Sheep Stealer – Black Donkey Brewing

The first beer from new brewers, Black Donkey Brewing of Roscommon is the Sheep Stealer, a farmhouse ale, a traditionally brewed Saison. This beer debuted at the recent European Beer Bloggers conference in Dublin. It was one of the stars of the show.

Richard and his wife Michaela are behind this new venture and have returned to Ireland after years in New York to join in the Irish Craft Beer Revolution. A saison is a brave choice to open up with but this thing stole headlines. I applaud this, too often do we see people playing it safe going with a Pale Ale or Red Ale. 

No doubt in part to the striking label that was painted especially for the brewers.

Pours a lovely orange colour, with a crisp white head. Once you get past that Saison aroma, it opens up into lovely citrus notes. That familiar tartness is there and nicely carbed for the style, the yeast giving those familiar clove like and peppery flavours.

I look forward to seeing this in a wider arena and trying it on draught. 

There is the East Coast Launch, this Thursday, the 22nd August in 57 The Headline, Clanbrassil St, Dublin 8. The guys are hoping to set a new record for keg emptying. Priced at 4.50 for a pint, for a 5.5% beer this is going to shift. I’m just sorry I won’t be there to help. They will of course be at the RDS in a few weeks if you don’t get to try it 

Dublin Craft Beer Tour

Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats sang about hating Mondays and with good reason, its universally known as the worst day of the week. You go to bed on Sunday evening with that Monday morning fear. Well this past monday we did something different than what we’d usually do on a Monday evening. We were going to do a Craft Beer Tour of Dublin.

Now I met Kevin through mutual friends in Probus wines recently and I said i’d come along and try round up a few heads for Kevin’s tour. Sadly the weather was rubbish and a few people dropped out on account of the weather. 

The premise is quite simple, we all meet at 730 in the Beerhouse on Capel St, and the group then goes on one of the two routes which will take in 4 pubs in total including the starting pub.

Our route this evening will take us via Farringtons, Cassidy’s and JW Sweetman. All stalwarts of the Craft beer scene in Dublin. The thing is, we are only trying Irish Craft Beers.

Our first beer of the night was a new one from Franciscan Well. Now its well documented they are part of the Molson Coors Family, but this does not stop them producing quality beers. Tonight’s offering was a Clementine and Rosemary Saison. 

A trio of Saison, photo by @bakingbatchelor

Kevin explained the beer was made by a friend of his and that he helped by peeling 27KG of clementines. Hopefully when it’s bottled you’ll get a few for your hard work. It was strange drinking this beer on a dank Monday evening but it was very tasty and well balanced. It would be a great summer beer. So will keep an eye out for this when it launches soon.

Next stop was Farringtons where we would get to sample a different beer. This time we had a Rascals Ginger Porter. It wasn’t the first time i’d had it and it was still as surprisingly light as the first time i’d had it. Well done Cathal & Emma, and am looking forward to seeing your new brewhouse in Rathcoole.

Rascals Ginger Porter photo by @dunnejm

From here we ran the hurdle through Temple Bar to Cassidy’s of Westmoreland St. In here we all had the rocksteady Metalman Pale Ale. 

Metal Man Pale Ale photo by @bakingbatchelor

Then for the last stop of the night, JW Sweetmans on Burgh Quay. In here we all went with their Galaxy Hopped Amber Ale. A very tasty amber ale and would recommend anyone who’s in there to try it before it all goes.

Kevin runs the tour’s every Monday evening and meets at the Beerhouse on Capel St. The meet time is 730PM. He can be found on Facebook, and Twitter @crafttourdublin. Definitely one of the more interesting ways to spend a Monday evening.