Craft Beer Days 2019

Do you remember the last time I was in Hamburg? Well I do! And when the boss asked if I’d be willing to go to Craft Beer Days again I didn’t hesitate before agreeing…

This time though I planned the trip a little better, arriving a day early to check out a few places other than the fantastic Altes Mädchen. My first stop was Galopper Des Jahres which was only a ten minute walk from the main event. My first beer was an IPL – Prototyp, from local brewery Kehrwieder. Nice pub, decent beer, I was off to a good start.

And then to Altes Mädchen for the pre festival warm up. I really liked their New Era Dry Hopped Pilsener and White IPA Matrosenschluck. Despite the difficulty in ordering it!

Later that evening myself and my new pal Funs went to check out ÜberQuell near the docks. I went with their SupaDupa IPA and Funs had their Wheat IPA. This was a grand spot that I’d say would have been hopping if we hadn’t gone in ten minutes before closing time. Then we rejoined the group in the rather appropriately named Tipsy Baker.

The next day Peter and I were stationed behind the bar with several McGargles beers pouring. Francis Big Bangin’ IPA was particularly well received and we were kept busy! (Above picture taken by Henning Angerer)

I was told about Schoppe Bräu’s Holy Shit 15% IPA and in the interest of research I had to try it. It was very bitter and had a bit of a burning aftertaste. Great craic altogether.

Nicky from Munich’s And Union (Moycullen, Co. Galway originally), Funs from La Trappe and I honestly didn’t share beard care tips.

The next day I started off sensibly with BrewDog’s newish Punk AF. Clever name aside; I didn’t fall in love with it.

And Union’s Steph Weiss tasted lovely on what was turning out to be a warm (31c) sunny Sunday.

I tried a few of Sudden Death’s beers over the weekend, including the very enjoyable Sour IPA Skull Crusher. Great bunch of lads with very cool artwork.

La Trappe’s Barrel Aged Quadruple was beautiful. Pick up a bottle if you see it.

And that was just about it, bar clearing up and some post festival beers and food. It has to be said the food in Altes Mädchen is consistently great and the staff were extremely friendly and helpful. Craft Beer Days was a great, well run event, thanks to Volker and Berit for inviting us…who knows, I could be back soon. Sláinte!

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The Big Weekend

So…The Big Grill happened. And I was there, every day. Luckily Shane from Dot was also there and he had just the thing to get a lad ready for a festival action. Stout, coffee and ice cream, that’s three of the main food groups, right?

At the end of day one I went to pay my first, long overdue, visit to The Big Romance. There were some beers on from Jackie O and Other Half, and it was a Velvet Underground night so I was happy out.

Day two and myself and Peter were behind the Rye River bar pulling those lovely McGargles beers…and the Rye River Seasonal – Jigsaw DDH IPL which went down really well.

Friday evening I went to Blackbird, Rathmines for a post shift pint. Oisin was behind the bar and we got chatting and he told me about An Irish Impeachment. He was one of a lucky few who were able to go to Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp. The resulting beer was very tasty and I recommend trying it before it’s all gone! Shout out to Johnny too, sound crew in Blackbird.

On Saturday we poured Marcos’ Basil Belgian Witbier from our pilot kit. It was pleasingly dry and savoury.

My neighbours for the weekend were Black Donkey and their Bog Fire smoked Saison was excellent.

Black’s Chocolate Napalm Chilli Stout delivered exactly what was promised on the tap badge with velvety sweetness up front and a burning ticklish afterglow.

Wicklow Wolf’s Fuzzy Logic was quite good and the first batch of Elevation from their new brewery was on form.

Dan Kelly’s love bringing something different to The Big Grill and their American Pie ticked all of the boxes, Blueberry and Bourbon made this one a perfect dessert cider.

And I made the mistake of calling Kinnegar’s Little Rickey Little Mickey! Actually, I wonder why no one has ever called a beer Little Mickey? This one was a nicely refreshing Lime and Basil sour anyway, whatever you want to call it.

Sunday came and Steve’s Smoked Porter came with it…

This one went down a treat with the meaty morsels and smokey smells of barbeque that were in the air.

And for something completely different I tried some of Kinsale’s Hazy Summer Mead. I enjoyed this and the next time I’m in Kinsale I will be paying them a visit to try their special that’s made with local honey.

Brand new Rye River Seasonal The Knot DDH IPA also made the first public appearance over the weekend. I think it was tasting whopper but I’m very biased! Keep an eye out for this one…

And thus finished a long but enjoyable weekend at The Big Grill, I’m only the better of it now. Sláinte!

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A busy day…

The day started out badly. Trust me. But don’t worry about that, it got steadily better. Until the very end. I was kindly invited by Padraig Fox to attend Meatopia in the Open Gate Brewery. Vegans and vegetarians should probably stop reading now…

Malcolm Lee was being interviewed on stage when we arrived and he spoke about his food and the food scene in Singapore. His was the first stall that you met and his pork shoulder skewers were delicious. The lovely Singaporean Tea Pilsner helped offset some of the heat from the spices.

Next we tried Kwame Onwuachi’s very tasty short rib and lamb.

My wife really enjoyed Anna Haugh’s Chicken Boudain.

Inside we tried the Grilled Pineapple which wasn’t part of the Meatopia event but came highly recommended by Caoimhe O’Brien. Great shout Caoimhe.

I also rather liked the Maritime Stout which contained molluscs apparently! All told, a very good afternoon was had, cheers to the Open Gate crew for looking after us.

Most normal people think one festival a day is plenty. But sure look…next stop The Harbour Bar in Bray for the second day of the Harbour Brewha! O Brother’s Bale Out tasted great on the warm summers evening that was in it.

I was glad to get to try Larkin’s draught only Amber Lager; The Drayman Cometh! This is a pretty rare style here but I like it for a change.

For the second weekend on the trot I found myself drinking Wicklow beers, this time I opted for their Black 16 Stout. Maybe someday this one will make it into bottles.

Quincey from Wicklow Wolf was giving me major shirt envy! There was almost as many hops on the shirt as there were in their new IPA; Matty Baby, which was brewed with their friends from Belfast’s Boundary. He noted that despite it being 7.5% I made pretty quick work of it.

Fair play to Mark ‘Antrim Man’ Molloy and The Harbour Bar yet again for a small but craicing local event.

On a slightly bigger scale we then went to the Iveagh Gardens as my better half wanted to have a little shimmy to Jenny Greene. And I had a flat white.

A quick visit to Underdog then for a night cap…Northern Monk’s Even More Death seemed appropriate being a bit like boozy melted dark chocolate. And then back to retrieve our car…where an over enthusiastic security guard told us we were ‘trespassing’. Misunderstanding sorted, we headed home, no, I wasn’t driving! Hopefully I’ll see some of you this weekend in Moate. Sláinte!

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Three breweries, four days…

Sunday was Father’s Day so the whole family went to Explorium to torture me upon a bed of nails and make me dizzy in the gravity room. After all of that exertion I was in want of a pint so we stopped off at Rascal’s HQ on our way home. I called for a Born Sippy Lager to start with…this one could really be called Born Gulpy but that’d kill the pun…it was very easy to drink.

The pizza was much better than the hacked up badly filtered picture would lead you to believe.

And I was delighted to have The Boss for dessert. This 8.2% DIPA was brewed with the YellowBelly crew and it ticks all of the boxes! My only regret was missing Joe Donnelly on the wheels of steel the night before to mark the launch of the beer. I would’ve worn one of my Joy Division t-shirts. Also, I didn’t realise how accessible the place is, so, I have no excuse not to visit again…

The following day, myself and brewer Bill headed to Lock 13 for lunch. We were able to sample the collaborative brew, Dean from Rye River joined them recently and the resulting beer: Beauty is in the Eye of the Beerholder is being canned this week. Keep an eye out for the cans! It’s always great to catch up with Barry, Serge and Rob and you’re guaranteed great food…

On Wednesday morning I was supposed to be a yeast mule but that didn’t pan out. I was very happy though to get a quick look at Ballymahon’s Wide Street Brewing. I found Sean, Dave and Carla busy canning their second beer, a Grisette, by hand! Long time readers of this blog may remember the time Dave accompanied me on a few brewery tours…little did he know what was coming down the line! In fact, we visited St. Mel’s almost five years ago, link

In an coincidental move The Beer Nut has already published a blog with some of the beers mentioned. If you want to read more words you can do so here!

It’s great to see so many new beers coming out, make sure and try a few of them. Sláinte!

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Brews at Bloom 2019

Bloom’s annual flowers and food bash in the Phoenix Park took place over the weekend. Many years ago I discovered that there was plenty of beer on offer in the Bloom Inn and I’ve served behind the Rye River bar for the last three events. This year I didn’t have to drive every day and so I was able to sample a few beers as well as our own. I visited fellow midlands man Liam to try some of his St. Mel’s Fire 1864 Lager. This is a Pilsner as opposed to St. Mel’s core range Helles Lager. It’s nice and crisp but I probably prefer the Helles myself. Check it out if you’re in Fire on Dawson Street.

The next bar belonged to Howth’s Hope and I had a drop of their fourteenth Limited Edition brew, a juicy India Pale Lager with lots of soft fruity flavours. Pick up a can of this if you see it.

Porterhouse had A LOT of beers pouring. Over the weekend I tried a small drop of their Milkshake IPA which I found a bit cloying and also their 3.2% Be-Low IPA. I could manage a couple of pints of that one!

And then I had something completely different from Dundalk’s Brewmaster: Romanov Imperial Stout. It was an 8% roasted malt, dark chocolate flavoured beer that would I’m sure taste much better beside the fire on a dark evening.

And keeping it malty, I had some of Ballykilcavan’s reliable Red Ale; Brickyard. Joe also brought me over some of his Brown Coffee Ale and that was very tasty. I also tried Boyne’s cleverly named Et Tu Brut? IPA. I’m not running away with this particular beer trend but this wasn’t a bad example if you like your IPAs dry.

Beer brothers

The lads from Mescan were in flying form all weekend and at one stage they forced me to join their band of beer brothers! Their Special Reserve was beautiful too.

It wasn’t all beer though, I had half a look at half of the gardens and I got to try a Micil Mule, made with Poitin that was distilled using a traditional family recipe. You can check out their distillery now in Galway!

Thanks everyone who was friendly and sound, it made the five days a bit easier. Sláinte!

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