The Summer Series – Smyth’s on the Square Navan

This coming weekend, on Saturday 18th July – we are hosting the first of a summer trilogy of Beer Festivals in Smyth’s on the Square, Navan, Co Meath.

Those of you who were at our last event in Smyth’s in September 2014 know what to expect, but for those who haven’t here’s the gist of what to expect.

We are highlighting 4 Craft Breweries, and 1 Craft Cider Producer. We are delighted to be welcoming some new comers to our festival, and some returning producers. 

Who we have coming are 
  • 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)
As if that wasn’t enough to get you excited, we will also be having BBQ food throughout the day, and live local musicians.

So come on down, to enjoy a nice relaxed atmosphere and enjoy some craft beer and cider. Get to chat to the producers directly and ask them any burning questions you may have had. 

Keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook pages for details of competition to win tickets to this event.

We will be back in Smyth’s on the 15th August, and 19th September, with a different line up of producers.

Brooklyn Summer Ale – Perfect Summer Beer (If we get one)

Ah summer time, a yearly tradition of decent weather. Well, not so far this year, but there are plenty of brewers out there who make beer for all seasons. Brooklyn Brewery are no stranger to this, having a regular range of seasonals.

I picked up a couple of can’s on a recent visit to Drink Store. Along with some other American Beers, which have started coming in cans to Ireland. There is a lot of debate on Canning we’ll cover this off later. Lets get back to the beer.

The beer itself is described as lighter ale, still packed with flavour from the English Malt, giving the beer a lovely bready / biscuity taste, with a subtle bitterness from German and US hops. This is a very quaffable beer, which when I saw was 5% I was surprised. It definitely didn’t taste it. This would be a great beer for the summer barbeque season, if we ever get one that is.

I’ve more reviews to follow from my haul, which includes can’s of Dale’s Pale Ale, Founders All Day IPA, and Modus Hoperandi, and will have these up soon.

As for canning, i’m amazed that not many people can, its easier for shipping, and will more than likely help a lot of styles, but not all. I took a sip of a can of All Day IPA and it tasted so fresh. Currently it is mainly the US producers canning, but its good to see that Thwaites have also started canning their Crafty Dan range. 

Sierra Nevada – Hoptimum 2013

American IPAs, we all know there are some amazing ones out there. However, really hoppy beers are best enjoyed fresh.

Somehow Sierra Nevada’s distributor here has managed to get their hands on some really fresh hoptimum. Only a few weeks old, rather than the sometimes months old – like who gets celebration in July when it was probably bottled before Christmas!

Glory be the gods.

For hopheads, as the bottle label shows! A Whole Cone Huricane no less.

Make no mistake, this is a roided up full frontal assault on your taste buds. Imperial is a perfect way to describe it.

IBU: 100
ABV: 10.4%
Hops: German Magnum, Chinook, Simcoe and a New Proprietary Variety

If you tried to go on a session with this stuff, it would kick your ass. Once i popped open the bottle I got a whiff of the aroma. So fresh. Those familiar citrus notes, amplified, and tempting you into downing this.

Now it pours a lovely amber colour with a nice frothy head, and tastes superbly balanced for such a high abv beverage. You’re not wincing with each mouthful, it does have that unmistakeable hoppy bitterness, but you’re not gagging as if you were drinking amaretto or something.

I can’t imagine there is too much stock around so get it while you can, it should be available in all good independent off licenses. Expect to pay a premium price for this, avg prices off sale i’ve seen are in around the €5 mark, maybe a little less. I’d shudder to think what it goes for in a pub. I’ve heard whispers of €9. 

Pay Day Splurge @ O’Briens Wines in Navan

So payday comes around, and you say to yourself, i must resist the urge to splurge.Usually its easy to restrain myself. However this time, I had a One4All voucher which was accepted in O’Briens ( / @obrienswine) 


Anyway, after doing the grocerys we decided to hit up our local O’Briens. Dean will know i’ve been pining for Kona, especially Longboard since we got home from our holidays, alas, there was no kona in O’briens Navan, maybe next time. But there was plenty of other stuff.

Special Offers that stood out, 4 x Crew IPA for €10 and 4 x Rogue American Amber Ale for €10. The Crew Special Offer was mentioned on a previous blog post.

Again it was disappointing none of the Irish stuff was on Special, the 8 Degrees Knockmealdown was including in a 5 for 11 or 6 for 11 quid promotion, but lets face it, the current balmy weather isn’t really stout/porter weather. Come on O’Briens, promote the home grown stuff too!!!

Anyway, here’s the stash this time round.

Well excuse me! Nice Stash 

Well thats most of it, this is the craft stuff, there was other stuff in there, but this is a collection of stuff i’ve not had before, or in a while. I know I reviewed Crew IPA, but at that price I couldn’t refuse.

Anyway, here’s the line up.

Front Row (L-R)
Crew IPA (Germany)
Porterhouse Red (Ireland)
Porterhouse Hop Head (Ireland)
Flying Dog Doggy Style (USA)
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale (USA)
Bellerose (Belgium)
Flying Dog Snake Dog (USA)
Rogue American Amber Ale (USA)
Crew Pale Ale (Germany)

Back Row (L-R)
Fullers London Pride (UK)
Dungarvan Brewing Helvick Gold Irish Blonde Ale (Ireland)
Dungarvan Copper Coast Red Ale (Ireland)

So i’m looking forward to sampling these, and sharing my thoughts over the next few weeks. 

If a major chain like O’Briens is beginning to carry a wider range like this. This is only a good thing for the Craft Beer afficionados in Ireland. 

Thanks for reading.

So holidays are over. But the voyage continues

Those of you know who me personally will no doubt have been driven demented by my buildup to my holiday with Mrs IrishBeerSnob to the USA this past few weeks. So now we are home, and the jet lag wearing off I am making this post.

A view of the new building under construction at the site of the World Trade Centre, Downtown Manhattan.
Taken from Battery Park which is undergoing works after Hurricane Sandy.

This whole concept of a blog about beer without the BS was just I suppose my way of sharing my opinions on beers, especially the craft beer, and harder to find stuff, without all the jargon and stuff you some times find in other places. That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy reading that stuff, but I suppose i’m looking for something a bit more concise and to the point.

Over the next few weeks, months, years, who knows, i hope to evolve this blog to encompass some of my other passions, mainly food, whether its looking at places to eat, or even recipes etc, pubs themselves, both the mainstream places, and the not so mainstream places.  So watch out I am making a list and i could be in your premises soon. 

One thing that amazes me is the growth in the Irish market for Craft Beer, has published some amazing statistics and is a fantastic point of reference. Plus its a really friendly community (though i’m only a lurker at the moment) but i’m definitely interested in the homebrew side. But it staggers me when I visit friends/family in the UK the vibrancy of their market – local pubs serving locally made (within 10 miles) ales, and beers. Its fantastic. 

But I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised with the USA, in Ireland we are the closest geographically to the USA and their beers have been steadily making their way here; Sierra Nevada, Rogue, Widmer Brothers etc. I was blown away again, both in New York where one bar had 12 lines of Sierra products, half of which i’d never even heard of, to a pub in the middle of the main tourist drive of Orlando with beers made in Tampa. Fantastic. It truly is amazing and as a result no surprise that some of the bigger brewers are looking to acquire the micro and craft brewers to add to their stables. 

The sunset at Clearwater Beach on the Gulf Coast of Florida

Anyway, thats a lot of waffle, trying some beauties like Kona Longboard on Draft, as well as Widmer Bros Alchemy was a pleasure, and very reasonably priced at $5.99 a pint ($4.99 during happy hour) at the Bloodhound Brew IDrive, at the WhirleyDome bowl. To those who are asking What the F*** is Whirleyball, its a crazy cross between Lacross, Dodgems, and Basketball. Its good for team building to slam your car into your boss apparently. Anyway, they’d the usual suspects Bud etc on draft but they had the above standouts plus Mrs Beer Snobs new favour Orange Blossom Pilsner. Definitely not what you’d expect to find in such a touristy area. But it seemed every place had at least one or two on draft and plenty of bottles to choose from. 

So what now from here. Well this friday we’re going to check out the Harbourmaster in the IFSC and assess their claim to the best wings in Dublin, now those who know me, know I know my wings. So I promise to check in regularly from now on.

Brooklyn Lager – By Brooklyn Brewery

In anticipation of my upcoming trip to the States for my summer jollies i’ve taken the opportunity to try more american beers. As we will be visiting the Brooklyn Brewery for their Brewery Tour which is $8 and includes sampling their four perennial products; Brooklyn Lager, Brooklyn Brown, Brooklyn Pale Ale, and Brooklyn Pilsner. Plus you get to keep the glass pictured below

When you consider the price of admission, that is unbelievable value. You also have the choice to buy beer tokens after the tour for $5 for one or 5 drinks for $20.

There is a very good description on the Brooklyn Brewery Website Here

Anyway, on to the beer. Brooklyn Lager. We all know lager, don’t we, that homogenous mass produced stuff, that goes down well on a sunny day with a barbeque. Like fosters, stella, budweiser? You’d think that, but no. The flavour on this bad boy is like getting a slap on the face. My mind was expecting something totally different, it was a most pleasant surprise. At 5.2% it may be a bit heavy for a session beer, but it definitely was very nice, i’d imagine that it would be great with a nice spicy curry. The strong flavour profile may be too much for some. But I enjoyed it immensely.

As they say above, this truly is an original. I was amazed. Only recently finding the craft beer scene there are so many great products being made by our american cousins, that I don’t actually know why I was surprised. And what’s more its a very reasonably priced beer considering it flies across the atlantic. I paid €5.25 in the Brew Dock recently for this.

So onto the scoring. I think I may have found a new favourite for the incoming summer season, though we will see – there are many many beers to try. 

So as before my scoring is based on two factors, giving a total score out of ten. Firstly for the product itself, and secondly the availability.

Given i’d very low expectations of this product, why I can’t really put my finger on, I am happy to say those expectations were foolish and I can’t wait to sample more of this brewery’s products. So the product itself scores 4/5

Availability, As expected this is available in most good craft pubs like against the grain, brew dock, Porterhouse etc, and most good independent off licenses. In the sense that if you wanted one, you wouldn’t have too far to go for it, O’Briens stock it, and i’m pretty sure i’ve seen it in Tesco too. So another 4/5 there.

So Brooklyn Lager scores 8/10