It was a cold wet Saturday afternoon in May, a Summer month, but we experienced all four seasons in this one day. After Wayne arrived home from his round of golf, we took off for the afternoon. We decided to go visit O’Briens in Naas as they were hosting their annual craft beer fair. This particular branch is known for its support and range of craft beer, especially with our fellow beer enthusiasts, so we thought it’d be a great opportunity to check it out.
When we arrived there was a great buzz in the store, each table adorned with beer bottles and cans ready to be tasted while manned by the brewers ready to share their story. So up first for us was Dot Brewery from Dublin. It was an absolute pleasure for me to finally meet Shane. We’ve been massive fans of his beers since the beginning of his journey. He had samples of his core range, the new saison and something new. Of course I had to opt for the latter, turns out it was a barrel aged white peach and rum amber. It was absolutely beautiful. Can’t wait for more of that! Sharing a table with Shane, was Whitehag From Sligo. I sampled their american amber ale while Wayne had a sip of their black boar. Both very enjoyable. Check out their website for information on their impending third birthday celebrations. Promises to be a great night.
Over to Cam from Eight Degrees ,based in Cork, to taste their latest releases. Their core range was available to taste, but it was all about new beer for me. Retribution, a limited edition black rye IPA in collaboration with Terrapin Beer Co.was first. This was a gorgeous beer, plenty of sweet fruit aromas with a well balanced fruity flavour turning into a lasting dry pepper finish. If you see it, pick it up. Lemon Drop single hop IPA is their latest beer. Its very refreshing with hints of green tea with a smack of lemon bitterness. Cam was seriously generous with his time and we really enjoyed talking the ear off him.
I spotted Paddy owner/brewer of 12 Acres Brewing from Laois cradling a bottle of their rye IPA and I sauntered over to grab a taste. It has taken the spot of their pale ale as my favourite. Wayne enjoyed sampling the lager. After a brief chat its exciting to hear new beers are in the planning from these guys. Just watch this space.
Michael from Manor Brewing in Wicklow was on hand proudly showing two very interesting looking mini kegs and their newly packaged Mont Pilsner. This was a surprise, a beer that has improved greatly since its first release. This pilsner is now so refreshing and crisp that I would’ve happily drank a pint. In the mini kegs were two new beers we just had to sample. The first was Black is the new orange, an orange infused black lager which was really good. The other was Tall Poppy Syndrome, a belgian ale. Both of these are festival specials and will be available at the upcoming Killarney Beer Fest.
Making our way to the next table, in the corner of my eye I saw new beer from Brehon Brewhouse. It was their pale ale suitably called Fiesta. It was so easy to drink, I think this is going to be a hit. A great citrus aroma with a lovely light mouth feel to it ending in a subtle bitter aftertaste. It makes you dive back in for more. The beer wasn’t available to purchase yet, but we were kindly given a couple of bottles to bring home. Also on offer was their core range. Next to them sharing a table was Wicklow Brewery. I enjoyed a chat with Colm while tasting their weisse beer. They also offered the Hopknut pale ale, which Wayne enjoyed. This was the first time he tried the can version.
We had the pleasure of chatting to Stephen & Gabriel from Treaty City Brewing based in Co Limerick next. Here they were offering samples of their four beers. Two we’ve tried and tested before, but were underwhelmed by a bad bottle at the time. It’s a delight to tell you their IPA and Pale Ale have come on leaps and bounds since they were first released. Their new beers are a lager and a red ale. For me personally the red ale was a little bit sweet and thin but the lager was refreshing and crisp. It really was great fun chatting with these guys. I see more of the IPA in my future.
Brian from Lagunitas happily poured some cappuccino stout into a glass for me. I really enjoyed the smoothness of this beer. Wayne enjoyed a mouthful of brown shugga, i found this a little sweet. We got cans of the new beer, 12th of never, to bring home and try. Cheers to Brian for those. There were a couple of other beers on offer that we had before, Wilco Tango Foxtrot, the ipa and lil sumpin’. Sharing a table with him was Rick from Kinnegar based in Co Donegal with a great selection of bottled beers. We sampled Great Arch, a kölsch style Summery dry-hopped hybrid and Bucket & Spade, their session Rye IPA. They were the only two out of the selection we hadn’t tried before.
We stopped off at Hope Beer from Co Dublin next. I was dying to try their new summer session beer and boy it didn’t disappoint. Possibly the beer of the afternoon for me.I also had a sip of the oatmeal IPA which was a hit back at the Alltech festival. It was great chatting to the guys and cheers for the awesome bottle opener. Next to them sharing a stand were the guys from Killarney Brewing pouring their new Saison that Wayne was raving about, I enjoyed a sample of their IPA, scarlett pimpernel more. The guys were having serious banter with customers and it really added to the atmosphere.
Before heading home and after tasting all the beautiful beers, I spotted some gin! One I both hadn’t heard of or tried. Bonac 24 gin was beautiful and one I’ll happily add to my growing collection of good gin.
All in all it was a super fun afternoon. A really well put together event by the guys from O’Briens. It was great craic engaging with the brewers while sampling the beers. We even bumped into some friends and fellow beer enthusiasts. Check out The Beer Hopster for his thoughts and Craft Beers of Ireland on facebook for his. Roll on next years event.