Golden Pints 2017

Golden Pints 2017

It’s that time of year when we try to recall and relive our favourite beery moments through a rip roaring 2017. For the podcast this year it was a challenge to maintain our frequency due to my college course that I was doing until the summer time. It is our intention to return to more frequent recording from mid – late January 2018. I also want to be writing more.

We’d so many highlights over the year, and as always it’s so difficult to pick them all out but we will try our best to get through all our categories.

Best Irish Keg Beer:
W –
we’ve been spoiled this year with so many brewers coming on in leaps and bounds in terms of quality and innovation, and I know i’ll always plump for it if I see it, and that’s YellowBelly Citra Pale ale, but the best beer I had by an Irish Brewer on keg this year was Ambush by Trouble Brewing. Now also in Cans, but this beer never disappoints. A truly juicy pale ale. Special mention to the lads in O’Brother who nailed it with Nightcrawler, a lovely Nitro Stout that came on the scene late in 2017.
J – having tried the freshly kegged and maybe not fully carbonated Rainmaker by O’Brother Brewing at the RDS festival, I knew it was going to be special so when I got to taste it but when I got to taste it fully carbed up, it was a thing of beauty, and one i’ve revisited many times. Also special mention to Whiplash for Body Riddle, such a tasty beer.

Best Irish Cask Beer
W – Not something we see a lot of her, as many brewers don’t do a huge amount of it, but kudos to those that do, and there has been some great cask ales produced, my favourite of the year though was Trouble Brewing’s Walk on the Mild Side, which was everything I wanted in a Mild. Special mentions to both O’Brother who have a steady supply of their casks in Porterhouse, and The Chancer is always kept well, and also the Yellowbelly lads too.
J – Not had a huge amount of cask beer this year, but really enjoyed Yellow Belly – Snooze Button on cask recently.

Best Irish Bottled Beer
W & J- Sometimes overlooked, this category, but there were some cracking bottles through out the year. One for me was Galway Bay – 200 Fathoms 2017 edition, given an extra six months in the bottle, this matured into a lovely sipper, a luxurious impy stout. Special mentions to St Mel’s – A New Dawn, a cracking black IPA from a brewery perhaps known more for their traditional styles.

Best Irish Canned Beer
W – 
Now, the cat among the pigeons, more and more breweries are packaging in to cans, it’s a larger canvas to show off their branding, but it’s the liquid inside that counts right? I really can’t look beyond Whiplash Beer – Saturate Mosaic DIPA, but every thing that followed, Let It Happen, Fantasm Planes, and Gravity’s Rainbow. All bangers in every right. Honourable mentions to Yellowbelly – Citra Pale Ale, and Hopped in Space, Trouble Brewing – Ambush.
J – For me, Rascals Brewing – Foggy Juice. A great beer and hopefully we see more of it in the future. Honourable mention to Yellowbelly – Are you not entertained? , and also to Westmeath’s Dead Centre Brewing  – Marooned Oatmeal IPA

Best Overseas Draught Beer
W – This is a hugely difficult one, we’ve been over to the UK a fair bit, and had so many tasty beers, I really need to start using untappd more. 😂 I think i’d have to say the pintage we had down in the Magic Rock Tap room with Steve from Hopinions has probably some of the standouts, Cannonball was a thing of beauty, fresh from the source. Also Modernisme and Time Quake. As we don’t see it here much, Cannonball was my pick. Brewdog – had a couple of big ones too in Paradox Rye, and Born to Die 13.05.17
J – One from Darkcity for me, Cloudwater – Speyside Chocolate BA Imp Stout, was amazing, also loved Northern Monk – Sticky Toffee Strannik. On cask had the Walnut Brown by Old Chimneys and that was lovely.

Good King Henry at Dark City – gorgeous

Best Overseas Canned / Bottled Beer
W – So many amazing can’s are making their way to us now in Ireland, but only one winner for me and that’s Chubbles by Cloudwater / The Veil – a Triple IPA that was so juicy, and didn’t drink it’s ABV, also we’ve been spoiled by the Northern Monk beers, especially some of their collabs, such as I like to moob it moob it.
J – We’ve had some amazing beers coming in from Lervig and one of my favourites, was Tasty Juice, did exactly what it says on the tin. Also really like supersonic and the 3 Bean Stout by Lervig too

Janice with Lervig Head Brewer – Mike Murphy

Best Overall Beer
W – For me, it’s trying to pick one from the many amazing beers that i’ve enjoyed over the year, but the one I probably drunk most of was Whiplash – Saturate – absolutely love Mosaic, and this hides its ABV really well.
J – All about the sessionability for me, Whiplash strike again with Body Riddle. Have it every time I see it.

Best Branding / Pump Clip
W & J- 
Yellowbelly have done an amazing job with their branding yet again, and we were even immortalised for our collaboration Juice Wayne. But with an increase in output and a range of amazing IPAs, it has to be Whiplash for me, the work by Sophie Devere, is gorgeous to look at and looks great on the cans.


Best Pub
W&J – 
To our friends Geoff and Maire, 57 The Headline again epitomises the best of pubs in Ireland, great range of beer, whiskey’s and gins, matched to a thoughtful food menu which is great any day of the week. Especially those Sunday Roasts. Keep up the good work guys. Honourable mentions to P.Macs and Bar Rua which offer something for everyone. PS the Halloumi fries in P.Macs are awesome.

Best New Pub / Bar
W&J – When Paddy Delahunty and Barry Kavanagh announced they were opening a bar, beer geeks across the city rejoiced. A constantly rotating taplist, which is live online (here) that has enough to keep everyone interested. A cosy space on Dame St, with meat and cheese boards now too plus spirits etc there was never going to be anywhere else getting the nod from us. It has to be Underdog


Beer Festival of the Year
W & J – Spoiled for choice this year, first up early in the year we had Alltech Brews and Food, tickets are on sale already for 2018 edition, then we’d the Killarney Beer Fest in May, which was a lot of fun. Also had the the Brewdog AGM. But the bar was set very high by White Hag’s Hagstravanza which brought a whole new meaning to a piss up in a brewery, we’re really looking forward to next years. We also had a great time up in Belfast at the ABV Fest which is a truly unique festival which i’d like to see something similar in Dublin, and of course Dark City back in November. Winner is Hagstravaganza


Beer Twitterer
W – Has to be the Beer Nut for me (again I hear you cry) John has a sharp wit, and is great to have a pint with.
J – I really enjoy Crafty Beer Tweets twitter account, he’s a sound bloke too.

Best Irish Brewery
W & J – not often we’d agree on something, but it’s a unanimous decision, our Brewery of the Year 2017 is Whiplash – not only are Alan and Alex two of the nicest folk you’ll meet, they’re also two of the biggest beer geeks ever. They’re literally bringing out beers they want to drink and have a ton of fun doing it. Moving into their own digs with Larkin’s brewery for 2018 we’re expecting more of the same awesomeness. Honourable mentions to Trouble Brewing, Rascals, Yellowbelly, who have been knocking out great beers all year, and have really been great.


We left off a couple of categories for brevity, thanks for reading, and Happy New Year. May 2018 be a prosperous and great beery year for you all.


Golden Pints 2016

Golden Pints 2016

Ok, so we’ve done a look back of 2016 in our last podcast episode, however, in keeping with the annual tradition we’re going to put down our thoughts in writing. You can find the details on the podcast episode here

Best Irish Keg Beer
W – For me, best Irish Keg beer this year was Yellowbelly – Citra Pale Ale absolutely brilliant in its simplicity plus combined with my favourite hop. Notable Mentions to Galway Bay Hexed & I Love NE, 8 Degrees Mandarina Bavaria, Whiplash Rollover
J – Bonita by O’Brother Brewing, absolutely loved it, and got to pour my own glass of it at the RDS Beer Fest in September.

Best Irish Cask Beer
W – Not had a huge amount of cask beer this year from Irish Brewers, however I did have a couple of pints of O’Brother – The Sinner recently in Porterhouse Central, and it was pouring in great form.
J – Not a huge amount of cask for me either, but do remember enjoying Brehon Rising by Brehon at a tap takeover in 57 The Headline, and also a notable mention to Galway Bay – Diving Bell which has matured beautifully.

Best Bottled / Canned Irish Beer
W – For me, absolutely best was Whiplash – Rollover in cans it sings, it’s older brother Surrender to the Void was equally immense. Notable mention to Francis Big Banging IPA by McGargles in cans also, but Rollover wins for pure sessionability. Bottle wise, The Crafty Brewing Company IPA & Pale Wheat Ale both really stood out.
J – Best can for me, as well as the above, was the cans of HiViz by Blacks Brewery which was great. Bottle wise, we had lots of great bottles by 8 Degrees thoughout the year, but I really enjoyed the Fearless Farmhouse Ale with notable mention to White Hag – Berry Hibiscus Puca

Best Overseas Draught Beer
W – Having travelled quite a bit throughout the year there are numerous beers we tried and enjoyed over the year, for me, there were some great beers coming out of the UK, I really enjoyed Northern Monk – Double Heathen at Indyman, with notable mentions for Brewdog Abstrakt 20 and Kernel – London Sour Damson. Also enjoying Axe Edge in Buxton Taphouse was a treat
J – Really enjoyed the Brew By No – 24/03 at Indyman and when I was in Rotterdam the Imperial Red IPA by Kaapse stood out amongst all the beers from the year.

Best Overseas Canned / Bottled Beer
W – So many good beers, especially thanks to our friends in the UK and beyond, but one that stands out for me over the year is Firestone Walker Parabajava 2015, a cracker. Also really enjoyed St Lupullin by Odells
J – One that stood out for me was Alesmith – Speedway Stout that a friend brought us back from San Diego, notable mentions for Kees – Caramel Fudge StoutFourpure – Juicebox and Northern Monk Strannik.

Best Overall Beer
W – For me, it’s beauty is it’s simplicity, a straightforward malt bill, and citra hops, this years beer of the year for me is Yellowbelly – Citra Pale Ale
J – It shouldn’t surprise anyone, but for me again Bonita by O’Brother was cracking, with notable mention to Crafty Brewing Company – Pale Wheat Ale.

Best Branding / Pump Clip
W – It would be impossible to look beyond Yellowbelly who have created a universe around their hero and they stand out a mile on the shelf, or at the taps. However I do also love the sleek modern branding of the Whiplash range very tastefully done.
J – I agree with Wayne’s, but my favourite Branding is by O’Brother & Eight Degrees

Best Pub / Bar of the Year
W & J – For us, it’s got to be 57 The Headline, great food, great choice of not only beers, but also Gins and Whiskey. Plus they hosted without doubt the best Tap Takeover this year which featured Yellowbelly. Notable mention to our old favourite Brewdock where we had our festive pints this year, and the lads at P.Macs who have been ploughing away there really well.

New Pub / Bar Opening
W & J – In Dublin, we’ve had the opening of Bar Rua on Clarendon St. The lads in Carrig Brewing own this bar, and have transformed it from it’s previous life into a lovely bar with a nice range of draught and bottled beers. With matching food to match. In our locality we are delighted to welcome Brú House Navan. While there is a good range of beer on tap at the moment I would like to see a little more diversity there and in the bottle fridges. But as it’s only open, this should develop over the next while.

Independent Retailer of the year
W&J – Given it’s so local, it can only be The Winehouse in Trim, it’s where we’ve picked up so many of our beers this year. Notable mentions to Molloys in Clonsilla, and to Stephen’s Street News. Haven’t gotten to Drinkstore, or Baggot St Wines as much this year but they’re still good at what they do.

Beer Festival of the Year
W&J – From the Irish representatives, we’d the most fun at the Killarney Beer Fest it was a much more relaxed affair than the big one at the RDS but takes place in one of the nicest parts of the country. Alltech Brews was also a great event, in a great location too.  For choice and range of beers alone though for us, Indyman remains up there as the best of the year for a foreign beer festival.

Best Beer Blog
W – There are a few blogs out there I enjoy reading, I’m a big fan of The Beer Nut, he’s set the standard for so long in Ireland. But the one i’ve enjoyed reading the most this year is Matt Chinnery’s The Half Pint Gentleman well done mate.
J – I’m a big fan of John (The Beer Nut) also, but also really enjoy reading Hopinions’ Martin Oates Beer is the Answer and our favourite Geordie Myles Lambert Drinking got me thinking blog 

Best Beer Twitterer
W – Can I say me? Ha, only kidding, there are so many to choose from. I really enjoy John’s company having a pint or three, and his dry sense of humour really translates well to twitter. Therefore for me, it’s The Beer Nut
J – Personally I enjoy the banter and interaction with John Coote,  who gave us loads of advice as we transitioned the blog to WordPress. Also Notable mention to Martin and Steve from Hopinions .

Best Irish Brewery 2016
W – Like trying to pick a favourite child, but thats the job isn’t it. In terms of scale and range of so many different beers, and brands, Rye River Brewing through their McGargles beers, and have been punching above their weight with the Crafty Brewing Company Brand for Lidl Ireland, and Grafters for Dunne’s Stores. Or the sheer inventiveness of Yellowbelly of Wexford. For me, it is just, and I mean this, just, Yellowbelly as they’ve done a load of different styles, and are having loads of fun doing it.
J – I gauge this on who i make a beeline for at festivals, and for me, it’s O’Brother Brewing who have been consistently ticking away while bringing out new beers. I must also say 8 Degrees have been doing great things with their IPAs, and have truly cemented their reputation as a great brewery doing interesting things, but also the basics right too.

That being said, 2016 has been a great year for the Irish Beer Scene, from what we’ve seen the standard and quality of beer being produced is ever increasing. We’re also seeing lots of new styles being brought in and done. There are so many brewers we would love to have included in this list, but that’s just based on the year for us. We look forward to where 2017 will bring us.

#GoldenPints 2015 – Our look back over a great year for beer.

Ok, so we may be cutting this close to the finish line for 2015, but here’s our look back over the last 12 months in Beer in Ireland and beyond. This should be fun! There may be arguments as we write this!! (Janice’s are in Italics)

Best Irish Cask Beer 
As we all know, Cask is a rare beast on these shores, but there are some notable exceptions. There are some bars pouring some quality Irish Beer on cask. Oddly, Janice & I are in mutual agreement on the winner. We first had the luck of having it pouring at our festival in Smyth’s during the summer, but got to revisit it in Porterhouse Temple Bar with Will Siss who proclaimed it his favourite beer of the evening. None other than Brehon Brewhouse Shanco Dubh

Best Irish Keg Beer
Now, this is where it gets really difficult. There has been a large number of standout brews this year which have genuinely given loads of pleasure. But as Highlander says, “There can only be one!” for me, the beer that gave me a genuine Wow experience was McGargles Francis’ Banging IPA, this is the beer that should change a lot of peoples perceptions, as this was such a juicy banger. I’m so happy it’s widely available in Bottle too.

Those loveable scamps from O’Brother Brewing have announced themselves to the Irish Beer audience with a sequence of excellent beers, my favourite of theirs is Bonita a juicy delicious Black IPA. I really hope to see this again.

Best Irish Bottle Beer

Only one winner for me, 200 Fathoms by Galway Bay especially after we reviewed it with the Beer O’Clock Show recently after the bottles had been conditioning for a good number of months after. Such an amazing beer and can’t wait for the 2016 edition

Our favourite Antipodeans Scott & Cam of 8 Degrees have regularly been knocking it out of the park this year. My favourite though was Polar Vortex which highlighted that classic hop Cascade in a great IPA.

Best Irish Canned Beer

Not too many potential winners here, given canning is relatively new to these shores, but if anything Blacks Kinsale Pale Ale is a shining example of a beer perfectly suited to this medium. Keeping this beer ultra fresh for enjoyment. Also being reasonably priced this helps. We’re looking forward to trying more Irish Beers in Can in 2016

Best Overseas Draught

Oh good lord, how is one to choose only one here! This year we’ve had some truly amazing beers on our travels. Really it’s such a difficult one. But for me it’s going to be a beer I had at Indyman in Manchester back in October. For me it was the amazing Yellow Belly Sundae collab by Buxton & Omnipollo. 1st beer of the Saturday session a true pleasure.

Again reaching back into the Indyman box, was the Key Lime Tau brewed at Hawkshead in collaboration with Crooked Stave just tasted like liquid Key Lime Pie. Amazing

Best Overseas Bottle

Wow this is another tough one. For me, I adore hoppy beers. So it’s literally a toss up for me between Brewdog Born to Die 27.11 or Cloudwater DIPA both absolutely amazing beers. Got to try the two pretty close together in Manchester back in November. I think the Born to Die just sniffs it for me, as they’d balanced it out better than their first version. A truly great beer, and delicious fresh
For me, it was another tough choice, while I loved Born to Die. The best foreign bottle beer i’d had this year was Mikkeller Crooked Moon DIPA such unbelievable fruity flavours. 

Best Overseas Can

Well we’re getting a fair few overseas cans over here. But my caveat for this is as yet i’ve not drank Cannonball in Can’s yet. So it’s not there. It’s a straight up choice for me between Beavertown Power of Voodoo DIPA and Vocation Life & Death. The Vocation beer just pips it, on the basis that i’ve had all the cans in their range now and Life & Death just sings in this format.

As if there weren’t enough reasons to get more Roosters beers over here, but really enjoyed the Baby Faced Assassin that we got in a care package 

Best Collaboration

Only one winner for me. Buxton & Omnipollo combining for Yellow Belly Sundae. Although I was genuinely impressed by the Irish Collaboration between Stone Barrel Brewing and Simon Lambert’s & Sons – the Stone Belly IPA was genuinely great. 

My favourite collaboration was Key Lime Tau by Hawkshead & Crooked Stave

Best Overall Beer

For me Brewdog’s Born to Die 27.11 was the best beer in 2015, however really honourable mentions to Shanco Dubh and Francis’ Bangin IPA as they are available a lot more easily. 

My favourite Beer of 2015 was Bonita by O’Brother Brewing

Best Branding

I personally love the branding on the O’Brother Brewing bottles as it stands out from the crowd. The sleekness of the Wicklow Wolf is also very good. But showing growing maturity as a brand, the labelling on the 8 Degrees portfolio, especially the specials is fantastic.

I love 8 Degrees branding for me. Notable mentions to Mountain Man, and Black’s of Kinsale

Best Pumpclip

As far as standout pump clips go O’Brother Brewing Bonita surely got them chattering. Which we both loved. Great to see them work with an Irish artist for their labelling.

Best Irish Brewery

For me, 8 Degrees this year just pip it from some of the others. A really solid range, and a regular slew of specials throughout the year. Well done lads looking forward to seeing what you come up with in 2016

Relatively new to the table i’m going with O’Brother Brewing who have some great American style beers, and aren’t afraid to use hops, as well as some great specials like Brutus, and Joe that show they’re more than a one trick pony.

Best Overseas Brewery

Based on the range of beers they produce alone, and their collaborations, Buxton Brewery have really impressed us, we’re looking forward to trying more of their wares in 2016. Axe Edge is a really good IPA that would challenge any other beers out there.

Best Pub / Craft Beer Bar

Based purely on range of Irish craft on draft i’d give it to them alone, however add in their quality food offering and genuine hospitality, 57 The Headline is my favourite. It’s well worth the short trip out to Clanbrassil St

How could I not say Brew Dock after all, we’ve been pretty much drinking their since it opened. It’s had a paint job, and rumour has it they’ll have more taps on soon!

Best Beer Festival

We didn’t attend the Irish Craft Beer Festival this year as we were in Belgium at the time but we did attend other festivals. Abv Fest in Belfast back in May was a great event in a great location. There was also the Alltech Brews & Food Festival in February. But our favourite experience this year was Indyman a truly unique festival with a great vibe and great people.

Independent Retailer / Online of the Year

Usually when buying beer I buy it off line, and spread it around a few indy off licences. Baggot St Wines, Carryout Tyrellstown, Winehouse Trim, Drinkstore. All truly great places. Too hard to pick a winner, but if I had to, it’d be The Winehouse in Trim, mainly as it’s local and I can get there in 10 minutes. For Online Drinkstore is hard to beat. We have used Brewdog online a bit this year and they know how to package their deliveries! 
Best Beer Blog or Website

There can only be one – BeerOClock Show – a nicely laid out site with blog, podcasts and other bits and bobs. We also enjoy Simon Says You Should Drink This, The Beernut, Belgian Smaak and Total Ales.

Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer 

It would have to be Tom of @CraftBeerHour he has created a truly great thing with #Craftbeerhour and we love to take part. It was great to meet him recently, and who knows what the future may hold collaboration wise! 🙂

Best Brewery Website / Social Media

For Website – 8 Degrees all day long, they always have info on their new beers including recommended food pairings and tasting notes
For Social Media – O’Haras do a great job via their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds.

Thanks for reading our Golden Pints!

Golden Pints 2014 – The Podcast Edition

This year, rather than the traditional written scribe of Golden Pints, we decided to do it as a podcast. 

It’s up on Itunes now, the feed link is for those on Android or don’t use Itunes, and the direct link to the MP3 for download is here

We broadly followed the same format as the Golden Pints, and ramble on a bit too.

So here are some of the areas we cover.
  • Best Irish Beer 2014 – Keg / Bottle
  • Best International / UK Beer 2014 – Keg / Bottle
  • Best Beer in Can / Bottle
  • Best Cask
  • Best Pub
  • Best Beer Experience
  • Best Off licence

Having listened back to the podcast, i’ve decided to summarise here (Janice’s in Italics)

My Best Irish Beer 2014 – 8 Degrees Full Irish – a full on hop forward pale ale – deliciously drinkable. Honourable mentions to Bo Bristle Imp Red and their Double IPA
Bo Bristle Imperial Red – big malty hoppy beer that we were privileged to have at Snobfest in Navan

Best Uk / International Beer: Brewdog – Black Eyed King Imp what a great dark beer, barrel aged version of Cocoa Psycho essentially – as mad as it sounds, and tastes amazing. Honourable mentions to Gamma Ray and Black Betty by Beavertown, and Magic Rock – Cannon Ball
Beavertown Gamma Ray – on Draught and Can one of my absolute favourites

Best Can – Gamma Ray – Beavertown – honourable mention for Oskar Blues G’Knight
Same as Wayne – Gamma Ray

Best Cask – Brú Autumn Ale was fantastic, as well as their core beers. Honourable mentions to Stone Barrel with their fantastic Day Trippin’ American Pale
Brú Autumn Ale – really enjoyed this at the ICBCF

Best Pub – This year, for me Farringtons  The Norseman, have stepped it up a gear – not only do they have a huge range of craft with macro to keep everyone happy they do nice food and have a massive whiskey selection – the new website really sends them over the top. Honourable mentions – Brewdock (aka my 2nd Home) Smyth’s on the Square Navan, The Oarsman Carrick on Shannon, and PJ Kavanagh’s Portlaoise. 
Smyth’s on The Square Navan – Huge Range of Craft in Bottles, and Arthur is such a great host

Best Beer Experiences, you’ll just have to listen to the podcast 🙂

Best Off Licence: Drinkstore, both for Offline and Online dealings – Superb. Honourable mentions to Smyth’s Navan, The Winehouse Trim, and Probus Wines which gave me one of the best experiences of 2014.
Carryout in Tyrellstown because they’ve a great range of craft, but the added bonus of the growler station – meaning we can enjoy some great draught only beers at home

Please share yours with us. Merry Christmas to all our readers/listeners, hope your 2014 was as good, and that 2015 is a great year