up. He was in The Front Lounge with his work pals and I was happy to see one of the festival beers, O’Hara’s Hop Heavy IPA was on draught so I had one of those to finish off the evening. We’re going back to the festival again today. There’s another hundred and ninety odd beers to try but I think I’ll use the same approach again as I enjoyed myself and I don’t have a sore head this morning. Sláinte!

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