The second weekend of July saw the return of The Midlands Craft Beer Festival. Now in its third year, held in the beer garden of Don’s Bar in Moate and organized by Simon of Simon Says Beer fame. This year they had a sponsor in Specsavers of Athlone, who provided coupons for a free eye test. Entry in was only five euro and beer tokens were €2.50 each which were also used for food.
It kicked off at 3pm and being the eager beavers we are, we were practically first paying customers in. Straight away I noticed they’d done a lot of work improving what was already a great beer garden. Plenty of comfy chairs, tables and picnic benches surrounded the stage and the marquees which hosted the breweries.
First beer of the day was a can of Whiplash Beer saturate shared between us with me having the more generous serving as poor Wayne was designated driver as usual. I think by now we all know our love of this beer, so no words are really necessary! You may be thinking that’s a strong start, but there was a slight issue with electricity which led to the coolers not being on so the beer pouring was warm. That was sorted out pretty swiftly by Dave from Trouble Brewing.
Next to the lads of Whiplash was Olan from Dan Kellys Cider. He had all three variations of their cider in bottle form. Wayne sipped their single variety while I enjoyed their original version. While drinking this beautiful cold liquid we enjoyed a chat and plenty of laughs with Olan, Alex and Alan.
We skipped on over to the other side which housed St. Mels, Rascals and newcomers Dead Centre Brewing. Rascals were pouring Yankee, their white IPA and their strawberry vanilla shake. We chose the later, I was feeling a bit iffy about it as I never really enjoyed it before. But after tasting it again for about the fourth time I was pleasantly surprised by it. Whatever you guys did to improve the recipe really worked.
Trouble Brewing were pouring their India Pale Lager called Remix but it was their American Amber, Stagediver I went for. It’s been a while since I had a beer from these guys and this beer didn’t disappoint. Just made me want to revisit beers from them again. Dying for a bit of sabotage!
Time for food! The offerings were pizza, cheese burger or a pulled pork bap. Wayne devoured the cheeseburger while I salivated over the pulled pork. Both were extremely tasty. The BBQ sauce on the pork was absolutely gorgeous and the chef wouldn’t share his secret no matter how much I asked. They were super friendly guys and we had great craic talking to them. I will admit, the pizzas did look good too.
At this stage I grabbed a pouring of whiplash body riddle pale ale and sat down to enjoy the music and chat to some friends. There was a great atmosphere created by the musicians that were playing, but also the people in attendance. It was great to catch up with so many beer folk we know. We shared many a laugh and enjoyed some great chats!
Next up I sauntered over to Liam from Dead Centre Brewing as I noticed a crowd gathering around him. He was pouring for the very first time and the beer was absolutely beautiful. His oatmeal pale ale called That Magnificent Beast! A very fitting name and needless to say it went down a treat and didn’t last very long. This is one to look out for guys! Definitely a highlight of the day for me.
Another new beer pouring at the festival was from St Mels. Their black IPA is called A New Dawn so I went for a glass. It was very tasty indeed! They were also pouring their pale ale which is also a great beer.
Another highlight for me was pulling a few beers for whiplash, while the lads had a bit of craic themselves. Got to have lots of fun with people and have a few samples myself. Plus the Mc Gargles lil bangin was on top form too!