48 Hours in Waterford

48 Hours in Waterford

Late in the summer, we decided to go down to Waterford for a couple of nights, I hadn’t been down myself in easily 15 years, and Mrs Beer Snob maybe about 10 years. Only about 2 and a half hours from Navan thanks to the motorway network.

We stayed in the Waterford Marina Hotel, we got down there a little early to check in, so given it was a lovely day we decided to drive out to Dunmore East which to say was absolutely stunning in the late summer sun. We walked from our parked car down to the harbour and saw lots of kids enjoying an obstacle course. I really regret not jumping in myself! After a little while exploring we decided to have a pint in Powers Bar, a traditional pub, and pleasing to see there was Metalman on tap.

From there we made our way back into the city armed with a desire for some seafood we headed to The Reg for the seafood platter for Two. Washed down with Metalman Pale Ale, this was an extremely tasty bite after hearing one or two mixed reviews, we were very happy with the food on their sun terrace. €32 for the platter was very good value in my opinion.

After that we went exploring the streets, as  Waterford Walls event was on, and dotted around the city there were gable ends, and walls painted with excellent pieces of art.

We made our way down to Tullys, long recommended, and very good recommendation. In Tullys we’d a couple of lovely scoops, 12 Acres Make Hay and Metalman Tiptango where we met Yellowbelly’s very own Declan Nixon for a jar.

We’d also been recommended a visit to J & K Walsh‘s which was an old grocer shop but has been lovingly maintained to retain it’s old world feel. A place to go to drink Guinness, which is served in a Tankard, do not miss this spot if you’re down in Waterford

From there we walked out passed the Applemarket area where there are quite a lot of bars that look pretty lively, but we walked on passed, and visited Grady’s Yard, which is the bar owned by Yellowbelly, we visited both days the Monday evening was pretty quiet, which isn’t unusual, but when we visited again on the Tuesday, they were hosting a board game evening and there was a good crowd in there where we bumped into Will Avery and Mark Nixon from Loughran Family Malts. Our only regret was we came down when the kitchen was closed, as the food that is on instagram, is totally drool worthy.

Handily enough, Grady’s yard is only a short walk to Phil Grimes bar, which looks like , dare I say, a normal pub from the outside, not an obvious den of great beers on draught. With what I have to say, the friendliest owner i’ve come across in many years. Tom is a breath of fresh air, again on the Monday it was quiet, so we had his undivided attention as we supped a few beers before we went off to bed. We were chatting about doing the Waterford Greeenway however, not having as much mileage over the summer on our bikes as we’d have liked we were very much on the fence, plus the weather was forecast to be grey, rainy, and not as nice as the Monday. This is when Tom’s extensive local knowledge, led to him recommending that we do the Copper Coast Drive which was a great substitute for the greenway itself, where there were some absolutely stunning sea views, and coves along the way, as we went to Dungarvan, but we also went up to Mahon Falls, and even found a magic road! Waterford, you have a gem in Phil Grimes, and Tom couldn’t have made us feel more welcome. Sláinte Tom 🍻

On our second day, we visited Dungarvan, via the Copper Coast Road, after a morning exploring some lovely hidden beaches we had built up a hunger and we popped into Merry’s Bar in Dungarvan for a spot of lunch before popping to Dungarvan Brewery to see Claire and Cormac. It was great to catch up with Claire and to find out how things were going as we’d not seen them in a while. It was interesting to hear that most of their beer is sold locally which after all what this is all about.

After getting back to Waterford we went for a lovely dinner in the Bodega restaurant, and visit Grady’s Yard and Grime’s again before going back to our hotel for a nightcap, where the night porter was also one heck of a friendly man who had no issues pouring us Gin and Tonics in the small hours, while telling us about Waterford’s history.

One the way home we popped in to see Grainne & Tim of Metalman and had a coffee with them while we had a look around their brewery which i’m sad to say we’d not been to before. They’ve a nice space quite close to the city centre, and echoing what Claire in Dungarvan was saying, most of their produce now goes locally which is great to hear

Waterford, I feel we only got to scratch the surface, but what and enjoyable couple of days.

Pearse Lyons Brewery – Dundalk

Pearse Lyons Brewery – Dundalk

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.

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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.

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image from Talkofthetown.ie

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.

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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.

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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.

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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”

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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.

 

 

 

 

Podcast Episode Fifty Two – An Introduction to Canvas Brewing

Podcast Episode Fifty Two – An Introduction to Canvas Brewing

Picture the scene, the Beer garden in L. Mulligan Grocers of Stoneybatter, a gorgeous sunny Saturday. What better than to spend a part of the afternoon tasting beers from North Tipperary’s Canvas Brewery along side some specially prepare dishes from the reknowned kitchen of L Mulligan Grocers

Taking the rule book of convention, and tossing it on the fires of Mad Max, listen to Maurice and Mark talk about the origins, the aspirations, and plans for Canvas.

This was recorded outdoors, and there is some background noise, and some of the audience members were quite quiet, so we’ve boosted audio as best we can

 

Podcast as always is available for download on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and by direct download here

Podcast Episode Forty Nine – The (Five) Points, are coming

Podcast Episode Forty Nine – The (Five) Points, are coming

In this latest episode we interview Francesca Slattery, the Five Points Brewing Ireland Account Manager, in advance of their launch into the Irish market with Four Corners distribution.

We taste a wide range of the portfolio of beers that will be coming into Ireland.

The launch party is taking place in Underdog, our new bar of the year 2017, on Feb 1st, don’t worry if you can’t make it they will be going nationwide from the following Monday.

You can find it on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and of course directly here

Killarney Beerfest 2017

Killarney Beerfest 2017

The last weekend in May has been a fixture in the Irish Beer Scene. The INEC venue as part of the Gleneagle Hotel has hosted the event for 3 years now. It is in literally one of the nicest parts of the country.

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A weekend of beers, music, food, and good craic, what more could you want?

Running along side the festival is the Beoir Champion Beer of Ireland awards. Having earlier this year ran the Cider equivalent, it’s the third year, and there has been some Stellar winners in the field.

This year was no different. Fresh from winning the Beoir Brewery of the Year award, White Hag from Sligo won numerous categories, and nearly took home the best in show for their Róc modern Pils lager. But they were just pipped by the 2017 Edition of Galway Bay’s 200 Fathoms Teeling Whiskey Barrel Aged imperial stout. White Hag took 2nd with Róc, and 3rd with their Bourbon Barrel Aged version of Black Boar.

The full list of winners is here

One of the aspects of this festival I really like is there is an effort to do something for the punters along the lines of beer education also. On the Sunday, there was a session ran by Dean McGuinness who focused on the sensory side of things, explaining how we perceive taste, while a good friend of our blog / podcast, Christina Wade who gave a chat on Women in Beer, and the history of same. The fantastic Caroline Hennessy ran a beer and food course also, but we really enjoyed the Cider and Cheese workshop that was ran by Jacqueline Stedman which had loads of West Cork cheese paired with the champion ciders of Ireland, and we’ll be writing this one up seperately. The National Homebrew Club were also represented all weekend doing brewing demos for curious folks

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Manor Brewing’s Stand

The breweries in attendance was a mix of the familiar faces, and some of our more westerly breweries who mightn’t be up in Dublin as often. So it was great to get to try some of their beers.

Some of the standout beers for us were as follows;

  • Manor Brewing; Mont Pilsner, was just what I needed on Friday evening on arrival, a crisp refreshing Pils, especially after the drive down. Really also enjoyed their Black is the New Orange, Black Lager that was served through a randal with fresh orange.
  • Killarney Brewing; A slightly changed recipe on their Saison, but it was a very well rounded saison, that is brewed using Dupont Yeast. Janice enjoyed their Scarlet Pimpernel, which is a red IPA
  • Wild Bat Brewing; They had brewed a New England IPA, which was in a single 19l cornie keg. It had all those big US hops as you’d expect, juicy fruit aroma, but had maybe a bit more bitterness than perhaps is de riguer for the style. Which I personally enjoyed, as it added a complexity and challenge to the beer that is sometimes lacking in the fruit juice NEIPAs. Hopefully they’ll brew this up again.
  • Boyne Brewhouse; they seem to have hit their stride now that the brew team is settled in, once again their IPA, Saison and Vienna Lager impressed. They’d brought a keg from their pilot series down, which was an imperial saison, if you embrace saison funkiness, you’ll love this. Though I preferred the standard version.
  • Independent Brewing; They brought their session porter, Coconut Porter, with a nice depth of flavour, loads of the afore mentioned nut, with hints of chocolate, and coffee. This really did taste like a bounty bar once it warmed up a little, and can imagine it’d be a real treat on cask
  • James Brown Brews; Semantic Pale Ale, that’s got a bit of rye in there to give a hint of spice, and liberal use of cascade and chinook hops it up nicely. Easy drinking, and sessionable.
  • St Mel’s; The guys had brought a new Black IPA to the festival, which more on the roasty malt side,  than IPA, but was a nice drinker. Janice also enjoyed their Brown Ale, which we sadly don’t seem to have too many of these brewed here.
  • YellowBelly; The stellar Citra Pale, Castaway and The Passion were all lovely and refreshing in the heat, but the fisheye for their Summer Ale, was just absolutely fantastic.

The food options at the fest were all reasonably priced, and varied. The wood fired Pizza oven was perfect, and was very filling. There was a taco stand, and a bbq stand, though a pity they only did burgers, and pulled pork. There was a real opportunity to maybe do brisket or ribs. Also fair play to the chip van guy, who was lashing out curry chips til all hours on the Saturday

Hopefully this event will remain in the calendar, as it’s a great event in its own right. It has a very relaxed vibe altogether, combined with good beers, good company, good music, and good food, what more would you need. Oh, this is the mountains nearby. A nice spot for a festival if I do say so myself.

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Until 2018 Killarney, you’ve been great!