We’ve not podcasted in ages, so it only takes a pandemic to get us back behind the Mic!
In this episode we are tasting 3 lovely beers from Dublin’s Hope Beer.
Hop On Session IPA
Pineapple & Passionfruit Sour
Foreign Export Stout
We also talk about how things are going during these strange times for our island, including the example of collaboration and great community spirit demonstrated by Craig P Kearney who took a rambling twitter thread of mine, and collated it all into one handy page for everyone to use to buy direct from Irish Breweries. Check it out https://directfrombrewery.com/ – anyone out there who wants to be added hit us up and we’ll get it updated pronto. Twitter thread below 👇
As always thanks for tuning in, our podcast is available on iTunes (Apple), Sticther Radio, and direct download here
Following on from our Podcast that we recorded with Liam Tutty of Dead Centre back in February 2018, we took the opportunity, on a gloriously hot sunny summers day to fly down the N6 and visit the taproom. Now that it was up and running as we’d sadly missed the opening party.
Housed in the former home of The Ritz restaurant, set on the banks of The Shannon, we were excited to get down and try some of the beers on show, but also to try the pizzas that we’d been hearing great things from members of the Midlands Beer Club and other folks who’d been to visit before us
After an obligatory visit to Seans Bar for a sneaky drink waiting for Dead Centre to open, and walk around Athlone for a little while.
The last time we were down here the site was literally a shell, remnants of the former establishment were everywhere. We could see the potential, but undoubtedly there was going to be a lot of work needed to bring Liam’s vision to life. I’m more than happy to say that the work done has been striking, the transformation is fantastic. From the walk in, the venue is instantly welcoming.
The space is flexible, and can be used for many different functions. Everything from parties, to weddings, and even business meetings.
You walk past the brewhouse on your way into the bar area, the glass walls certainly were worth the investment, as they allow unrestricted viewing into the brewing area.
Making your way into the main area the bar has plenty of local and international beers. Also, it must be said a guinness and carlsberg taps, to make this place inclusive for all. There were also a nice range of spirits and wines too.
We ordered a couple of beers and made our way out on to the deck which hangs over the river, a stunning setting, and undoubtedly a suntrap. Glad I had some suncream on the noggin.
We looked over the menu, and decided a Pizza each would be the job, I went with the “I can’t pronounce it” which had Nduja, Salami, Jalapeno, and Basil. Janice went for the “Baby Goats Back” which was topped with Goat’s Cheese, sun dried tomatoes, olive, rocket and parmesan. Of course there was Garlic Mayo to dip the crust into as well. Needless to say, the pizza’s were only absolutely delicious. Some of the best we’ve had in Ireland for sure. Since our visit they’ve extended the menu out, including some very tasty sounding paninos for lunch. You can drool over the menu here. We’re looking forward to going back down.
After eating, we had another drink, and made our way. The bill in total was €43.00. The space has been decorated and laid out well. Including several instagrammable areas which includes the label wall of all the beers they’ve had since opening. A pretty cool collage. We wish Liam and all the team all the best, as it’s a truly unique taproom experience, and great to see some imagination brought to the sector. Sláinte
You can find out more about Dead Centre here, and if you use Untappd, their beer list is live on that.
Late in the summer, we decided to go down to Waterford for a couple of nights, I hadn’t been down myself in easily 15 years, and Mrs Beer Snob maybe about 10 years. Only about 2 and a half hours from Navan thanks to the motorway network.
We stayed in the Waterford Marina Hotel, we got down there a little early to check in, so given it was a lovely day we decided to drive out to Dunmore East which to say was absolutely stunning in the late summer sun. We walked from our parked car down to the harbour and saw lots of kids enjoying an obstacle course. I really regret not jumping in myself! After a little while exploring we decided to have a pint in Powers Bar, a traditional pub, and pleasing to see there was Metalman on tap.
From there we made our way back into the city armed with a desire for some seafood we headed to The Reg for the seafood platter for Two. Washed down with Metalman Pale Ale, this was an extremely tasty bite after hearing one or two mixed reviews, we were very happy with the food on their sun terrace. €32 for the platter was very good value in my opinion.
After that we went exploring the streets, as Waterford Walls event was on, and dotted around the city there were gable ends, and walls painted with excellent pieces of art.
We made our way down to Tullys, long recommended, and very good recommendation. In Tullys we’d a couple of lovely scoops, 12 Acres Make Hay and Metalman Tiptango where we met Yellowbelly’s very own Declan Nixon for a jar.
We’d also been recommended a visit to J & K Walsh‘s which was an old grocer shop but has been lovingly maintained to retain it’s old world feel. A place to go to drink Guinness, which is served in a Tankard, do not miss this spot if you’re down in Waterford
From there we walked out passed the Applemarket area where there are quite a lot of bars that look pretty lively, but we walked on passed, and visited Grady’s Yard, which is the bar owned by Yellowbelly, we visited both days the Monday evening was pretty quiet, which isn’t unusual, but when we visited again on the Tuesday, they were hosting a board game evening and there was a good crowd in there where we bumped into Will Avery and Mark Nixon from Loughran Family Malts. Our only regret was we came down when the kitchen was closed, as the food that is on instagram, is totally drool worthy.
Handily enough, Grady’s yard is only a short walk to Phil Grimes bar, which looks like , dare I say, a normal pub from the outside, not an obvious den of great beers on draught. With what I have to say, the friendliest owner i’ve come across in many years. Tom is a breath of fresh air, again on the Monday it was quiet, so we had his undivided attention as we supped a few beers before we went off to bed. We were chatting about doing the Waterford Greeenway however, not having as much mileage over the summer on our bikes as we’d have liked we were very much on the fence, plus the weather was forecast to be grey, rainy, and not as nice as the Monday. This is when Tom’s extensive local knowledge, led to him recommending that we do the Copper Coast Drive which was a great substitute for the greenway itself, where there were some absolutely stunning sea views, and coves along the way, as we went to Dungarvan, but we also went up to Mahon Falls, and even found a magic road! Waterford, you have a gem in Phil Grimes, and Tom couldn’t have made us feel more welcome. Sláinte Tom 🍻
On our second day, we visited Dungarvan, via the Copper Coast Road, after a morning exploring some lovely hidden beaches we had built up a hunger and we popped into Merry’s Bar in Dungarvan for a spot of lunch before popping to Dungarvan Brewery to see Claire and Cormac. It was great to catch up with Claire and to find out how things were going as we’d not seen them in a while. It was interesting to hear that most of their beer is sold locally which after all what this is all about.
After getting back to Waterford we went for a lovely dinner in the Bodega restaurant, and visit Grady’s Yard and Grime’s again before going back to our hotel for a nightcap, where the night porter was also one heck of a friendly man who had no issues pouring us Gin and Tonics in the small hours, while telling us about Waterford’s history.
One the way home we popped in to see Grainne & Tim of Metalman and had a coffee with them while we had a look around their brewery which i’m sad to say we’d not been to before. They’ve a nice space quite close to the city centre, and echoing what Claire in Dungarvan was saying, most of their produce now goes locally which is great to hear
Waterford, I feel we only got to scratch the surface, but what and enjoyable couple of days.
Dundalk, County Louth, in the North East of Ireland, is a town with a proud brewing heritage. The historic home of the Harp Brewery, and MacArdle Moore, two famous Irish Brands. Sadly, those breweries are now no longer operational, both acquired by Guinness, and closed by Diageo a number of years ago. However, in the waste not want not way of life, both sites are being reborn with a new purpose.
The old Harp brewery is now home to the Great Northern Distillery, ran by titan of Irish Whiskey, John Teeling, who’s children run the internationally renowned Teeling Distillery, in Newmarket Sq, Dublin. However, it’s the old MacArdle Moore site I was visiting this Friday morning.
Stationworks brewery as it was formerly known, used to be located in Newry, in Northern Ireland, with a satellite brewery in Cumbria. Stationworks was acquired by Alltech, a number of years ago.
They currently produce beer for Aldi, under The Brown Bear brand. They also produe under Stationworks Beer, Finns, and The Foxes Rock.
The late Dr Pearse Lyons, founder of Alltech, started out as a brewer, before moving into agri science. He was a proud Dundalk man, and wanted to get a brewery up and running in his homeland, after the successful establishment of Lexington Brewing & Distilling in Kentucky. Sadly, he didn’t get to see his dream realised of returning brewing to Dundalk, but Stationworks, was renamed the Pearse Lyons Brewery in his honour following his passing in 2018. Initially, something of a pet project for Dr Lyons, the business is part of Alltech Beverages, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the larger Alltech group. Despite belonging to a larger family this brewery has to stand on its own two feet.
Long time friend Dave Guilfoyle was the lucky chap showing me around after i’d gotten an invite from John O’Brien. I’m sure Dave was happy of the distraction from the end of quarterly paperwork that was due. In truth, it’s a massive space. The MacArdle Moore brewery was massive, infact, most of the old buildings have been repurposed into a business park, with a wide mix of businesses in attendance. There are nods to the site’s brewing history, with the brewhouse old control panel visible, and maltings. Along with the rows of terrace houses which would have housed workers, much like the liberties and Guinness back in the day. The old master brewer’s house was literally 200 years away, so back then, if anything went wrong, they’d to answer the call. I don’t think that’s a perk for Dave at the moment.
The 100Hl brewhouse, which is fully automated with the exception of additions of hops, and speciality grains, is a feat of engineering in itself. German engineering. All sampling points on ground level, and you can see deep into the brewhouse vessels from the raised brewing platforms. The brewhouse is located in what used to be the packaging area of MacArdle Moore, so there is plenty of space to grow.
A recent addition, is the pilot kit, which allows the brewers to take off the shackles of production brewing and have a little bit of fun under a new name, “Clocked Off”
Expect to see much more of that in the future. With Brewmaster brewing now operating in Dundalk also, it’s great to see some of Dundalk’s brewing heritage return, and hopefully it goes from strength to strength.