Beer & Food Pairing Night at Bru Brewery

When I saw this event advertised a few weeks ago I just knew I had to go. As part of the Boyne Valley Food Series, this night was a great opportunity for local food producers to showcase their products in a unique way. Many actually used the Brú beers in their treats for customers to try.

On the night itself it was a dreary wet evening, but that awful weather didn’t dampen the spirits of Paddy & Dáire, the owners of Brú Brewery. They were in flying form greeting everybody and pouring their delicious beers. On tap was their amazing Stout Dubh & their IPA Rí. Later in the evening, much to my delight, their red ale Rua was flowing beautifully. Neil from Boyne Valley Cider brought along bottles too.

As a very last minute decision, I baked up two different batches of chocolate brownies to take along with me. I had no intention of standing at a stall to hand them out to the unsuspecting crowd. But brewer Dave had other ideas. The first batch had to be the double chocolate porter brownies (thanks to the book Sláinte for the recipe) that I make for nearly every event I attend. I used Brú’s stout Dubh, mint & dark chocolate in this batch. For the second lot, again I used Dubh, a slightly different recipe. This batch didn’t have milk or eggs. But they were covered in chocolate frosting. Both of which seemed to go down quite well.

While I was busy at my wee table, Wayne was off sampling the wares of the producers. Straight away he hit up Copper & Spices for their simple yet tasty chicken curry with rice. I was lucky he brought me a bowl, this flew out real quick! I enjoyed it with a nice cold glass of Brú Rí while Wayne enjoyed the Dubh.

Newgrange gold, who are based in Slane, were there with their beautiful Irish seed oils. They actually used some of the hops used by Brú to create their oh so tasty Citra Hop Rapeseed oil & a once off mayonnaise. Another interesting oil was the smokey rapeseed oil. Both of which I’m delighted to admit were only gorgeous. Especially when I dipped some of the homemade brown bread using spent grains baked by lilyphils foods. I did notice bowls of salad, for the more health conscious of us, and people using the oils as dressing. For this I went with another glass of Rí.

Next up for me,was the highlight of my night. Sausages infused with Brú Rua and black pudding made with Dubh, from The Whole Hoggs. Also from Slane, they rear a breed of pig called the irish grazer and specialize in traditional pork products such as salami. But for the event the created these products that were spectacular. Cooked expertly on the BBQ by Pam, mother to Dáire. Pam was only too delighted to tell me my brownies were worth every Syn.

While nibbling away on our BBQ treats, I noticed a stand of marinades. These were cleverly put together by the man behind Inistioge food, based in Kilkenny. They make marinades & dry rubs using craft beers! Instantly had my attention. For the event they brought a beef marinade made with Brú Dubh. We were given a sample pack to bring home. But he had some to try and suggested putting it on top of the sausages & black pudding. Any excuse for seconds, i was off. It was gorgeous, really tasty and took it to a whole new level. Thought it would’ve been greedy to go for thirds. At this point I discovered Brú Rua was pouring. Perfect with the sausages we thought.

Last but not least was dessert. I was thrilled to see it was What’s For Pudding supplying it. They are only around the corner in Kilmessan. I met them for the first time at an event last year and fell in love with their sticky toffee pudding. So it was only fitting I ended my night with a sampling of this. They also make a chocolate pudding which is yummy with fresh cream, which they had on hand. But then out of the corner of my eye sat a sampling of their lemon blueberry pudding. Oh dear god, this was fabulous and is now my favourite. What’s for pudding is available locally so it’ll be easy to stock up!

Throughout the duration of the event there was a local singer entertaining us with some great tunes. For an entry of €15 in, it was great value for a great evening. Well done to all concerned and check out the Boyne Valley Food Series website, and twitter feed for info on their upcoming events.

Visit to an Orchard, home of Dan Kellys Cider.

Here we have Janice’s second blog post! 

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We all now know my love for craft beer, but did you know i’m also quite partial to good cider? So can you imagine my excitement when Wayne tells me he’s organised a trip to meet the makers behind Dan Kellys Cider? Our very own private tour behind the scenes and the orchard itself, I lept for joy!!

So after a short drive on a beautiful sunny day we arrived to Boyne Grove Fruit Farm, the home of Dan Kelly’s Cider. It is located in Stameen, Drogheda, situated on the banks of the Boyne. Literally it is an oasis within the borough of Drogheda that I had no idea was there. I was introduced to the very friendly and welcoming Olan, who with his sister Fiona look after Dan Kelly’s Cider as well as the fruit side of the business. He kindly took some time out of a very busy day to show us around the farm and orchards.

This fully functioning fruit farm started in 1962 when Gerard Mc Neese, followed in his fathers footseps, and continued a family tradition of planting bramley apples. A tradition that goes back to 1880. Today they supply a number of the supermarkets with their fresh fruit, and also they produce their own apple juice, which is fantastic. It’s only natural that they make their own ciders.

Once we met Olan, he brought us around the different buildings which house the various parts of their business. From the impressive machinery which sorts the apples and packs them, to the huge cool rooms they have for storing both apples, and the aging cider. The scale of the operation was mind boggling, and it was very interesting to learn the various processes involved in preserving the apples in the best possible way.

The orchard itself is 80 acres in the total of the 200 acres. It’s extremely impressive with lots of beautiful apples trees with many varities. I think Olan had said there was over 14,000 trees in the Orchard. Bramley, is of course the apple used to make the magnificent cider, named after their Great Grandfather, Dan Kelly. He drove the “enterpise” steam engine and passed through the orchard daily. The main Dublin to Belfast train line passes through this farmland.

The cider is made from handpicked apples and wild yeasts that give a beautiful refreshing flavour. It really does taste like fizzy apple juice, though if you drink too many, you’ll know all about it! Olan was kind enough to give us a couple of bottles, and also of their famous apple juice. It really is a great summer drop, and we are spoiled to have such another great cider maker in the Boyne Valley.



Olan will be at the The Central’s Beer Festival on the 16th August in Navan, they will also have a tent at the Big Grill Festival the same weekend. They will of course be at the annual Irish Craft Beer and Cider Festival in the RDS in September also, so you’ll all get to try this great Irish product.