With beer, a Flagship is the beer that defines a brewery. It’s the one that you immediately think of when you hear the brewery’s name, the one that most people associate with the business. In most cases, it is their best-selling beer and often the one that outsells all their other offerings by a wide margin. A good flagship also allows a brewery to be able to afford the seasonals, specialty beers and the other one-off beers in their lineup.flagshipfebruary.com
As we hurtle towards February, thoughts turn to Flagship February, an initiative brought to us by Stephen Beaumont, Jay Brooks, Porter Hughes, and Eric Warner, where we remind ourselves of THE beers that made us fall in love with certain breweries, Whether it’s Punk IPA, or Anchor Steam, each brewery has a flagship beer. I threw the question out on Twitter for Irish suggestions. So here are some of the standout Irish Flagships, in no particular order here they are. (I was happy to see some of my favourites were mentioned more than once!)
Trouble Brewing – Ambush (Juicy Pale Ale)
Mentioned more than once, and a beer that’s got the ultimate catchphrase, “Lads, I’m Back on the Ambush” courtesy of the legendary John Coote. While this wasn’t one of their original core beers, it’s got to be a flagship now as it’s widely available, and is always in tip top form!
Hope Hop On Session IPA
Lamenting the lack of airport travel in 2020, my usual trick of picking up a pint of Hop On – Hopes delicious session IPA, in the Marquette bar before my flight. However, as a core beer this beer is always widely available and does exactly what it says on the tin. Refreshing, Bitter, and crisp.
Kinnegar – Scraggy Bay
Donegal’s Kinnegar have a great core range and regularly release great specials, one of the most consistent brewers in the country. Scraggy bay was always a beer if i saw it on draught anywhere, i’d have it, then when they canned it, it became a staple in the fridge. Delicious IPA. Though some would argue for Crossroads, I feel this is a suitable beer to call a flagship.
O’Hara’s – Leann Follain
Straight up OG Stout from Carlow Brewing Company. Rock solid, dependable, and blooming tasty as. A beer that reminded me how good a stout can be. People might argue for O’Hara’s Pale Ale, but this is a much better beer from their stable imo. Widely available and very good value for money also.
McGargles – Big Banging IPA
One of the great Irish IPAs, easy to forget it’s been around a while now. But this is a great IPA, widely available and part of a great core range that includes a great session IPA too.
Thankfully we are totally spoiled for choice nowadays, we’ve got saison, IPAs, Pale Ales, Stouts, and Sours that form part of breweries offerings, and in some cases are infact show cases, such as Black Donkey’s Sheep Stealer, Yellowbelly Castaway, Blacks of Kinsale KPA, Stone Barrel’s Boom and many many more
Remember, the beauty about flagship beers are they are there all the time. Let’s take a moment to appreciate beers that have laid the foundations for brewers to go nuts experimenting with styles, additions, and techniques. You will be able to get these in your local independent bottle shop / off licence, even in your supermarket when you’re picking up the groceries. Give some Irish Beers a chance, and you’ll never go back.
Get involved in the twitter thread that i’ll keep pinned to my profile for the month of February 👇. Sláinte