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. 

Weekend in Limerick.

So since my last update i’ve gathered some swag from Drinkstore, got some 8 Degrees Amber Ella one of the stars of the recent Irish Craft Beer & Cider Fest. Also picked up a few others including a bottle of whiskey barrel aged Leann Follain by O’Haras that i’m going to keep by for Christmas.

Anyway the main point of this post is to share what went down in Limerick this past weekend.

So after work on Friday drove down to Limerick and thanks to the motorway network made it in a very reasonable time once we got past the accident in Naas.

Our lodgings for the weekend were The Pier Hotel on Sarsfield Bridge. Easy to find and very centrally located. A very keen price and as it turned out was very good value for money. The rooms were clean, and the Breakfast was great. The real stand out thing was the fact breakfast was on til 12! That is a first for me, but it was a very tasty breakfast and the staff were really helpful.

The first night giving we got down around 830 we were famished and went to Bella Italia, an Italian Restaurant – we just went with main courses. It was on Thomas St a short hop from the hotel. Sadly the food wasn’t as great as we hoped, but filled a hole none the less. Though the pint of Peroni for €4.95 was a great thirst quencher. Once we were done there we retired back to the hotel bar for a couple of drinks. Sadly no craft beer there so had to slum it.

What an amazing view

The next day we were blessed with the weather for our trip out to the magnificent Cliffs of Moher. Only an hour or so from Limerick. Amazing scenery and one of our best tourist attractions. There was a healthy crowd there. On our way back from the Cliffs we stopped in Lahinch in a local pub called Danny Macs. We had a clam chowder with a pint, well not me as I was driving had to make do with water! 😦 this would be remedied later on. 

Once we got back to Limerick we dumped the car and went off to watch the 2nd half of the United match (now i wish i hadn’t bothered) we picked Smiths as a place to watch it due to their large amount of screens. Happily they’d Pilsner Urquell available on draught, and it was only lovely. I also loved the tankard style pint glasses 

Lovely Retro Style Tankard

So after here – i’d had enough – we decided to move on to another pub.Luckily we didn’t have far to go. The Crafty Fox was a mere stones throw down the street. I’d heard good things, and was very keen to try it out. Also there was plenty of screens to watch the All Ireland Hurling Final Replay, which was sensational. 

The Bar in the Crafty Fox – Well Stocked.

The beer menu for a limerick bar was very good, a lot of irish craft present on the taps, O’Haras and Franciscan Well having a couple of taps each, was also nice to see 8 Degrees Howling Gale, and Metalman. Importantly all very well priced. Again there was a nice choice of bottles but it was the taps that we supped from. I’d a Metalman and Dark Arts,both fantastic as always. Mrs Irishbeersnob was supping the Rebel Red. We’d a couple there and watched the amazing climax of the hurling and went off to dinner.

Chocolat in Limerick was recommended to us by our friend. What really sealed the deal was their 4 course meal for €25. On a saturday night. Mad value for money. This is what the 9% Vat rate gets us. Unbelievable value for money. The restaurant was very swanky, down stairs in the main dining room you were treated to a really modern restaurant. The music in the backround was more akin to a night club however. That was the only quibble. The food was fantastic. I went with the BBQ Rib to start, and the Sirloin Steak main, for dessert a Ferrero Rocher cheesecake. All three courses were really impressive. There was also NO supplemant for having steak. Mrs Beersnob had Clonakilty Blackpudding cake, with the BBQ Ribs as a main. I’d a Worthingtons White Knight and herself a blue moon. Obviously their beer was supplied by Molson Coors. Not the absolute worst. But was a bit disappointing not to see Irish craft there.

Then for the finale of the night we made our way to the Blind Pig.I saw on twitter earlier in the day they’d been tapped up by White Gypsy for their Ruby – an ale i’d never had before. But how hadn’t I, it was sensational. Had a nice few pints of this. To mix it up i’d a Fischers later but there was something up with the keg as it tasted off, the guys were happy to swap it out and i’d an Asahi instead. The staff were really friendly. There was a metal/rock Dj on as the metal bar downstairs wasn’t open. All in all, was very very impressed. 

The Beoirfinder App suggested a few other pubs had Irish Craft – sadly we ran out of time – but will be back in the future to check out the rest of the scene in Limerick.