Smithwick’s sent me down samples of the two finalists in their homebrew competition to try. They were well wrapped with bubble wrap to prevent breakage and straw for decoration. The labels are endearingly simple.
I started off with Sebastian’s Apple Pie Christmas Ale. This one had apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in the mix. It tasted like walking around a Christmas market. It was rich and warm but I found it a little hard going towards the end, half a bottle would have been enough. It’s 6.7%, so it’s not what you’d call a session beer anyway. That said, I’d say he achieved what he was aiming for.
Brian and Stephen’s Old Town Christmas Ale went down a slightly different road,
Now the political bit. Any time I post anything about ‘macro’ beer I get a bit of flack from the craft beer hardliners. The way I see it, everything isn’t black and white. The competition finalists in this case are made up, I heard an interview with them on the radio! Smithwick’s have stated that they are a smaller operation than say, Sam Adams, which is a little disingenuous, when they are owned by the rather large Diageo.
Wayne ‘Irish Beer Snob’ Dunne reminded me of something we were told at last year’s European Beer Bloggers Conference, ‘There’s no such thing as ‘Craft Beer Bloggers, just Beer Bloggers!’ When Guinness Open Gate bar opened recently the launch was attended by several ‘Irish Craft Beer’ brewers. Despite the fact that Ireland recently topped 100 craft brewing companies , it’s still a relatively small pond. The brewers, both macro and craft all know each other. ( I may be generalising a little but you know what I mean.) So what’s my point? I think I do what I can to promote Irish Craft Beer, here, on Twitter, with Athlone Beer Club and in person. In a conversion with a brewer, a cider maker and a beer distributor this year the sentiment was, a rising tide floats all the boats. If you can get the consumer open to trying something new this is good for everyone. Now again I’m aware I’m over simplifying and the small Irish craft brewers don’t have the same means, marketing budgets and distribution network as Heineken, Diageo and ABINBEVMOLSONCOORSMILLER but that’s beyond my control. I am going to continue doing what I can to promote Irish Craft Beer and if anything happens in the world where macro beer intersects with that I’ll be commenting on that. I hope that’s as clear as a muddy puddle. Thank you for reading. Sláinte!