So this past saturday was the 1st Smyth’s Beer Garden Festival. It was many firsts, the First Beer Festival that Smyth’s on The Square in Navan had hosted. Despite having one of the broadest ranges of craft beers in the county. More importantly it was also the first event i’ve organised from conception to inception to delivery. Nerve wracking stuff.
With a great venue in the back, a lovely beer garden, well sheltered, we had the perfect space for plenty of vendors, and plenty of punters. The only thing we could pray on was the rain staying way and thank fully it did. On the day itself we had a local feel to it with many coming from not to far away.
We’d barbecue food, and local musicians playing music all day, it all added to a great atmosphere for everyone who was there.
We had local favourites Brú Brewery who were there with their bottle beers, and excitingly a keg of their new flagship beer Brú, a pale ale thats very well made, but also very accessible and will attract no doubt a lot of your typical heineken drinkers. I loved the fact they served the 30l keg using a party pump. If that isn’t craft I don’t know what is.
|Picture taken from BruBrewery.ie
Next up locally we had from Drogheda, we had newcomers Jack Cody’s – who came with their Amber Ale “Smiggy” and Pilsner “Puck” in bottles, and always the beer was a cracker, it’s a very steady seller in Smyth’s and was good to see Geoff again talking to people about his great beers.
Also from Drogheda we’d the delectible Dan Kelly’s Cider, Olan brought their two varieties, the Fiona’s Fancy which is my favourite, and their normal Dan Kelly’s cider. Thanks for coming Olan and bringing your lovely cider.
From Kentucky USA via Dunboyne Co Meath we had Kentucky Ale with their range of beers, and also their stand out Town Branch Bourbon, and Pearse Lyons Reserve Single Malt – these guys also proved very popular.
Continuing the trend for Irish Beers, James Winans came down from Vanguard Beer Collective, the only distributor out there who only distributes Irish Craft Beer, he carries a great range of bottles and kegs, and on the day that was in it, he brought two from 8 Degrees Brewing their Howling Gale Ale, and Knockmealdown Porter, and the topical Four Provinces The Hurler. My FIL was very impressed with the Knockmealdown Porter, and as always James was fantastic.
Next up we’d from Clane, Kelly’s Mountain Brew with their Justice Pale Ale, both in bottle form and draught. The Justice is a really well made pale ale, very accessible and was pouring lovely.
Ronan and Jacqui were great, even Jacqui ended up serenading the crowd when the musicians had finished for the evening. Great craic altogether.
|The fantastic Bo Bristle Double IPA had just been tapped!
Young Dave Guilfoyle from Bo Bristle was there also, bringing the beer from Offaly, more specifically Banagher. We had some of their amber and IPA in bottles, but on draught as the day went on, they rotated through their range. Starting with their punchy refreshing Pilsner, moving up to their fruity and citrussy IPA, up next was its big brother the Double IPA, and then finally the imperial Red, which was great. Thank you Dave for bringing these two festival special beers. Even if you did have to chase me away from the taps!
|I couldn’t find a glass! Don’t judge me!!!
Last but not least we also had McGargles from Kilcock there who were pouring three of their range, the lovely Cousin Rosies Pale Ale, Granny Mary’s Red, and Knock Knock Ned IPA, as always their bar stood out with those distinctive taps and tankards!
Thank you to all you brewers who attended, and hopefully we’ll see you at another #BeerSnobFest in the future. If you are a publican and are looking to do something on a small scale like this, get in touch and we’ll see what we can put together.
Overall we have received very positive feedback from people who were there, including brewers, the owner of the premises, and most importantly the customers who gave their €10 for their entry. To be clear the €10 entry included, your entry, your food, and 2 beer tokens. The entry fee also covered the fact there was 4 musical acts entertaining you all day. Above all else we wanted to give value for money.
There has been one of two comments re the cost, we took the decision to drop the entry fee to €5 after 9pm which at that stage we had actually stopped serving food. This reduced rate still included your 2 beer tokens. One comment I read stated food had stopped at 8 pm, this was not the case. As always i’d prefer to have been made aware of this at the time so at the least we could have attempted to correct it, it was disappointing to read this after the event when there is no way to fix it up, but most importantly it’s not constructive criticism.
Have we learnt anything doing this? Of course, we’ve learned heaps on what to do next time, and more importantly what not to do. I always endeavour to write this blog in a fair and balanced manner and if i do have issues I will communicate these promptly and directly in private to allow for a discussion.
Lastly, i’d also like to thank Kieran Tuke a friend of mine who was snapping photos all day, you can follow him on Twitter @tukekieran.
Anyway, here are some of the links to the thoughts of some of the bloggers who were at the event also.
Simon Says You Should Drink this Blog Review
11pm Somewhere Dedicates an Episode to the festival
The Thoughts of Corrigan Says Blog
Bru Brewery even had a mention!
Here’re some Verbatims taken from around the place;