Alltech International Craft Brews and Food Fair – February 2014 – A sneak peek.

This Tuesday just gone I was fortunate enough to be invited to the official launch of the upcoming Alltech International Craft Brews and Food Fair, which will be running in the Convention Centre in Dublin from Thursday 6th February until the Saturday 8th February. The website is 

As we all know this will be the second Alltech event following on from a very successful showing in July of this year. There are some differences for next year though, which will be great to see, more brewers hopefully, more sensory space and lots of artisan food to go with that crafted beer. And thus this was the theme of the night – matching craft beer & spririts with food.

Upon arrival we were greated by the great Alltech team there on the night with a little present, a nice bottle opener, and handed a glass of draught Kentucky Bourbon Ale, much nicer on draught than in bottle form I found. Matched with a 28 Day Old Ribeye from the Boyne Valley. I went with pepper sauce! Personally I felt the Bourbon ale dominated the succulent flavour of the beef. But there was mixing and matching fun to be had this night.

The traditional combo of hops and spice was demonstrated well, when the Kentucky IPA was paired with Garlic and Chilli Prawns. A very natural mix, and was very tasty.

We were also fortunate on the night to have a whiskey, Pearse Lyons Reserve matched with a gubbeen I believe, and a Bourbon, called Town Branch matched with Bellingham Blue Cheese and Guinness Bread.  I confess to being a recovering cheese phobe, but the combination of the sweet bourbon and strong cheese worked well.

For desert we had a Bourbon Barrel Stout with Chocolate Brownie, both very tasty. We mixed them around, and found that the Reserve whiskey went great with the steak, and i liked the bourbon with the brownies too. It just goes to show how peoples tastes can vary. 

My highlight of the night was definitely the Reserve Single Malt, its great to hear they are starting to produce whiskey in Ireland and hopefully they’ll open a distillery in Dublin in the near future. The Bourbon, and Reserve are available in Celtic Whiskey on Dawson St, and Kentucky Beers are widely available nationwide.

We can expect more of the same come February. I can’t wait.

But the night wasn’t over, Ashling Worth of Alltech gave us a demo of a new take on a liquor coffee, only this time, hold the coffee? No I haven’t gone mad, we were also treated to a bottle of Bluegrass Sundown, a Bourbon Liquor infused with coffee and vanilla. You take a measure, add hot water, and cream, and you have a liquor coffee drink with out the trouble of brewing a pot of coffee. You could really taste the coffee with the sweet bourbon, definitely a sweeter option for a winter warmer, or even a post christmas dinner pick me up!

All in all it was a great evening, and the hospitality from Ely Gastropub was second to none, the staff were great, and those little morsels of food were extremely tasty. Not only that, they’ve over 50 craft beers available too.

To Maeve, Ashling and the rest of the team, thank you, and I for one am really looking forward to February.

Tickets will go on sale on in early January, priced at 15 euro each which gets you a souvenir glass to keep, and four tokens to try some beers while you are there. Keep your eyes peeled on their twitter account @alltechbrews for updates.

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