- Kentucky Ale (Kentucky USA)
- James Brown Brews (Ratoath, Co Meath)
- 8 Degrees Brewing (Mitchelstown, Co Cork)
- Brehon Brewhouse (Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan)
- Dan Kelly’s Cider (Drogheda, Co Louth/Meath)
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 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.
|Picture taken from BruBrewery.ie|
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;
|Janice and her conquering beard!|