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.