Wild Wet Westmeath. A miserable Saturday afternoon in April saw a horde of mixed fermentation beer enthusiasts gather in the somewhat unlikely spot of Mullingar. I say unlikely, because you would normally be hard pressed to find some of these unusual beers in the Irish Midlands. Thanks to Paul Varley for being brave enough to get this up and running in 2022 and putting it on again this year.
The first beer I tried was Otterbank’s Just The One, a Lambic inspired Pale Ale. He hasn’t got a coolship above in Muff *yet*! But this was a cracker as it was.
I was very much looking forward to trying Many Hands, a combined effort by Wide Street and Land and Labour. In their own words: ‘In 2020 we brewed a turbid mashed
saison which we co-pitched with both of
our mixed cultures and left it to primary
ferment and age in Chardonnay barrels
for a further 2 years where it evolved and
matured. Having spent a further year
conditioning in the bottle we are
delighted to finally release this
celebration of collaboration and
friendship which involved many hands
to brew and package. A light to
medium bodied sour ale with a complex
aroma and balanced funkiness
supported by citrus fruit notes with oak
character playing a supporting role.’ I know that’s cheating but sure look…Anyway, the beer was outstanding. And well worth the wait!
Tom from Land and Labour has been at the mixed fermentation game for a while now and it was great to see him being awarded Best Brewery in Ireland by Beoir. Well deserved recognition. Aibreoga was the only beer I had twice on the day which was an accident, but a happy one. Apricot, tart, beautiful.
It was also great to see beers from our English and Scottish neighbours. Pastore, Little Earth Project, Burning Sky were all represented and Gareth Epochal Young made his way over from Glasgow. I was encouraging him to organise his own festival in Glasgow. It would be a good excuse to go visit!
I was pouring Lives Well Lived, a dark sour that everyone agreed tasted almost exactly like cola cubes. And I was asked to bring a ‘normal’ beer for those in attendance who weren’t yet on the wild beer train so Slow Lives ticked that box.
Pic taken from @ YahtzeeLad on Twitter
So, the beer was great, the craic was massive and it was brilliant to see some people I haven’t seen in a while, and meet some that I only know from various social media things. Well done to all concerned. Sláinte!