In this latest episode we are joined by Aidan Murphy, Founder of Galway Hooker Brewery, and Niall Mahon, Sales Manager to look back over the last 15 years and look forward to a bright future. Spoiler, I think Niall is itching to go to their export markets!
During the show we drank the flagship Irish Pale Ale, and their special edition 15th Anniversary Double IPA. If you want to get that beer, you’ll have to be quick as it’s all sold from the brewery, so keep your eyes peeled in your favourite local off licence. We purchased ours from 57 The Headline
In this latest podcast, we are delighted to have been joined by Carla & Sean from Widestreet Brewing in Ballymahon, Co Longford. In what is one of our longest podcasts in ages, we have a good old chinwag about how the came into being, and how they’ve become part of the community in Ballymahon. We also need to speak about what Sean said.
While chatting away we enjoyed the following beers
Peach Berliner Weisse
You can find out more about Wide Street here, you can buy Widestreet beers on Beer Cloud, and follow them on Social’s on FBTwitter and IG
You can find the episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio and direct link here
With beer, a Flagship is the beer that defines a brewery. It’s the one that you immediately think of when you hear the brewery’s name, the one that most people associate with the business. In most cases, it is their best-selling beer and often the one that outsells all their other offerings by a wide margin. A good flagship also allows a brewery to be able to afford the seasonals, specialty beers and the other one-off beers in their lineup.
As we hurtle towards February, thoughts turn to Flagship February, an initiative brought to us by Stephen Beaumont, Jay Brooks, Porter Hughes, and Eric Warner, where we remind ourselves of THE beers that made us fall in love with certain breweries, Whether it’s Punk IPA, or Anchor Steam, each brewery has a flagship beer. I threw the question out on Twitter for Irish suggestions. So here are some of the standout Irish Flagships, in no particular order here they are. (I was happy to see some of my favourites were mentioned more than once!)
Trouble Brewing – Ambush (Juicy Pale Ale)
Mentioned more than once, and a beer that’s got the ultimate catchphrase, “Lads, I’m Back on the Ambush” courtesy of the legendary John Coote. While this wasn’t one of their original core beers, it’s got to be a flagship now as it’s widely available, and is always in tip top form!
Hope Hop On Session IPA
Lamenting the lack of airport travel in 2020, my usual trick of picking up a pint of Hop On – Hopes delicious session IPA, in the Marquette bar before my flight. However, as a core beer this beer is always widely available and does exactly what it says on the tin. Refreshing, Bitter, and crisp.
Kinnegar – Scraggy Bay
Donegal’s Kinnegar have a great core range and regularly release great specials, one of the most consistent brewers in the country. Scraggy bay was always a beer if i saw it on draught anywhere, i’d have it, then when they canned it, it became a staple in the fridge. Delicious IPA. Though some would argue for Crossroads, I feel this is a suitable beer to call a flagship.
O’Hara’s – Leann Follain
Straight up OG Stout from Carlow Brewing Company. Rock solid, dependable, and blooming tasty as. A beer that reminded me how good a stout can be. People might argue for O’Hara’s Pale Ale, but this is a much better beer from their stable imo. Widely available and very good value for money also.
McGargles – Big Banging IPA
One of the great Irish IPAs, easy to forget it’s been around a while now. But this is a great IPA, widely available and part of a great core range that includes a great session IPA too.
Thankfully we are totally spoiled for choice nowadays, we’ve got saison, IPAs, Pale Ales, Stouts, and Sours that form part of breweries offerings, and in some cases are infact show cases, such as Black Donkey’s Sheep Stealer, Yellowbelly Castaway, Blacks of Kinsale KPA, Stone Barrel’s Boom and many many more
Remember, the beauty about flagship beers are they are there all the time. Let’s take a moment to appreciate beers that have laid the foundations for brewers to go nuts experimenting with styles, additions, and techniques. You will be able to get these in your local independent bottle shop / off licence, even in your supermarket when you’re picking up the groceries. Give some Irish Beers a chance, and you’ll never go back.
Get involved in the twitter thread that i’ll keep pinned to my profile for the month of February 👇. Sláinte
So, as is the trend in January, human nature. We step on the scales, and think. Oh. Born from that is a trend that ordinarily would see 1000s of people sign up to gym memberships that people use for a month then don’t use, and normally tied in for 12 months. Personally, for me, it’s a combination of covid, Christmas, and a change in my circumstances.
I’ve gone from having a 25 minute walk from the train station to my office, to driving pretty much door to door. Combined with golf clubs being closed, my regular game of five a side binned, and general levels of lethargy has led me to move to a lower carb heavy diet. Beer is liquid carbs. Let’s not forget that. Not exactly compatible with a beer centred podcast and blog! 😆
Thankfully, with a number of US brewers beginning to churn out low cal / low carb beers, so I decided to pick up a couple and give them a whirl.
First up, Firestone Walker – Fly Jack Hazy IPA. The can tells us that there is 96 calories, and 5g of Carbs in each 355ml cans. The Firestone Website, lists the hops as follows Kettle: Cascade, Callista. Dry Hop: El Dorado, Chinook, Mosaic, Strata, Sabro, Idaho 7 Appearance – as you can see, it’s a nice straw hazy body. Thin white head, that dissipates quickly Aroma – Faint hints of grapefruit zest and tropical fruits Taste – Bitterness, and citrus comes through on the taste. Crisp dry finish. Mouthfeel – As is expected in beers of this ABV, it is a little bit thin, but forgivable as they’ve packed a good amount of flavour. Overall first impressions, i’d drink this again for sure. Knowing it’s not going to damage my carb intake too much, it’s a very nice change from drinking spirits with sparkling water or slimline tonic!
Next up, Oskar Blues – One y IPA 100 calories, and 5 grams of carbs Dry hopped with El Dorado, Comet and Citra Appearance – lighter in body shade than the Firestone beer, with a slightly better head, which too dissipates quickly Aroma – Faint citrus on the nose, small amount of biscuit aroma. Taste – Quite bitter, a little unbalanced actually, needs sweetness to balance this, but seems to be too much bitterness going on Mouthfeel – as above a light body, which is to be expected. Overall, i preferred the Firestone beer.
Now, I’ll admit, I poorly researched this choice, I had assumed that because this was a lo calorie session version of Cigar City’s Jai Alai that it would automatically be a low carb beer. There is 11g of carbs in this can, and when I drink it, this is very apparent. I CAN TASTE THE CARBS PEOPLE! Here we have Jai Low by Cigar City which is a session version of their world renowned IPA, Jai Alai. The brew team in Cigar City cite their inspiration being British Bitter, and this evidence from the appearance of this beer. Appearance – darker than the other beers, very reminiscent of an English bitter. Aroma – Orangey aromas with a hint of malty biscuitness Taste – Orangy citrus carries through to flavour, balanced with a bready sweetness, with a familiar bitterness. Mouthfeel – Those extra carbs do add body, and this finish less dry than the previous beers, but it is a nice weight of body for it’s ABV Overall – this is a suitable little brother to Jai Alai, familiar notes, with a lot less ABV, and more drinkability.
So i’ve learned a valuable lesson there, low cal does not equal low carb. Low Carb does tend to be crisp dry finishes. This must have something to do with the Final Gravity being as low as possible. The Cigar City beer stands out just because it tastes like a low abv beer brewed without the compromise of low carbs there. But at 11g grams of carbs, it’s a literal treat as a few of them would smash your low carb limit if you were following a moderate low carb diet.