My maiden visit to the Sunflower.

On Saturday evening I happened to be in Belfast and I let two of my Twitter beer buddies know that I was planning a visit to the Sunflower. My first.

Roy Quare Swally was waiting for me and selected Bullhouse’s Road Trippin’. This was an absolutely gorgeous juicy Pale Ale.

I stayed relatively local with the tasty Heaney’s Irish Pale Ale and Farmageddon’s IPA. Apparently Farmageddon’s tap room was in full swing the same evening but time wasn’t on my side. Next time. There was a trad session in full swing on the night which added to the lively atmosphere. There was also some proper Pizza baking in a wood fired oven in the beer garden. There were a couple of decent beers on draught too including old favourite Kinnegar’s Scraggy Bay. I can’t recommend a visit to the Sunflower enough. According to the lads this kind of a spot was unimaginable just a few years ago. On my way back south I stopped at Drinklink and picked up a few cans, including a few more Bullhouse beers. We then visited our friends. They had also picked up several of the same beers for me in Drinklink. I didn’t grumble. Sláinte!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Where was I? Oh yes, Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair 2019!

The sixth Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair took place over the weekend in the Convention Centre Dublin. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to attend all of them and have been behind the Rye River bar for the last three events. On the Thursday evening we were delighted to see Alltech’s Gearoid Cahill approaching us with nineteen medals including Gold for our Grafters IPA and Best in Category for McGargles Daragh’s Grapefruit Session IPA. The brewers are a great group of lads! We also had a few festival specials pouring including the well received Hop Colossus and Fobby’s Oakily Smokily Grodziskie. Which tasted like a gobfull of Rancheros!

Brewer Bill and I snuck into the media room for the tasting there, I was surprised at how much I liked the Míl Gin and Tonic can. And Joe Donnelly from Rascal’s gave good entertainment value for money. Even when he wasn’t presenting!

Other than that I didn’t stray too far from our bar on the Thursday or Friday. It was great to have the lovely lads from Ballykilcavan as neighbours!

First thing Saturday afternoon I said I’d check out a few other bars around the place. Loudons are a fairly new draught only brewery in east Clare. I enjoyed their Australian Pale Ale which reminded me of the time that Coopers was one of the few ‘craft’ choices available.

And then I was kindly brought over Bridewell’s two special beers, brewed to commemorate the centenary of the first non stop transatlantic flight. Bottles are available in Supervalu Clifden if you find yourself over that way. The Navigator Brown Ale would go nicely with a whiskey according to Whiskey Nut who wasted no time at all getting his own blog up!

So I juggled and shared the three beers.

So Whiskey Nut and I took a walk around. I liked Porterhouse’s light, floral Smash, the Hunter malt made it interesting.

My buddy Ian showed us some whiskey that wasn’t being opened yet, the big tease. And I forgot to go back to their bar when it was opened!

Brewdog’s Brutalism Brut IPA was very easy to drink a pint of, I only asked for a taste…

Sure you’d have to try Lough Gill’s Chuckee Larmz, it’s probably actually healthier than the similarly named / packaged cereal.

I sampled some Cornude popcorn, the tikka masala was epic. Speaking of food, over the weekend I was sustained by a couple of Kono pizza cones, a Pie Man chicken and sausage pie and a rake of Barry John’s sausages. Cheers for looking after me guys!

So, yeah, I guess you could say I had a good day Saturday. (Once again stealing a pic from Tara!)

All credit due to Alltech for putting on another very well organised and fun event. Sláinte!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Craft Beer Rising and other Stories!

CBR London

Last weekend I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to represent Rye River at London’s Craft Beer Rising event. Myself and Head Brewer Bill landed over there the evening before and we got things off to a start with a few quiet ones.

The next morning we breakfasted at Dishoom. It came highly recommended, and rightly so, we had to return another morning too.

We were pouring Miami J for the first time in 2019 so we did have to do some quality control sampling. We also had our collaboration beers with Hillstown; Delusional White Stout and Caber Toss Wee Heavy. The virgin oak barrel aged Delusional was delicious with a lovely coffee quality to it.

I stuck with the stouts and loved a Blueberry one from Saugatuck.

During the interval some of us made the short walk to an underground festival organised by Kill the Cat bottle shop. I enjoyed some beers from Whiplash and Deya but I’m not sure if I’m cool enough to hang around in unused toilets though.

I began the following day with Hillstown’s Blueberry Sour. Now that’s a breakfast smoothie. All I needed was some waffles.

I knew we were planning on visiting Five Points on Friday afternoon so I warmed up with the well named JUPA.

Myself and Bill headed to Five Points along with the lads from O Brother and Open Gate. And cold cans of IPA were waiting for us.

Ben did a great job of making us feel welcome and showing us around. Afterwards we hit the Penbury Tavern across the road for a pint of Pils and some Pizza. Cool spot.

Then it was straight back to the grindstone.

Where Don Letts was djing. Which was nice.

The next morning Kevin from Hillstown tapped up Beer Hut’s Boombox. It’s always good to start the day with an 8% DIPA and this was one very drinkable example.

I found a few more beers around the place to try. I liked Harbours Helles and Cotswolds Imperial Pilsner.

And that was a wrap. Myself and Bill rounded it off with a couple of small beers in Mother Kelly’s before heading to the airport. It was a great but tiring few days. Big thanks to Get ‘Er Brewed for having us on the Crisp Malt stand. Sláinte!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Dry January or Tryanuary? Here’s a place you can do both!

Dry January is a relatively modern phenomenon in which folk swear off the demon drink in an attempt to undo some of the damage they have inflicted upon their body temples over the Christmas party season. I’m not into it myself.

Tryanuary started in 2015 and it aims to encourage people to get out and try new beers in different pubs. In a fairly quiet time of year I’m sure the hospitality sector welcomes any new custom.

I was reading The Times (Ireland Edition) on the 4th of January and I spotted an article on High Nelly, a coffee shop, bar, bicycle shop and museum. And I wasn’t going to be very far away from it.

I know that you’re thinking this place would be pure hipsterville, and maybe if it was in a big city or in somewhere like Portland, Oregon, it would be. But they don’t do hipster stuff in Pallasgreen. Our welcome was genuine and warm and the place was, dare I say it; quaint.

You can get de-alcholised wine and cheese if you’re ‘doing’ Dry January. They also do a tasty home made soup and offer a range of sandwiches and cakes. The house draught Lager is brewed locally by Treaty City.

So I went with that, a very enjoyable crisp, fresh pint it was too. All the more so because of the tap with handlebars!

So, if you fancy trying somewhere new or you’re in the market for a bike you should pay a visit to High Nelly. Even if you’re not into Tryanuary or Dry January… Sláinte!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2018 – The Best Beery Bits!

Irish Craft Beer Can

In 2018 I was pretty lazy with this blog but I was busy with work, life and beer. The lines got blurred and some of my beer highlights were while working, which is lucky for me I suppose! Anyway, here’s a look back at some standout beers, bars and events. One of the first beers that stood out was Trouble Brewing’s Protect Ya Neck, a Wu Tang Clan inspired milkshake of an IPA. I enjoyed it and hopefully it will show up again in the summer of 2019.

YellowBelly’s Kellerbier was another highlight from the early part of the year. It helped me to embrace my Viking heritage.

I had my last pint of Independent beer in Guy’s bar in Clifden as they were one of the casualties of 2018, the baton is passed to Bridewell to keep the flag flying in Connemara.

Spring saw two London breweries land over here, Five Points and Gypsy Hill. I’ve probably had more of the Five Points during the year as I came across them. Solid beers.

In the freak snow myself and my buddies hunkered down in our hut with Rascal’s Flanders Red which warmed us right up.

In work we launched the first in an exciting series of Rye River special brews. The Belgian Imperial Stout was lovely.

And the next day we had the Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair. I always enjoy this event and 2018 was no exception. Looking forward to 2019 when it takes place right before St. Patrick’s Day.

In early April I was in the north of Italy. Il Covo Beer House was a great surprise find. If you’re near Peschiera Del Garda you need to check it out.

In May my friends helped me celebrate my 40th, we enjoyed a keg of Daragh’s Session IPA in the sun.

Also in May I enjoyed meeting Giles from Wild Beer in 57 The Headline where he guided us through a tasting of their beers.

And then there was the time I gave Leo Varadkar some Miami J at Bloom. He liked it too.

Kinnegar put out some great cans this year. They tasted every bit as good as they looked.

In June I was at my friend’s wedding in the Czech Republic where I had one or two Lagers.

Speaking of Lager, Larkin’s Helles went down very nicely indeed at the Harbour Brewha. That was a cool small festival, hopefully Mark ‘Antrim Man’ Molloy is going to organise it again in 2019.

The BrewDog Cinematic Circus was an interesting event during the summer where I was able to try their Overworks sours for the first time.

My own small event, the Midlands Craft Beer festival was good craic as always. I think Liam from St. Mel’s even enjoyed it. Planning for 2019 will commence shortly. It’ll be the 5th year of the event.

On a slightly different scale, the annual trip to Ballymote for Hagstravaganza was great fun with some lesser spotted beers to sup.

I enjoyed a few of Dot Brew’s Fridge Art over the Summer.

The Big Grill was a feast of barbecue and beer, and the weather was good for the most part which was a bonus.

I finally made it in to the Guinness Open Gate brewery where I was able to try their rather good Belgian inspired brews and the collaboration with Timmermans.

The Irish Craft Beer Festival got a bit of a needed shake up and was moved to the Leinster Cricket Grounds in Rathmines. I think the event benefited from the changes to scale and venue.

Dead Centre’s Moondust showed that there was more to them than just Pale Ales and IPAs, looking forward to the brew pub opening in February 2019.

I visited Mother Mac’s in Limerick for the first time. It’s a cool spot, worth checking out.

In November I was in Belgium. Billie’s in Antwerp was probably my favourite spot.

To round the year off I organised some tap takeovers with Rye River and McGargles beers. The first was in November in one of the coolest bars in Dublin – Underdog.

I enjoyed doing a Beer Advent Calendar.

And the final event of the year was the tap takeover in The Salt House, Galway which just happens to be one of my favourite pubs . . . ever! There’s one coming up in Abbots Ale House in January for all of the Cork beer fans.

Thanks for joining me on this journey, 2019 is looking like another great year of beer. Happy New Year and Sláinte!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment