Following on from our Podcast that we recorded with Liam Tutty of Dead Centre back in February 2018, we took the opportunity, on a gloriously hot sunny summers day to fly down the N6 and visit the taproom. Now that it was up and running as we’d sadly missed the opening party.
Housed in the former home of The Ritz restaurant, set on the banks of The Shannon, we were excited to get down and try some of the beers on show, but also to try the pizzas that we’d been hearing great things from members of the Midlands Beer Club and other folks who’d been to visit before us
After an obligatory visit to Seans Bar for a sneaky drink waiting for Dead Centre to open, and walk around Athlone for a little while.
The last time we were down here the site was literally a shell, remnants of the former establishment were everywhere. We could see the potential, but undoubtedly there was going to be a lot of work needed to bring Liam’s vision to life. I’m more than happy to say that the work done has been striking, the transformation is fantastic. From the walk in, the venue is instantly welcoming.
The space is flexible, and can be used for many different functions. Everything from parties, to weddings, and even business meetings.
You walk past the brewhouse on your way into the bar area, the glass walls certainly were worth the investment, as they allow unrestricted viewing into the brewing area.
Making your way into the main area the bar has plenty of local and international beers. Also, it must be said a guinness and carlsberg taps, to make this place inclusive for all. There were also a nice range of spirits and wines too.
We ordered a couple of beers and made our way out on to the deck which hangs over the river, a stunning setting, and undoubtedly a suntrap. Glad I had some suncream on the noggin.
We looked over the menu, and decided a Pizza each would be the job, I went with the “I can’t pronounce it” which had Nduja, Salami, Jalapeno, and Basil. Janice went for the “Baby Goats Back” which was topped with Goat’s Cheese, sun dried tomatoes, olive, rocket and parmesan. Of course there was Garlic Mayo to dip the crust into as well. Needless to say, the pizza’s were only absolutely delicious. Some of the best we’ve had in Ireland for sure. Since our visit they’ve extended the menu out, including some very tasty sounding paninos for lunch. You can drool over the menu here. We’re looking forward to going back down.
After eating, we had another drink, and made our way. The bill in total was €43.00. The space has been decorated and laid out well. Including several instagrammable areas which includes the label wall of all the beers they’ve had since opening. A pretty cool collage. We wish Liam and all the team all the best, as it’s a truly unique taproom experience, and great to see some imagination brought to the sector. Sláinte
You can find out more about Dead Centre here, and if you use Untappd, their beer list is live on that.
Dundalk, County Louth, in the North East of Ireland, is a town with a proud brewing heritage. The historic home of the Harp Brewery, and MacArdle Moore, two famous Irish Brands. Sadly, those breweries are now no longer operational, both acquired by Guinness, and closed by Diageo a number of years ago. However, in the waste not want not way of life, both sites are being reborn with a new purpose.
The old Harp brewery is now home to the Great Northern Distillery, ran by titan of Irish Whiskey, John Teeling, who’s children run the internationally renowned Teeling Distillery, in Newmarket Sq, Dublin. However, it’s the old MacArdle Moore site I was visiting this Friday morning.
Stationworks brewery as it was formerly known, used to be located in Newry, in Northern Ireland, with a satellite brewery in Cumbria. Stationworks was acquired by Alltech, a number of years ago.
They currently produce beer for Aldi, under The Brown Bear brand. They also produe under Stationworks Beer, Finns, and The Foxes Rock.
The late Dr Pearse Lyons, founder of Alltech, started out as a brewer, before moving into agri science. He was a proud Dundalk man, and wanted to get a brewery up and running in his homeland, after the successful establishment of Lexington Brewing & Distilling in Kentucky. Sadly, he didn’t get to see his dream realised of returning brewing to Dundalk, but Stationworks, was renamed the Pearse Lyons Brewery in his honour following his passing in 2018. Initially, something of a pet project for Dr Lyons, the business is part of Alltech Beverages, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the larger Alltech group. Despite belonging to a larger family this brewery has to stand on its own two feet.
Long time friend Dave Guilfoyle was the lucky chap showing me around after i’d gotten an invite from John O’Brien. I’m sure Dave was happy of the distraction from the end of quarterly paperwork that was due. In truth, it’s a massive space. The MacArdle Moore brewery was massive, infact, most of the old buildings have been repurposed into a business park, with a wide mix of businesses in attendance. There are nods to the site’s brewing history, with the brewhouse old control panel visible, and maltings. Along with the rows of terrace houses which would have housed workers, much like the liberties and Guinness back in the day. The old master brewer’s house was literally 200 years away, so back then, if anything went wrong, they’d to answer the call. I don’t think that’s a perk for Dave at the moment.
The 100Hl brewhouse, which is fully automated with the exception of additions of hops, and speciality grains, is a feat of engineering in itself. German engineering. All sampling points on ground level, and you can see deep into the brewhouse vessels from the raised brewing platforms. The brewhouse is located in what used to be the packaging area of MacArdle Moore, so there is plenty of space to grow.
A recent addition, is the pilot kit, which allows the brewers to take off the shackles of production brewing and have a little bit of fun under a new name, “Clocked Off”
Expect to see much more of that in the future. With Brewmaster brewing now operating in Dundalk also, it’s great to see some of Dundalk’s brewing heritage return, and hopefully it goes from strength to strength.
Ever since I tried it at a recent beer event I’ve been obsessed by the humble radler. What is it you ask? A radler, is a low alcohol beverage made 50/50 of lager or pilsner and sparkling lemonade. After a quick google search i found it dates back to 1912 and originates from Germany. However, as the story goes it was created by an Inn Keeper in 1922, Franz Xaver Kugler, who realised he didn’t have enough beer to serve to his regulars who were cyclists. He mixed his remaining beer stock with fresh citrus lemonade and they loved it. Probably for the same reason I do, its thirst quenching ability.
This type of drink is more commonly known here in Ireland as a Shandy. Growing up I remember my Father drinking this. To this day my Father in law would be a fan of it. Our version would be half a pint of Heineken or Carlsberg mixed with 7up.
The beer event I mentioned was an introduction to an Austrian Brewery, Stiegl , that are being imported by O’ Haras. You can read more about that here thanks to SimonSaysBeer. I fell in love with their grapefruit radler. It was so full of flavour and so easy to drink at 2% abv. I’ve been hoping we’d see more of this by now.
More recently, on a shopping trip to Lidl I noticed they sell Perlenbacher in cans and bottles. We purchased a few to see what it would be like. We were pleasantly surprised. It was light and refreshing with a zingy lemon punch to it. My Sister happened to visit and I gave her some to try and she enjoyed it too. Since then I’ve been hunting down a grapefruit one. It wasn’t until Wayne mentioned it, that i made my own! He found this recipe and off I went.
I had all the ingredients already so I was set. The first step was to make the fresh grapefruit soda:
Juice one whole grapefruit (room temperature) pour into a seal-able container and refrigerate.
Cut up juiced rind into chunks, place in a large plastic mixing bowl, add sugar and cover tightly with clingfilm.
Let this stand at room temperature stirring every 45 minutes until sugar is dissolved. I’d plenty of time so i did this over 4 hours. You can leave it up to 12 if you prefer. I didn’t start it early enough for that.
Measure reserved grapefruit juice, and juice remaining grapefruits to get 300 ml
Add to sugar mixture with lemon juice and mix well
Strain through a fine mesh strainer or piece of muslin cloth into a glass container. this can be stored for up to a week.
I of course didn’t wait that long and used it immediately. It was a hot sunny Sunday after all and we were thirsty. So to make the radler:
When ready to serve, add soda water to the fresh grapefruit syrup. Adjust to taste. I made mine quite tart.
For each radler add your chosen beer to a glass and mix with the grapefruit soda. I served mine in a pint glass.
It was great fun experimenting with this recipe. I had two different styles to work with. The first was Cotton Ball Brewing Mayfield 5 lager. This working incredibly well. The lager is really refreshing and crisp and carried the grapefruit syrup really well. The oohs and the gasps from Wayne confirmed it was indeed a success. The second was a bottle of Stiegl wheat beer. This was still nice but lacked the refreshing thirst quenching character of the lager. Have a go yourself and see what you come up with.