@Beeroclockshow #CrimboCrawl – Leeds 2015

This past weekend, I’d the opportunity to return to Leeds for the annual christmas beer pilgrimage of the Beer O’Clock Show. Having lived in Leeds for a time during my younger years I was keen to get back and sample the ever increasing beer scene. 

This was going to be a two day affair, flying in on the Friday morning. The plan was to get to Leeds around Lunchtime. So I met up with Steve around Lunchtime and we made our way to that famous of Leeds establishments, Whitelocks, where we had our first couple of the day.

Bad Co Mogwai, and Squawk Small Pale Simcoe

From there, we made our way to Little Leeds Beer House for a couple of beers, and to meet one of our fellow crawlers. It’s was a nice opportunity to recce the venue before we descended on it as a group the next day. Located in the city’s Corn Exchange this has proven to be a little gem. I tried in here Northern Monk’s New World IPA, and Harbour’s Antipodean IPA.

But the hero beer of the day – given we don’t get any Cloudwater on our fair shores, it was their Winter IPA – it was quite simply stunning. It was only bottled a couple of days previously. 

The other purpose of the trip was to scope out some beers to bring home that would cheer up Mrs Beer Snob so from here we met everyone and made our way down to Huddersfield to visit Magic Rock and their Taproom. So that meant one thing! Train Beer! I picked a can of Moor Beer Revival which delicious and tasty just what I need in a train beer.

So we arrived at Magic Rock’s Taproom and i’m instantly impressed. A nice space that doesn’t just look like a bar tacked into a warehouse. This has been given a lot of thought. There are plenty of seats and tables. A nice long bar so you can get served easily.You can see into the brewery and they have their barrel ageing facility in the Taproom. Also a nice touch for the technologically dependant there was Wifi and multiple plugs available.

I love their branding and the beer list on the night did not disappoint either. The place was buzzing nicely with locals and we went to our table. Of course the first pint had to be Cannonball their superb IPA. Obviously had a taste of a number of their other beers. But i’m a big fan of Bearded Lady and was excited to try their latest version, aged in Pedro Ximenez barrels. 

That was the end of Day 1 for me, I returned back to Leeds to meet my friend and call it a night. 

Day 2, the day of the actual crawl I was really excited for, not only as it was the main event, but that i’d get to meetup with guys i’d met at Indyman recently. It’s true what they say – beer folk are good folk. So it was great to see all the friendly faces, and have beers with these folks.

The route itself was Northern Monk Refectory, The Black Swan, Little Leeds Beer House, North Bar, and Brewdog Shuffledog

Feeling a little delicate from the night before in Northern Monk I had a half of Monacus Pale Ale which was nice and tasty and light enough to get the day started. A session strength of 4.5%

Next stop was The Black Swan on Call Lane, in here we had a nice space reserved where we were able to chill out and natter. In here i tried Thornbridges Tonttu and Paradise Pale Ale both nice beers. I was particularly impressed by the Paradise beer, given it’s low ABV it was packed full of flavour. From here we moved on to Little Leeds Beer House and it was great again. The staff are very friendly and accommodating – this time around I had a can of Vocation Life & Death which was delicious. I also picked up my Beer that i’d selected the day before. 

From here we broke off up to North Bar, a Pint of Cannonball? Yes Please! At this stage food was needed, so we got some food. From there we were off to Brewdog’s new bar in Leeds, Shuffledog. An interesting concept, in a great space, in a marvellous building just a little outside the city centre! It was also the first time I got to avail of my EFP discount! They do draught only, and some spirits and coffee. There was some food but we were stuffed. 

The beer list itself was good and I got to try the new Albino Squid Assassin Red Rye IPA. It was a nice beer, and am looking forward to getting one or two cans when they become available. The Camden beer was clearly there before the big announcement! 🙂 I also had a couple of halves of the Nitro Milk Stout – just needed to sooth myself into my last beer of the night – Mikkeller Til Fra (Via) Imperial Porter. Really enjoyed the concept. The shuffle board downstairs looked like a laugh, but I was hooked on the retro arcade machines and Pinball! 

Venue of the weekend for me was Little Leeds Beer House, a great bottle shop with growler station, and located in the lovely Corn Exchange. The team were so helpful and patient with us. 

Any Irish importer reading this – you need to get Cloudwater, Moor Beers and Vocation Brewing beers into this country. They are superb

A huge thanks to Steve and Si (@Leedsbeerwolf) for all their hard work in organising a great trip. Make sure to check out some of the other guys blogs / photos from the trip (which i’ll update as more write it up) Can not wait for the next one.

Burgers & Beers by the Beach in Bray

Back in October new restaurant, Box Burger celebrated their launch night in Bray. Being massive fans of casual dining we were gutted we couldn’t make it. So for Wayne’s birthday we chose to pay a visit. On a chilly Sunday morning we wrapped up and began our journey.Once we arrived in Bray, Box Burger was a short two minute walk from the train station. Its been years since I was last in Bray. The funfair was still there back then!

We had a table booked and we were slightly late but on arrival we received a lovely warm welcome. We were shown to our table which faced the kitchen part of the restaurant. The atmosphere is really laid back, and the seating is so comfortable with a mixture of tables and booths, even bar stools overlooking the kitchen. First thing we checked out was the drinks menu. They literally have something for everyone, from craft beer to cocktails and everything in between. Of course we ordered craft beers while we chose our food, Wicklow Wolf Amber for me and O Brother Chancer for the birthday boy. Both breweries which are Bray natives so it was only fitting we had these.

A few days beforehand I browsed the menu on their website, which you can view here, and already knew what I was going to order. After skipping breakfast we ordered a feast. We started with their buffalo chicken wings which we decided to share a portion of. There were served with a lovely blue cheese dip which I could drink by the bucket load.

My eyes nearly popped out of my head when my burger arrived. I decided on the blue cheese burger. After dreaming of this for days it didn’t disappoint, a beef pattie served on a steamed brioche bun loaded with lettuce, onion, ketchup and mayo, mustard and pickle with a generous helping of blue cheese and even bacon. A tower of tasty heaven! For my side I ordered dirty fries, covered in pepper sauce and bacon! Absolutely delicious.

Wayne chose the Mac & Cheese. Who knew this could be so tasty, a burger  with mac&cheese topped with american cheddar. I had burger envy! In hindsight we should have cut them both down the middle and had a half of each. He ordered the box fries as his side. Fries covered in chicken gravy, onion and cheese. Not my cup of tea at all but he enjoyed them (northern boys love their gravy chips) Needless to say we devoured our food.

After the mains settled the waitress offered the dessert menu and literally sold us on the mini donuts. These were little rings of sugary goodness sprinkled in cinnamon and drizzled in chocolate sauce. These were served with soft ice cream. We both agreed we’d come back for those alone! This is a dessert made for sharing/fighting over!

We enjoyed our experience so much. The staff were all so friendly and the food was delicious. If you haven’t tried it out what on earth are you waiting for!!

We finished our day off in Bray with a flying visit to The Harbour Bar. They were having a growler weekend. When we arrived we spotted young Barry from O Brother brewing doing a tasting. Also Simon from Wicklow Wolf was floating around with samples of their Amber Ale and Elevation IPA. I spotted a sign for hot cider so I couldn’t resist ordering one from Kym. The cider used was from Craigies, another Wicklow native! A perfect way to thaw out on what was a freezing day.

We enjoyed a few glasses of beer and a chat with the brewers before we got to take a growler away. We chose The Chancer from O Brother. It didn’t last long, we opened it straight away when we got home. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and definitely worth the trip. We can’t wait to return.

Snobs Summer Series Highlights Part 1

On Saturday 18th of July saw us return to Smyths on the Square Navan. We showcased 4 breweries and 1 craft cider. It all kicked off at 4pm. Entry was €10 which included two tokens, BBQ and live entertainment.

In attendance we saw David Risso show casing beers by 8 Degrees

James Brown Brews with his award winning chocolate orange stout.

Olan with Dan Kellys Cider on draft.

Phil & Seamus from Brehon Brewhouse pouring Kilanny Red & Shanco Dubh on cask

Wayne was even lucky enough to tap the cask

Kentucky Ale with their fantastic bottle selection, bourbon and single malt

I was busy the day before baking up a storm. I did three batches of brownies using Kentucky Bourbon Barrel stout & James Browns orange chocolate stout. I even baked up his own batch as he missed out on them before.

It was a fantastic day, great atmosphere and the entertainment was fun. All I can say is I can’t wait for the next one. But who do we have I hear you ask, well ask no more:

Bru Brewery

Wicklow Wolf

Boyne Valley Cider

Mc Gargles

O Clerigh Brew Co

Once again entry is €10 including two tokens and BBQ. We can’t wait to see you all there on the 15th August from 4pm.

**photographs courtesy of Kieran Tuke **

Podcast Episode 12 – Summer Ale & Watering Holes!

In the current instalment of the Irish Beer Snob podcast, our intrepid beer explorers talk through the latest news in the Irish Craft Beer Scene, and review Brehon Brewhouse’s Summer Ale.

We also opened out to our audience to give us their favourite watering holes wherever they may be to share with our audience.

There are some great beery spots on the list which is by no means a complete list.

The direct MP3 link is here

The RSS for our feed is Http://irishbeersnob.libsyn.com/RSS please add this to your favourite Podcast Player to get our updated episodes directly to your device.

Podcast Episode 11 – A catch up and a Roadtrip

So, after a few weeks hiatus, like buses, the Irish Beer Snob team hit you with a double hit – not only a blog post – but a podcast too!

This week we cover off on a lot of different things, like what we’ve been up to the last few weeks.

Our podcast fuel was the excellent Road Trip beer from McHugh’s Off Licence, brewed in collaboration with Kinnegar Brewing. Available exclusively via their website and shops. www.mchughs.ie hopefully they brew more as it was tasty! 

Among other things we rabbit on about a new bar in Dublin city centre, The Wiley Fox, what IrishBeerSnob has been up to, Registering for EBBC 15.

We also look forward to a number of other events, including our good friend Simon of Simon Says Beer who is hosting a craft beer festival in Don’s Bar in Moate, Co Westmeath in August. 

Carlow Brewing Company have been very busy, not only unleashing a number of Collabs, a new one with Pinta of Poland, but also a Hoppy Red IPA in Collaboration with Starr Hill Brewing of Virginia, USA. 

So come on, and have a listen! 

Direct Link is here
Don’t forget to subscribe to our new RSS feed and add to your favourite podcast player. http://irishbeersnob.libsyn.com/RSS