- 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)
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;
So, I know this event took place a while ago now, but I delayed putting up my blog post to take the opportunity to give some feedback to the team in the Central after the event.
Ok, so the event was on a Saturday, the 16th of August and it was in the Meryvn’s Yard section of this award winning pub. It was a space that I’d not seen before, but it was the perfect size, self contained, perfectly sheltered with everything you need for a festival.
All in all there was a great range of vendors there, including a debut from Jack Cody’s from nearby Drogheda. Local Brewer’s Brú were present front and centre, we also had Alltech’s Kentucky Ale, Blacks of Kinsale, Cotton Ball from Cork. There was cider from Dan Kelly’s and Cockagee from nearby Stackallen, just outside Slane. We also had Kilcock’s McGargles, and Dungarvan’s Dungarvan Brewing Company. A great turn out.
There was a threat of rain throughout the day but it thankfully stayed away. But there were plenty of places to seek shelter. As always, the food didn’t let you down, BBQ is perfect to go with Beers, and the Chicken Burger I had was delicious. Served with great salads also.
There were a few things that I think could have made the festival a little better such as kicking things off a little later in the afternoon, as it just seemed to be igniting when everyone was packing down for the evening. The price was a little on the high side too. There were some vendors from the macro world, which I felt didn’t really go with the tone of the festival.
There was some fun on the night with a homebrew competition, and the red ale that won was a superb beer. I forgot my own entry, however next time I wont. I’m also pleased to announce that The Central is going to become home to a new Homebrew Club, and the 1st meeting is going to be on Tuesday 7th October from about 8pm – if you are interested, please get in touch. I’ve also started a thread on the National Homebrew Club’s Forum, the link is here
But, for a first attempt, there was a lot right, however importantly, they’ve sought out feed back, and indeed i’d encourage anyone who was there, whether as a consumer or brewer that you get in touch with the guys, as they are hoping to make this a regular feature on the Meath calendar. And for that the lads deserve kudos for making it happen. Onward and upward!
Meath, the Royal County as it is affectionately known the world over. Home of such historical sites such as The Hill of Tara, Newgrange, and The Battle of the Boyne site. But something is stirring. The craft beer revolution that is booming along in Dublin is slowly reaching out to its neighbouring county.
Like anything progress can seem initially slow, but once we have the spark i’d expect to see it lift off like a rocket. In Navan the main town in Meath the pub at the forefront at the moment is The Central. A multifloored, multiroomed bar located on Trimgate Street. They offer a wide food offering and have regular events such as a monthly comedy night and other events. However it was the craft beer tasting that piqued my interest. The team at the Central are loyal to local producers and use them as much as possible.
Having met Paddy and Daire of Bru Brewery recently at the ICBCF in the RDS Dublin and subsequently got to know the lads a bit better and thoroughly enjoying their beers, particularly the Rua. I was going down to see how they’d got on since their successful launch in the RDS, where up with Amber Ella the Rua was one of the most talked about Beers of the Festival. Also in attendance was John from Premier Beers, who was going through the tasting on a range of the bottled craft on offer in the Central.
€10 was the cost per head, but this included samples of the three Bru Brewery beers, and samples of the range from premier which included Thwaites, Donegal Blonde, and Moorhouses beers. More on those later.
But debuting on the night was the Bru Lager, which poured in my opinion a lovely amber colour very similar to Brooklyn lager, however from talking to Paddy the next batch will more than likely be lighter on the colour scale as customers were double checking they’d ordered a lager. The flavour was very nice, and very quaffable, ABV of 4.2%. We were sat with a few total novices, and I must say the feedback I could hear on the three beers was all very positive. I know Paddy & Daire have had a couple of teething issues, but this is to be expected. The quality of the product stands up to scrutiny well. If the lads continue on this vain i’m sure it won’t be long before more local publicans will be looking to get on board.
John talked us through the offerings from Premier. Premier are renowned for importing all sorts from world wide, but they have started to do Donegal Blonde and I believer its flying out. Personally its a middle of the road for me, but I’d say it does well as its not too powerful one direction or the other. The stuff from Thwaites, from Yorkshire UK was good. The very successful Wainwright was very quaffable, but the IPA was a bit of a let down. Biggest surprise of the night for me was the Black Cat from Moorhouses, a sub 4% dark ruby ale, it comes in at 3.4% but was full of flavour, coffee notes.
There was a good crowd in sampling on the night and the little sausage sliders with charcuterie and cheese were lovely – hopefully the lads continue to push Bru as its only made down the road, literally, only 8 miles away. I’ll introduce myself to the lads there formally when they are less busy. Also in my Beoir capacity i’ve to give them their “Irish Craft Beer on Sale Here” sticker.
This is part 1 of my review of the week gone by. I’ll be putting up more later about what else i got up to
Sorry i’ve not posted in a little while been all quiet on the western front but there are a few things coming up over the next few weeks which i’ll be looking forward to sharing with you as soon as I can.
Not much in the way of beers etc being tried, but have been thinking about Christmas and what to do then. So any ideas from anyone out there have any suggestions for Christmas ales. One being given serious consideration at the moment is a nice chocolate stout float as part of the Christmas dinner.
So had a work lunch in Red Torch Ginger today – 2 course lunch including home made lemonade, iced tea, or water for €14.95 those who’ve read my previous reviews will know that I rate the food very highly. I went for the combo starter which was a spring roll, wanton, chicken satay and marvelous rib. For main course went with a delish Duck with Basil and Chilli stir fry with egg noodles. Also great to see that they are offering a range of craft beers. Some great beers on the list. Look forward to getting back and sampling with a meal next time guys.
Coming up, we’ve a wedding in the Shelbourne, a trip to Limerick, and i’m really looking forward to that, really looking forward to checking out the craft beer scene in Limerick.
Payday this weekend and expect a haul from Drinkstore or Sweeneys perhaps. However with my Beoir membership now getting me 10% off Irish Craft Beer at Drinkstore, thats looking like a winner.
Also hoping to check out the Honest to Goodness Market on Saturday Morning.
So i’ve not been in hibernation, just planning!