Podcast Episode Sixteen – Alltech Festival Wrap Up and Boyne Valley Cider

The latest episode from the team at Irish Beer Snob, see’s the team review the recent Alltech Brew’s and Food Festival in Dublin’s Convention Centre. 

Pierce and Wayne also do a side by side tasting of Boyne Valley Cider’s regular cider and their whiskey barrel aged versions.


Massive congratulations to the teams at Rye River Brewing Company, and Orpen’s for their competition winning Beer & Cider, the full list is available here well done to all medalists!

What were your highlights? 

Episode available in iTunes, and a direct link is available for those on other platforms here – don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS here http://irishbeersnob.libsyn.com/RSS and leave a review! 
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Podcast Episode Fifteen – How to be a "Beer Pornographer" and a look forward to Alltech Brews & Food 2016



This week sees the first Irish Beer Snob podcast episode with a live guest recording alongside our Intrepid Duo. We have Instagram legend, Pierce Cooney of @Son0vaGun (https://www.instagram.com/son0vagun/ ) to share his tips for excellent Instagram Beer Photography.

We also visited McHugh’s Off Licence in Kilbarrack, Dublin for the beer for today’s episode – we had Mescan Brewery Red Tripel, and a Growler of Lagunitas Mozango IPA with Mango. 

Pierce and his padawan apprentice

Here are some practical tips for you to improve your Instagram photography from the master himself.

  • Plan your photo, sounds like common sense but really helps
  • Try use natural light if you can, however some people use Light boxes
  • Choose a nice background, use places of interest, landmarks etc, make it not just about the beer.
  • Take your photo from a low angle, turn your phone / camera upside down if necessary
  • Take plenty of shots, from a variety of angles, then choose your favourite
  • Use Hash Tags! (Save them somewhere and copy and paste them!
Helping to get that “Shot”
Pierce’s 3 Favourite Beer Photo Instagram Accounts
  1. @BeerFarts – Beer & Lego what’s not to love
  2. @FantasticFilm – Pierce’s #PrizelessPrize Nemesis
  3. @Commodore_NB_Pants – a US based instagrammer
We had great fun recording this episode, where we also have a look forward to the upcoming Alltech Brews & Food Fair in Dublin’s Convention Centre, Feb 5th to 7th. Loads more info on the website here tickets still available and if you’re there on Friday don’t forget to register for the Guinness World Record attempt for worlds largest beer tasting.

The good folk at Alltech have kindly given us a pair of tickets to give away to one lucky listener to bring themselves and a friend to the festival on a day of their choosing. Please note the competition will close on Friday 29th January at 5pm. Winner will be chosen at random, and must be able to collect the prize.

To win all you have to do is answer this simple question;

What was Pierce’s favourite beer in 2015?
Hint: Listen to the podcast to find out

Once you have your answer, please comment below this post on the blog – entries are only accepted if posted to this page.

You can now find our podcast by searching for “Irish Beer Snob” in iTunes, by direct download link here or by adding our RSS to your favourite podcast listening app which is http://irishbeersnob.libsyn.com/RSS

Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fair Feb 2015

Now in it’s third year, we saw Alltech’s Craft Brews & Food Fair take place in Dublin’s magnificent convention centre. An evolving festival that has come on leaps and bounds since their first event. This has to be one of the best put together festivals in Europe.



Alongside the consumer and beer fan event, Irish Pubs Global held their Global Gathering Event which brings together people from all over the world who own bars in many countries around the world. More of a trade show, there was a number of interesting topics that were covered under the learning side, but it was here I saw one of the most interesting exhibits, Core Coffee. Chilled Coffee served on Nitrogen. Sounds mental. It is utterly delicious. The potential is huge. Many thanks to the guys who invited me to have a look. 


Now, onto the main event. The festival itself opened up on Friday at 5pm. There was music, there was people, and loads of beer. Needless to say I’d a great three days. What makes this event stand apart from others is the truly international feel to the event, with a large number of foreign breweries, as well as some of the best of our indigenous. 


First thing I noticed was the organisers had addressed a number of the concerns from the year before, namely the food options. This year there were plenty of options, including Donal Skehan’s Skoff Pies, Wrights of Marino, Ballymaloe, Sheridans, a veritable who’s who of the Irish Food Scene. I can attest to the deliciousness of the Skoff Pies, though was pining for Mash, Peas and Gravy (Northern boys love gravy!). The token system was quite simple, a token was €1.25, and you bought them in multiples of 4. Made a pint a fiver, but anyone who’s a festival veteran knows, its tasters, or halves at most if you want to truly enjoy the event. Tokens were used for both the Food and Beer! 

Now onto some of the stand out beers of the festival for me. In no particular order. Of ones i’d not tasted before.

  • Redwell – Steam Lager and White IPA
  • Rye River Brewing Company – Double IPA, Brown Ale, and Berlinerweisse
  • 8 Degrees – The Gasman Rye IPA
  • Beavertown – Bloody Ell, and Londerweisse (A collab with Dogfish Head)
  • Blacks of Kinsale – HiViz, Model T (Rum Barrel Aged particularly)
  • Dan Kelly’s Cider – Dan Kelly’s Draught Cider
  • Trouble Brewing – Beoir #2, and Indian Pale Lager
  • Hara Punk – Mi Ujsag, Wagner Ur? (Spiced Ale with Sour Cherry)
  • Rosita – Rosita White IPA (with Juniper)
  • Coisbo – 11 (Russian Imperial Stout aged in Sherry Cask)
  • Wicklow Wolf – Kentucky Common
  • Kentucky – Honey Barrel 
So thank you to all the brewers who brought so many great beers, but also a huge thank you to all the staff notably, the two Johns, Tracey and Maeve who as ever were great! Now, i’d really love to see what the Kentucky one is like if anyone wants to sponsor that one! 

Cheers.



Alltech Brews & Food – February 2015 – Launch event!



Its hard to believe just how quickly this year has whizzed by – Its nearly the end of October and we are already talking about events for 2015!

Next year sees the third incarnation of the the Alltech Brews & Food Festival in Dublin’s Convention Centre. On Wednesday Mrs Beer Snob and I attended the launch event in Sam’s Bar on Dawson Street. The gathering of a who’s who in the craft beer arena, bloggers, brewers, foodies and the good folks from Alltech.

Mrs Beersnob brought along her now legendary Brownies, this incarnation was made using Kentucky Ale’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout. They were absolutely delicious again. Everyone who got to sample them was extremely effusive in their praise of them.

The night itself saw focus on the seasonal Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Pumpkin Ale, which weighing in at 10% is very drinkable, and for me not too sweet. Which I sometimes have with most pumpkin ales, the ageing in barrels has fortified this beer. Luckily everyone in the audience got one in the good bags! I know what i’ll be drinking on Friday. There was also some great cocktails on display, and a spiced version of the Pearse Lyons Reserve which was interesting, but I prefer the original myself. We also got to sample the Town Branch Rye which is currently only available in the Duty Free in Dublin Airport

The 2014 edition was very successful, and 2015 is aiming to be bigger and better again, the team at Alltech have listened to the feed back and some of their ideas are going to be great. There are going to be more brewers, and distillers at this event, and more importantly the food side of things is being ramped up with local food vendors going to feeding the masses.

Another change is the event is running Friday to Sunday which should ensure a larger attendance. There will also be entertainment including live music and the rugby will be televised also. The dates are 27th February to 1st March 2015

Tickets are on sale now via the link below, and at €15 including a glass and four tokens they represent great value for money, I look forward to seeing you there.

http://eu.alltechbrewsandfood.com/

Craft Beer Bazaar in the Central Bar, in Navan

So, I know this event took place a while ago now, but I delayed putting up my blog post to take the opportunity to give some feedback to the team in the Central after the event. 


Ok, so the event was on a Saturday, the 16th of August and it was in the Meryvn’s Yard section of this award winning pub. It was a space that I’d not seen before, but it was the perfect size, self contained, perfectly sheltered with everything you need for a festival.

All in all there was a great range of vendors there, including a debut from Jack Cody’s from nearby Drogheda. Local Brewer’s Brú were present front and centre, we also had Alltech’s Kentucky Ale, Blacks of Kinsale, Cotton Ball from Cork. There was cider from Dan Kelly’s and Cockagee from nearby Stackallen, just outside Slane. We also had Kilcock’s McGargles, and Dungarvan’s Dungarvan Brewing Company. A great turn out. 

There was a threat of rain throughout the day but it thankfully stayed away. But there were plenty of places to seek shelter. As always, the food didn’t let you down, BBQ is perfect to go with Beers, and the Chicken Burger I had was delicious. Served with great salads also. 



There were a few things that I think could have made the festival a little better such as kicking things off a little later in the afternoon, as it just seemed to be igniting when everyone was packing down for the evening. The price was a little on the high side too. There were some vendors from the macro world, which I felt didn’t really go with the tone of the festival.

There was some fun on the night with a homebrew competition, and the red ale that won was a superb beer. I forgot my own entry, however next time I wont. I’m also pleased to announce that The Central is going to become home to a new Homebrew Club, and the 1st meeting is going to be on Tuesday 7th October from about 8pm – if you are interested, please get in touch. I’ve also started a thread on the National Homebrew Club’s Forum, the link is here

But, for a first attempt, there was a lot right, however importantly, they’ve sought out feed back, and indeed i’d encourage anyone who was there, whether as a consumer or brewer that you get in touch with the guys, as they are hoping to make this a regular feature on the Meath calendar. And for that the lads deserve kudos for making it happen. Onward and upward!


The 2nd Alltech Craft Beers & Brews Festival #alltechbrews Dublin February 2014


2014, it promises to be a great year for Craft Beer in Ireland, and the 1st major event in Ireland was the Alltech Brews and Food Festival at the magnificent Convention Centre Dublin. It is also confirmed that this even will return in 2015 bigger and better.

This was my first time, I missed the 2013 event, meaning I had no point of reference, but this wasn’t going to stop the enjoyment of it. Part festival, part conference there was a great blend with the conference sessions, The Pub Series which I attended and the Sensory Courses. 



This was truly an international event, I bumped into pub owners from around the world, and perhaps more surprisingly there were a lot of Irish Publicans here. Maybe the penny is dropping. There were some great speakers, Dr Pearse Lyons, President of Alltech gave a rousing and very inspiring talk before my friend Reuben Gray gave a talk to 300 eager to learn pub owners and managers. As you know Reuben is an avid blogger also, but he is currently the Chair of Beoir. 

The themes of the talks were of a broad but practical nature, simple things like if you have bottles and they can’t be easily seen, have a menu. I expect a lot of people took something from each of the speakers. One of the more interesting topics was when Dean McGuinness from Newstalk & Premier Beers gave his definition of Craft Beer. But for me one of the best was the panel that features some standout publicans from the Irish Craft Beer scene, Seaneen from L Mulligan Grocer, Jason from Galway Bay Brewery and Geoff from 57 The Headline. An open forum Q&A session where they told a very attentive audiences about their businesses and what works for them. 



Once the talks finished I went down to the main expo area which was really well laid out, and this time afforded me to the opportunity to speak to some great brewers from all corners. I particularly am thankful to Paddy from Windsor & Eton who talked alot about their beers, of which 2 feature in the 1001 Beers to Try Before you Die. I sampled the Republika Pilsener, and Conqueror 1075 Black IPA, both extraordinary beers, but I also enjoyed their Kohinoor, an east Indian Pale Ale with Cardamom, Coriander and Jasmine. I really hope someone picked them up for distribution to the ROI. 

In an Irish context there were some Irish Debutants here, we’d Rascals, N17, Independent Brewing, Stone Barrel. N17’s Oatmeal stout was sensational, as well as the Gold Winning Rascals Chocolate Ginger Porter. Both medallists in the Dublin Cup. The full list of winners is here, but the Irish Winners are here; A special well done to all the medal winners, but Ireland is once again punching above its weight in the international scene. Long may it continue.


The overall winner from Denmark, was the Coisbo No 4: A Small Batch Russian Imperial Stout, thankfully i’d sampled before the announcement and the resultant scrum. Not only that they’d a very interesting Pale Ale with Elderflower too. Really hope they’ll be in Ireland soon. Also I was very very impressed with Spain’s, Molta Birra Revolution IPA from Catalonia. 

But perhaps for me the story of the festival was the launch of N17, which has been launched by Sarah Roarty whose whole philosophy of total production means that even bye products such as the spent grain is repurposed into Granola, and Dog Biscuits. There are some oriental mushrooms to follow too. But not only did Sarah come to the show with a lovely Rye Ale, but also a fantastic Oatmeal stout, thankfully this was noticed by the judges and Sarah was awarded Bronze. For a Debut Beer, this was sensational! I also have the infamy of being the person who told her she’d won, while she was pulling a drink, it was a fantastic moment, and extremely well done. It must also be noted that Independent from Carroroe also won a medal on their festival debut.



We’re blessed with some fantastic food producers here in Ireland and they were well represented here, Ballymaloe, Ed Hick, Sheridans Cheeses, Carrigaline, Bretzel Bakery and many more. It was maybe a slight pity that there was only little morsels of these fabulous products available to us rather than say a Ed Hick Sausages on freshly baked Bretzel Bread? 

The atmosphere at the three evening sessions was fantastic, and kudos to the organisers for putting on a fantastic event. Can’t wait for next year already. Maeve, Tara, Ashling, Holly and Tracey were all fantastic and a credit to Alltech, the hospitality was fantasic. Thank you so much. 

Next Up for me, next weekend is The Winter Ale & Cask Festival @Franciscan Well Cork, then next month we have the Irish Craft Beer Fest in the CHQ Building in the IFSC.