Alltech was a little different for me this year as I was behind the bar for the first time. My role as Rye River Beer Specialist meant that I served a lot of McGargles’ beers and even managed to answer some questions on Facebook live…It was really great to be part of the team that took home fourteen medals. Bill (the handsome lad in the middle of the picture above) came up with the recipe for the Crafty Brewing Company American Style Pale Wheat and was proudly showing off his prize. And one of the most popular beers of the weekend was the brand new Double Bangin’ IPA which was conceived by brewer Conor. Both won gold best in category. Well done lads! My own favourite is the Little Bangin’ which was Darragh’s baby…I had one or two over the weekend just to make sure it was tasting right.
On the Friday evening I particularly enjoyed the Trouble Brewing Rascal’s collaboration Something Witty. It was brewed with pear and lemongrass and it was subtle and mellow. I also liked the new IPA from 8 Degrees Transpacific. Wicklow Wolf’s Zoso will be popular with fans of Led Zeppelin and Smash IPAs.
I started off Saturday morning chatting to James from Lough Gill and he gave me a taste of his very sessionable Red Ale Anderson’s. He also told me a bit about the history of Anderson’s, a Sligo brewery that once supplied their ales everywhere in Connaught. This is a tribute to that once great brewery.
He also let me try the first in their Rebel Stout series. As you can see it was only a small sample but the beer is a big 11% Imperial Oatmeal and it was only midday! It looks like Lough Gill have some very interesting beers coming in 2017, ones to watch.
Wicklow had their new WB40 on draught and it couldn’t resist the sound of a ‘Dank IPA’! If they start canning it they’re on a winner.
One beer that I was very excited about was the BrewDog Cloudwater collaboration New England IPA. It was grand, but I think my expectations were set too high. Nice soupy one though for fans of opaque beers.
Another of the beers on my list was The Hare and The Hag, an Irish Coffee Nitro Stout from Kinnegar and White Hag. It did exactly what it said on the proverbial tin; milky and sweet with some nice coffee character.
Myself and Sarah ‘5 minutes of’ Finney swung by the Stationworks bar and we tried the Barrel Aged Choco Stout first. I think it was actually aged in a giant drum of Cadbury’s Drinking Chocolate. It had a similar powdery texture too. Weird. But we both agreed their Double IPA was very nice. They should just call it an IPA though as it’s around 6%.
The night was drawing to a close and I wanted to finish on a high so I had Black’s of Kinsale’s barley wine The Irish Giant. This bruiser also clocks in at 11% just like the one from ten hours earlier but I allowed myself a bigger serve as my duties were almost done. It was probably my favourite beer of the weekend (barring McGargles obviously!) There was some fantastic food at the festival too, I enjoyed Pie man’s Steak and Stout pie and Barry John’s curry sausages. And there was some great entertainment too…I may have been heartily singing along with Brass Tacks at one stage. Thanks Alltech for once again putting on a stellar show, see you in 2018. Sláinte!