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!