Grainne Ale Festival has been running at Westport House since 2013 and it only took ten years for me to get there. (It hasn’t been on all the time, just one weekend a year like, barring certain recent events. ) It is beside Gracy’s Pizzeria and Restaurant and I think it is fair to say they’ve got it well sorted at this point with a nice sized marquee and even a covered stage for the musicians. I was happy to see Mr Whippy’s Soundsystem too, apparently he’s a regular feature. The first person I met when I arrived was Cillian from Mescan and he decided that I was going to kick off with their 8.5% Westport Extra, a Belgian Style (sure, aren’t they all) Golden Ale. So I was off to a great start. They also had little cubes of local cheese from Dozio which really enhanced the Belgian vibes.
Last week in Mullingar Conor from Reel Deel just happened to mention their Hop Dog, brewed with fresh Mayo grown Fuggles, which was going to be pouring exclusively at this festival. Not that I needed an excuse. It was really lovely. Not fancy, just straight forward and enjoyable company, like the lads.
A few of the lads had recommended Lough Gill’s Pain and Perfection Mango Passionfruit Pastry Sour, I went instead for their Helles Lager (pictured), as I had to work my way up to it. When I eventually was ready, I was very pleasantly surprised. It was sweet but there was balance with some refreshing bitterness too.
It was good to see Michaela and Richard from Black Donkey again. And I enjoyed a Sheep Stealer. I might have even lent a hand for a few minutes pouring. I was talking to John from Lough Measc too and finished up the afternoon with a Gin and Tonic, which made for a nice change of pace. I will definitely have to attend this festival again.
Brehon Brewhouse in Monaghan were hosting a Mary Wallopers gig in their yard Sunday evening and I wasn’t going to miss that. I was happy to see Seany McCleary from Blasta Street Kitchen on the way in, it has been a few years since I was able to get stuck into one of his epic burgers. Perfect soakage material.
I enjoyed a couple of pints of the appropriate for the occasion 3.5% Brehon Seisiún and the Lager before moving on to cans of Imagine and Stout. The lads were having a bit of trouble pouring unfortunately but we didn’t let that dampen our mood. My friend Helen, who wouldn’t be a big beer drinker enjoyed two glasses of the 10% Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Crann Beatha.
If you have not checked out The Mary Wallopers yet then you really should! Their ribald humour is tempered with some very emotive story telling. A very unique event to be sure, we were all lucky to be part of it, fair play to the good people at Brehon Brewhouse. Sláinte!