Podcast Episode 12 – Summer Ale & Watering Holes!

In the current instalment of the Irish Beer Snob podcast, our intrepid beer explorers talk through the latest news in the Irish Craft Beer Scene, and review Brehon Brewhouse’s Summer Ale.



We also opened out to our audience to give us their favourite watering holes wherever they may be to share with our audience.

There are some great beery spots on the list which is by no means a complete list.

The direct MP3 link is here

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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. 

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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

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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. 

That Friday Feeling – A Visit to the Harbourmaster

So Friday comes around last week, and since it was the end of our first week back after our holidays, myself and Mrs Irish Beer Snob decided some after work libation was in order.

It was a glorious Friday evening and we settled upon revisiting an old favourite, The Harbourmaster Bar, in the IFSC (www.harbourmaster.ie / Twitter @HarbourMBar) it had been many moons since I was a regular patron, back in the good old days when I worked on Lwr Abbey St. The last time I was in there I think was a Friday night after a Prodigy gig at the o2 in 2009. My wife was a more recent visitor with her work Christmas Party in 2012. Open Monday to Saturday, closed Sundays except for Private Functions.

As a hardened commuter, its convenient location to BusAras, is very appealing (not too far to stumble for that last bus home) however its also very convenient for those folks who use Connolly, and indeed as a Pitstop to the o2, given its proximity to the Luas Line.

There is no doubt, the building is a wonderfully restored historical building, one of many dotted around the IFSC in among all the modern office structures. Other examples would include the CHQ Building in close proximity. Anyway, i’m nowhere near qualified enough to talk about the architecture etc, but I will say its a nice building. 

The Harbour Master Bar, IFSC, Dublin 1. The blue sky is not photoshopped.

In these austere times, patrons are looking for value for money, no more so than in the hospitality game. But can you still get value without sacrificing quality or standards, that is the question. 

We arrived in an the bar was very busy, good to see, and it was a nice mix of workers from the local area, and there were a few tourists in aswell. Initially there wasn’t any space in the bar area, and we sat in the restaurant section. Only for Mrs IrishBeerSnob to see a lovely little table available on her way back from the ladies room. We let the waitress know we were moving and settled in.

Thursday and Fridays have a special offer, all mainstream pints, bottles, and spirits were €4.20. In D1? Surely not? In context, thats only 20c more expensive than my local at home for a pint of G, and 30c cheaper for a pint of Heineken et al. Fantastic! So we got a food menu, and Jasmine took our drinks order.

So we order a Guinness, and Coors. While we mulled over the menu. There really wasn’t any mulling except, what size portion of wings, or do we want fries? So in the end we plumped for the Wings & Fries Special for €11.00. I don’t know about you, if i’m having a few drinks I don’t want a massive feed to fill me, so this fit the bill perfectly.

As we nattered away people watching we discussed our impressions, and first impressions are good. High Ceilings allow plenty of air flow and not a claustrophobic feeling, and plenty of windows allow you to watch the world go by. A very pleasant and clearly has recently been given a facelift. At the time of writing there was only one set of toilets, but we were told new ones were nearing completion upstairs at the function rooms.

Our food arrived, a nice size portion. May be a bit much for one, but more than enough to share and not be full to burst. Or if you were greedy. 🙂




So we were coming to the end of our drinks, this time I opted for Smithwicks Pale Ale (Its been out a while, not had it yet, not overly terrible for a large brewer, but defo not the best i’ve ever had) and Mrs IrishBeerSnob, her Smithwicks with a Guinness. 

The wings were very tasty, the sauce had a really nice flavour, that is really familiar nowadays with the wider availability of Franks Sauce. The only slight niggle was maybe they just weren’t crispy enough, the could maybe have done with another minute or two. But they were wolfed down, and that is always a good sign. The chips were lovely and crispy in that thin French Fry style we know well from McDonalds, and overall we enjoyed our bite to eat. The dips were ketchup and garlic mayo. A choice between blue cheese dip and garlic would have been nice, needless to say there wasn’t any left!

Now to the recommended beer lists, pictured below. Choice is a great thing and it gives you an opportunity to try something you’ve not tried before. I was very happy to see some  beers there i’d not heard much about or had before on the list. I appreciate for publicans when they carry so many lines its impossible to stock everything, cos lets face it its a business and they stock what sells, but it was a little disappointing to not see any Irish Craft there. I think its very important to support the growing Irish Craft beer scene, as by and large these small companies are ran by enterprising individuals and the more local produce we buy, the more we help our economy directly.

Page 1 of the Beer Recommendations
Page 2 of the Beer Recommendations

















Worthington’s White Knight IPA



All the same, I tried the Worthingtons IPA and Mrs IrishBeersnob had the Doombar by Sharps. I enjoyed mine, if a little underwhelmed. I expected more hoppy profile. Mrs IrishBeersnob loved hers and has tasked me to find a supply for her. She continually surprises me with her appetite for ales, especially English Ale. 

Sharp’s DoomBar




Have I found my new Friday watering hole? I think we may have. Whilst i love the absolutely barnstorming choice in the nearby Brewdock, which I have been a very regular customer of since they opened in 2012, the place has changed. The creeping prices of their product, the change in personnel, and perhaps most importantly its not as comfortable. With no air flow it can get very warm, i’d imagine today would be like an oven in there.

If CAMRA says so, scepticism removed


So all in all, Harbourmaster, we will see you again. I am happy to report that on this visit there was no signs of a trade off between a value  offering and a good customer experience. Keep it up. I suppose this is subjective, but we both felt it was good value, Great service accompanied with a good choice of beers (sadly no Irish Craft) and a vast menu, that does offer more than wings, but those who know me, know I love my wings. Couple of tweaks as mentioned earlier, and I won’t be looking at anything else on the menu.


We thoroughly enjoyed your hospitality, and we must give a special mention to our waitress, Jasmine from Derry. You were brilliant, and hope you continue to settle in. Oh and definitely bring the younger siblings to see Monsters University when it hits these shores in the very near future.




Thank you for reading, as always feel free to leave comments below, or contact me on twitter @irishbeersnob