I don’t know if they had a first birthday party. If they did it was pretty low key. The second birthday party was good craic so I was looking forward to this year’s bash. No, not a toddler, but the White Hag brewery turned three recently and they invited myself and various other bloggers, liggers and friends along to join in with the celebrations.
So I hopped in the car and others boarded trains, planes and skateboards to head for Ballymote. The first thing that struck me was the difference in scale. Men in High Viz vests were directing traffic at the gate and we were directed in to a designated area to check in. Formalities dispensed with we were cordially invited to grab a glass (best festival glass ever? Proper glass natch!) and some tokens and get down to the serious business of drinking beer.
That wasn’t as straightforward as you’d expect. First one had to run a gauntlet of handshakes and hellos. The temerity of them, getting between a chap and the bar. My first was 40FT’s Larger Lager. It had a bit of a papery oxidised thing but it was cold and wet and I made short work of it.
After that I went for Beavertown’s Hawaii-5-Oh, a Hawaiian Pizza Beer, as you do. It was heavy on the smoke and a bit light on the pineapple for me. But I persevered with the smoky beers and was very impressed with Black Donkey’s Bog Fire. This Smoked Rye Saison had a lovely balance of peaty smokiness and rye spice.
After that I had Kinnegar’s Phunk Bucket, a Pale Ale brewed with Brettanomyces yeast. It sure was Phunky, and had a nice tartness to it. I hope it makes it in to bottles. It was time for a food break then and I had some tasty paella. There were a couple of good food offerings and the Indian also smelled great.
I went for something a little different after my grub, MacIvor’s wonderfully named Grow A Pear, a cask aged Perry. It was delicious, crisp and dry. It was the only cider but non beer lovers also had the option of cocktails prepared with Black’s Kinsale Gin. Nice as they looked, I resisted and went for another beer. And another Irish one too! Trouble Brewing’s Silk Road Saison had just been tapped and it was fantastic, really citrussy and refreshing. I’d happily sup a pint of it in a beer garden.
White Hag and Kinnegar’s collaboration The Hare And The Hag was tapped up and was it was tasting as good as I remembered. And my last beer of the evening was Stone’s Americano Stout. It was a big beast of a beer at 8.7% and so the pour was only 250ml. A really good coffee Stout to serve as my night cap. I had a few sips of some other beers too but with the variety on offer I resigned myself to the fact that I could only drink so much.
Thanks to White Hag for hosting such an enjoyable event. I had a great time talking to brewers, various social meeja types and a lot of sound heads. Sláinte!