Franciscan Well – Cask & Winter Ale Festival 2014

It may just have been St Valentines day, but Janice and I didn’t celebrate this infamous holiday in the traditional manner, oh no, you know at this stage that’s not my style.

The day itself we went on a little pub crawl of the Galway Bay Pubs in Dublin, taking in the new bar Alfie Byrnes which is situated in the basement of the Conrad Hotel. Against the Grain on Wexford St. We then had a fantastic dinner in Bison, a 51oz Cowboy Steak (A Ribeye with the bone in) along with 5 sumptuous sides and a cocktail each for €50.


Cowboy Steak from Bison

  Of course we ended the night with Alan and the crew in Brewdock.

Alas, I digress, on the Saturday we went down to Cork, to visit the 3rd Annual Franciscan Well Cask & Winter Ale Festival 

For those who don’t know Franciscan Well is a Cork based brew pub and brewery who are massive supporters of Irish Craft Beer. Cask is really a niche within a niche of craft beer consumption in Ireland but it offers such a different way to enjoy some of your favourite breweries. There was also some of the newer brewers present on Keg, such as Otterbank with their amazing Farami, Rascals with their award winning Ginger Porter, and N17 with their Rye Ale.

Bru Brewery had 3 of their products on that day, I didn’t see the Dubh, maybe it ran out on the first night, as i’d had a sneak of it previously and its such a great stout on cask. I was really impressed with the which is their west coast IPA. Very bright in colour, a nice malt base that allowed the hops to do their thing with the piney citrus aroma followed by a smooth bitterness. Daire mate you can be truly happy with that as the feedback from everyone I spoke to was great. 

Bru Rí on the Cask Bar

2013 Dublin Cup winner Twisted Hop by Hilden was also here on cask, a lovely straw colour with a white head and great smooth flavour. Trent and Amber both by White Gypsy were both also really good.


Another real standout for me was Hop Magnet by Blacks of Kinsale, fresh off the back of their success at Alltech, they’d brought a fantastic Double IPA to the party. Not long ago Ireland was a wasteland in this style now we have 3 of these. At 8% this is not to be treated lightly, but it like Of Foam and Fury is eminently drinkable despite its ABV. The aroma was nice and you got a great citrus, clementine taste on the tongue as well. Sam already has two great permanent fixtures, be great to see this become the third.

As an aside to the beer, and the proper stone oven cooked pizza provided by Pompeii pizza. There was also a meet the brewer series. I only attented the talks by the utterly inspirational Sarah Roarty who outlined her journey from Industrial Chemist to Brewer, and what her motivations and aims are. Thankfully I didn’t make Sarah cry this time! A truly great story and keep an eye out for N17 Brewing coming to a pub / off license near you. 

I also attended Phil from the Mountain Man who held a great informative Q&A session. One thing is for sure I can’t wait to see your set up at the RDS this year and my offer to man the bar is still there (Better start growing the beard now, or at least get a decent fake one) We also got a sneak peak of the next Mountain Man beer, Crazy Horse, the 100 IBU is delish.

All in all a great day was had, we got the train back to Dublin that evening. I’m already looking forward to this next year where i’m sure it will as great as it was this weekend. Coming up shortly is the Irish Craft Beer Fest in CHQ in March and potentially a return to Franciscan Well for their Easter Fest.



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