Live Beer Blogging – #EBBC16 from The Mercure, Amsterdam City

Live Beer Blogging – #EBBC16 from The Mercure, Amsterdam City

So, this is our second Live Beer Blogging event with the European Beer Bloggers Conference. You can read how we got on last year here. It was a lot of fun, but logistically challenging to get through.

This year Janice was micro blogging on Instagram, I’ve basically snatched the pictures from her and they are below.

1; Kompaan Brewery, Hand Langer DIPA 8.2%

We tried a couple of Kompaan beers during the lunch and registration part of the conference. They were keeping a big DIPA aside for Live Beer Blogging, called Hand Langer, which in English means Accomplice. Aggressively hopped, with a big body to carry its flavour. It’s slightly sweet, with a bitter finish.


2; Oersoep – Brettalicious – Bretted Saison, 5%

A real treat for us, a wild fermented saison, in a traditional foudre, with Brett and Lacto present, it’s giving a nice apple, white wine flavour, along side some funky aroma and flavour. Quite crisp, and dry. Overall a very nice beer.


3; Brouwerij Maximus, Saison Number 5, 5%

This was a really nice Wallonian Saison, which didn’t have that usual Saisony bite that you can sometimes get. Brewed using their own strain of yeast, this is a different saison than you’d be used, so much so Janice remarked, she’d drink again, which for a saison is a very high compliment as saison is not a style she loves.


4; Brouwerij Emelisse, White Label Russian Imperial Stout 11.5%

So far on our travels in the Netherlands, we’d sampled several Emelisse beers, and were advised to keep an eye out for their White label beers,which give the brewery flexibility to do special beers, outside their core range including their barrel aged series.

Here we had a thick luxurious Russian Imperial Stout that had spent some time in Bruichladdich barrels, which have imparted a slight peaty smokiness to the beer. Got so much better as it warmed up. A very good beer.


5; Kees Brewery, Barrel Project 05/2016 10%
Another brewery we’d sampled a few beers from, including their outstanding Caramel Fudge Stout, here we were treated to a Barrel Project #05/2016 Oatmeal stout which was aged in one my favourite bourbons , Heaven Hill barrels. This was so thick, with low carbonation, this again was a great beer. As it warmed up more vanilla and oak came through. Would love to get more of this myself. The oatmeal addition making the body velvety smooth.


6; Oedipus Brewing – Swingers – Hoppy Gose 4%

After a couple of heavy stouts, this hoppy Gose, was just what the pallette needed. This beer was formally known as Salty Dick, there is a zing from the lime zest that is added also. A lovely Gose, where the hops, fruit and salt combine perfectly to create a lovely summer beer.


7; De Prael Brewing – IPA, 6.5%

The Brewery at De Prael is an interesting social experiment, much in a similar way we learned that La Trappe employs people in a social way, basically giving jobs to people who may have a disability and to allow them to be included in a normal thing such as a day job. This is a noble idea, and one i’d like to see more of at home. Here we have an IPA that uses, Citra, Simcoe, and Fuggles.


8; Brouwerij T’Ij IPA , 7%

Like buses, two come along at once. They use their own yeast strain, along with a great aroma hopping schedule, it leads to a solid IPA. A pretty striking label which is very different to the ones on the rest of the core range, and this came about as they didn’t want to frighten off their regular core drinkers, and to show that this is very different to that traditional offering.  Really enjoyed this one.


9; Bax Bier – Smoked Porter, Kood Vuur – “Coal Fire” in English 6.3%

Smoked Porters, can be very interesting, and this was one that fell into that category. Lightly smoked on the nose, it leads to a nice mouthfeel, and it is a beer that can easily imagine sitting in front of the fire sipping this. Even more surprising is that Janice liked this, and she rarely likes smoked beers.


10; Duits & Lauret – Houtgerijpte Rook Dubbelbock

This is a wood aged and smoked Dubbelbock, this is a beer thats full of flavour and would be able to stand up to many foods, and even be used in stews. There is a lovely aroma, and spice on the nose, and it has slight woodiness to it that adds to the character.


All in all this was another great event, and the Dutch beer scene is alive and kicking.

Big Boys Know How to Party – Night 1 European Beer Bloggers Conference

When it was announced that headline sponsors of the EBBC were going to be Molson Coors, Guinness & Smithwicks it caused some ripples among the blogging community. It’s important to highlight, that this wasn’t a Craft beer bloggers event, but a beer bloggers event. The simple truth is that without the support of the above mentioned companies it is very likely the event may not have gone ahead at all.

Now, the agenda for the evening was a walk from the Church over to St James’ Gate where we were going to get a tour of the facility, with food and beer in the Storehouse. My immediate thought was, we’re just going on an elongated version of the extremely popular tourist attraction, Storehouse tour. My fears were instantly banished when we arrived at the front gate on Thomas St. 

Here we we given hi viz vests, eye glasses, and shown to the square where Guinness Master Brewer Fergal Murray was waiting to show us around. We were in for something special. We were in the hub of St James’ Gate. Walking through the yards toward the tunnel we were told more of the history of St James Gate. Down through the tunnel toward something, that no one else has seen yet. Brewhouse 4, the brand spanking new kit that Diageo have put in place to replace the now defunct Waterford, Kilkenny and Dundalk breweries. Needless to say this was an impressive feat of engineering, the sheer scale of it was mind boggling. Particularly for one or two of the craft brewers who tagged along. 


Once we’d finished in here, we were brought up to the familiar store house building and whisked up to the 6th floor for drinks and food reception. These guys know how to do hospitality, 1.3m visitors a year can’t be wrong. 

Here we were treated to the best of Irish produce, Oysters, Pork, Beef, farmhouse cheeses. Matched to Guinness’ beer. The Oysters with Extra Stout were delish. But the ribs were a knock out. The FES marinated burgers were good too (think that was Burger number 2 out of maybe 5 all weekend!) One of the surprises of the evening was that they’d brought over some Belgian Special Export – a rock solid beer at 8%. This just shows us what Guinness used to be, but this thing is a very distant relation to the current Guinness Draft. It’s Full of flavour. A subtle sweet roastiness. Why don’t you sell this here? Another surprise was the “Night Porter” a 5.5% chocolate porter brewed as part of an internal staff competition. This beer was really really good. And it would stand up very well against many craft stouts and porters. It’s a pity its only available in the Storehouse.

Also my favourite Matthew Curtis vine took place here – below for your viewing pleasure


From here we were whisked away to a secret location, The Candle Bar in Kellys Hotel on Georges St. This was the Pilsner Urquell party! As a special treat from Vaclav Berka, the master brewer there, brought over the unfiltered unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell in Oak casks. This is a good beer anyway, but to get to taste it this way was a true privilege. Here’s a video of Vaclav tapping the keg. 

After being stuffed to the gills in the Storehouse, more food winged its way out, Pulled Pork, and Steak Sandwiches. They were delish. From here we moved on to the next bar in our group, but at this stage the day was beginning to catch up with us, and with an early start the next morning I got the bus home.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Guinness, Pilsner Urquell, and Molson Coors for their support and the level of hospitality was second to none. Whatever peoples opinions on the beers are, the guys and girls I met showed as much passion that i’ve seen from many brewers. I’m thankful it was Fergal leading us around and he answered any questions honestly and openly. This I fear wouldn’t have happened if we had someone from PR or marketing to look after us. 

European Beer Bloggers Conference – Day One

Now in it’s fourth year the European Beer Bloggers Conference came to Dublin last weekend for the first time. Following on from a successful event last year in Edinburgh, Dublin had big shoes to follow.

Dublin is undergoing a craft beer revolution at the moment and it was going to be interesting to see what foreign visitors from the UK, Europe and the USA thought of it.

The Thursday evening pub crawl was arranged by Reuben Gray who had a major part in getting the conference to Dublin this year, and this highlighted the best craft beer bars Dublin has to offer. Ian (11pm Somewhere Podcast) and I arranged to meet early to film a pre conference hangout, the videos are below. We were joined by Carol Dekkers from Tampa Florida, Eric & Flo of Brewsweplate and Brian of Irish Craft Beer Show. 

So along comes Friday and conference proper. The advice was to eat before we arrived as there was a trade show displaying the best of Irish brewing before events kicked off at 2pm. I could think of no better place than the Ugly Duckling Cafe in the Epicurean Food Hall. I went with the McWurly, which is a battered beef burger in a bun with cheese and salad. Accompanied with a side of chips. This set me up for the day. 

From here we made our way to the Church Bar, which used to be a Church funnily enough given the name. Arthur Guinness even got married there. Where we registered and made our way through the samples. It was great to see some of the newer brewers there especially Black Donkey Brewing who really came with a great farmhouse ale called “Sheep Stealer” (Review to follow) There were some other great beers including the Honey IPA by Sharps, the Big Brown Bear by Trouble Brewing and N17’s famous Rye Ale. 

The events kicked off with a history of brewing in Ireland which was fascinating to learn that it goes back thousands of years. Though it would explain a lot. Which lead onto a great discussion on the merits of Cask vs Keg, and Can vs Bottle. I expected this to get a bit heated, however it was a well delivered presentation which I think covered all the pros and cons in a balanced way but ultimately there are some styles that aren’t suited to certain packaging. There then the last talk for the afternoon which had a panel discussion with Sarah of N17, Cathal of Rascals, and Paul from Trouble Brewing. A wide range discussed, including the topical pricing issues. I think Sarah summed it up best when she said as a brewer she wants to “keep it in the hands of the people!”

From here we had a break before the big festivities of the evening, Dinner in St James’ Gate hosted by Guinness, and the legendary Pilsner Urquell party. Taking the opportunity a few of us recently acquainted bloggers went to the Norseman to try the Kinsale Pale Ale which was pouring through a Randall. We caught up with the group as they continued along Fishamble St on the Way to St James’ Gate. 

I’m going to leave this post here, as I feel the Guinness event and Pilsner Urquell event really deserve a lot more detail. 

All in all, Day 1 was a fun day. Met some really interesting people, Sarah, Sean, Richard and Carol. The craic was mighty all day. We had some fantastic drinks. And it meant the second day was also going to be great. 

Into the breach – European Beer Bloggers Conference Dublin 2014

So as many of my regular readers will know I started this blog last year and have slowly and steadily built up a readership averaging between 2500 and 3000 readers per month.

This blog has got me to some great things such as media access to the fantastic Alltech Brews and Food festival in Dublin last February. I’ve made strong connections with several brewers and feel a firm part of the Irish craft beer scene.

So it is with a sense of excitement I’m going into next weeks European Beer Bloggers Conference in Dublin. I’m excited for a number of reasons but mainly as it’s a fantastic opportunity to network and learn from peers who have been where I have been and have grown into hugely respected blogs with multiples of my readership.

I’m also really looking forward to the local brewers showcasing their talents as its not often seen outside Ireland and that its our duty as bloggers to spread the good word of the blossoming Irish Craft Beer Scene.

Some of the talks that are scheduled I’m hoping to pick up things that will help me to become a better blogger.  But most of all this is going to be a hell of a lot of fun.

The evening sessions will no doubt be great fun too as I always say beer is a social lubricant.

No doubt myself and Ian of podcast fame will be getting up to no good somewhere. For those of you interested we are hoping to have a Google hangout pre event at the Brewdock on Amiens St, at 4ish on the Thursday for any of you who are getting into Dublin early.

Like minded individuals in an environment that will be no doubt relaxed having a few jars. This is gonna be special.

All kicking off next Thursday with the pub crawl organised by Reuben Gray ( to attendees and organisers I look forward to sharing a pint with you at some stage over the few days.