…and THAT was indeed a Great Irish Beer Festival!

Wow. That was a serious weekend. I was working at The Great Irish Beer Festival for three days. Beer, music and O’Flynn’s Sausages. What more could you ask for? After we got the McGargles bar ready Richard Black Donkey gave me a taste of his special Ballinlougher Weisse. He proudly declared ‘…no false provenance here!’Staying fruity I had a drop of Wicklow’s Peach and Apricot Saison followed by Torc’s Raspberry and Vanilla Sour. They called this one North Main Brews, it was a collaboration with Mike from venerable Cork institution Bradley’s. Yes, it did taste like Raspberry Ripple! I made a point of calling in to the office licence while I was in Cork, it’s one of the very best in the country.  

Thursday evening Crow Black Chicken wowed the crowd with their blues rock. Marcus from Reel Deel was enjoying them immensely. They reminded him of growing up in the 70s. I tried West Cork’s Sherkin Lass IPA which wasn’t bad at all and I had Boundary’s Pale Ale which was outstanding. (I really liked West Cork’s old school bottles but didn’t buy one, or even take a picture, d’oh!) We all ended up in the Bierhaus after finishing for the evening and I had a glass of Galway Bay’s slightly controversial Rhubarb and Sloe Sour. It was grand. I think we have all built up too many expectations for these beers because of the novelty factor of revered brewery Cigar City coming over here to make beer.  

Friday we started off with a lovely spot of brunch in Idaho Café. And my second breakfast was Rising Sons El Presidente. A Weetabix, Blueberry and Coffee Stout. It worked very well. I really liked Rascal’s Pacific Secret. Juicy. I tried 9 White Deer’s new IPA which was decent. Danny from Yellow Belly tried to kill me with a pint of the 8.3% Imperial English IPA Queen Lizzie. A pint of it is way too much so I cleverly shared that one with a few of my neighbours. At the other end of the scale I tried Dungarvan’s Dark and Mild, I reckon a good Mild is hard bet. King Kong Company put on a fun and theatrical show. We finished off Friday at the official after party in Rising Sons where we were treated to delicious Pizza and pints. 

Saturday came and we were up and raring to go. We arrived at City Hall at whole two hours early. Coffee was had. Later in the afternoon I tried Wicklow’s Vale of Shadows. It was a really good Black IPA. Speaking of which, Mountain Man’s Raised by Wolves is a Cascadian IPA that’s not black. I was massively confused. Still, it was tasty!

I had a wee drop of Yellow Belly’s Club Tropicana and For Whom The Sour Trolls. The Wexford brewery is slaying the sours. I had White Gypsy’s timely Oktoberfest while watching The Frank And Walters. Festival special beer coupled with catchy tunes, happy days. 

The food scientists gave me some of their White Gypsy Russian Imperial Stout Icecream with ginger cake and butterscotch sauce. Hash tag: all the noms! 

Then it was time to tear down and head for a few final beers in Abbot’s Ale House. Before anyone asks, yes, I did do some work, Francis Big Bangin’ IPA was very well received by the Cork festival crowd. I am already looking forward to 2017 but am glad to be back home tonight. Fair play to all concerned for a very nicely put together event. Sláinte! 
*I ‘borrowed’ the picture at the top of Liam and I from The Great Irish Beer Festival Facebook page. 

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