On Saturday all roads led to Ballymote for White Hag’s fourth birthday bash. A few even arrived by rail and by air. There was a great buzz outside as we waited to be let in.

Inside I picked up a glass and tokens and was greeted by Barry, a Galway based Cicerone trained server who had volunteered to help out at the event. I wet my whistle with a drop of the rather tasty Black Pig Stout from White Hag. Man, that lad can pour a beer like nobody’s business!

I met Twig from Canvas outside the main doors. He was delighted to be pouring his first commercially available beers at Hagstravaganza. I tried Raspberella, a lovely light and fruity Ale, this brewery is one to watch.

I stuck with fruity low ABV beers for my next one, Malmö Brewing Co’s Berrybarb Pie which was a Florida Weisse (yeah, new one on me too) with Raspberry, Rhubarb and Vanilla. It was nice and tart, lovely colour too!

I met lots of my beery brothers and sisters, brewers, bloggers and general beer lovers and we had mighty craic.

Irish craft beer festival

I went for Wild Beer’s Geuze Style Blend 18 after that…a cracking beer but the best fun was hearing everyone trying to pronounce ‘gueuze’ correctly! I went a bit more mainstream then with Cloudwater’s DDH Pale Citra. It tasted a bit boring after the full on taste workout I had just put my palate through so I’ll have to try that one again someday to give it a fair shout.

The two piece were providing some rather pleasant background noise in the form of a rake of Neil Young covers. No complaints from me on that score.

It was time to up the proverbial ante so I turned the dial up to 10% with Northern Monk’s Moobing On Up. As many of us present were sporting well cultivated moobage I’m sure this was a popular choice.

I took a wee break then for a burger and some water. I may be getting sensible in my old age. I finished off with the Galway Bay Uliltje collaboration brew, High Viscosity, a Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout with Stroopwaffles. It was delicious, chewy, malty and soupy. All of the pours were 150ml which meant that I was not messy at all. I had to make my excuses and leave the festival then, but not before picking up a take away bottle of White Gypsy’s Scarlet and a couple of Noisy Nuts. I headed in to Sligo to meet up with my family in the Swagman where I enjoyed some chicken wings with a pint of Kinnegar’s Crossroads.

And then I met some friends from the Midlands who were going to a gig in the Model arts centre. Fuzzy Hell and Woven Skull played very memorable sets and I had a couple of cans of White Hag’s Little Fawn to complete the evening. Fair play to the team involved in organising this year’s Hagstravaganza. It should be noted that I was an invited guest of White Hag. Looking forward to Hagstravaganza 5 in 2019. Sláinte!

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