Yuletide History Brewer Interview The origins of Christmas beer. We hear from Cormac Oâ€™Dwyer of Dungarvan Brewing Company.
Where to Drink in The Wild Atlantic Cork Way Find the best places for local Cork beer Featuring
Journey along the longest coastal route in the world complete with over a dozen breweries to visit.
Discover Craft Beer In Ireland Winter 2015
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Christmas Special Beoir is an independent group of consumers with a primary goal of supporting and raising awareness of Irelandâ€™s native independent microbreweries.
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’Neill’s, conveniently set in the heart of the city, is one of Dublin’s most famous and historic pubs. Trade has flourished here uninterrupted for over 300 years. But having a long history doesn’t mean we’re behind the times. Here at O’Neill’s we have fully embraced the Craft Beer revolution. We have one of the largest selection of local Irish Craft Beers on draught in Ireland and aim to try and represent as many of the local Craft Breweries as possible. The passion and enthusiasm shown by these small breweries is infectious and our customers can’t get enough of these unique beers. The range of tastes means there’s a beer for every palette. To make your visit as enjoyable as possible we also offer you ...
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What’s inside. General Interest TBD History Thank a Viking for your Christmas brew? A little history of yuletide beer. Homebrew Festive Homebrew Recipe. Learn how to brew a chocolate orange stout.
Brewer Interview Cormac O’Dwyer Meet the man behind Dungarvan Brewing Company.
Into The West The Wild Atlantic Way The longest coastal route in the world contains a number of breweries.
Christmas Specials Don’t Let The Bells End Find out which breweries have festive specials.
Book Review Beer & Food Companion This book seeks to educate on beer and food pairing.
News From Belgium The Belgian Connection Mescan visit Belgium to brew an old beer.
Northern Ireland CAMRA update An review of the Belfast Beer Festival 2015.
Spotlight on Cork Best Craft Beer bars Want to know where to find your favourite tipple in Cork? Find out here.
Chairman’s Message: Welcome to the third issue of Beoir Magazine. This is the bumper Christmas edition. Putting a magazine together in a voluntary organisation is tough work and I hope you enjoy it. The magazine is aimed at tourists and the general public alike. Please enjoy and support Ireland’s many independent breweries. Reuben Gray - Chairman
20 Red Borders About Beoir
Launched on July 1st, 2010, Beoir is an independent group of consumers which seeks greater choice, quality and value-for-money for beer and cider drinkers on the island of Ireland. Our primary goal is to support and raise awareness of Ireland’s native independent microbreweries and craft cider-makers. Additionally, Beoir promotes and encourages amateur craft brewing, and the making of other fermented beverages. It seeks to assist amateur brewers in improving the quality of their end product through the sharing of information. The group is organised and administrated in an open and democratic manner by and for its subscribing members on a voluntary non-profit basis. Membership is open to all adults worldwide and costs €10 per annum. In November 2012, Beoir joined the European Beer consumers Union (EBCU) representing beer consumers in Ireland. We were the 13th member at the time. This gave us a voice in Europe and the backing of other European countries.
Welcome to the first Christmas themed edition of Beoir Magazine. 2015 saw a marked increase in breweries with about 70 physical microbreweries producing beer. These are just the breweries that meet the Beoir definition of Irish Craft Beer. That definition follows what Revenue considers a microbrewery. A brewery on the island of Ireland thatâ€™s independent of another brewery and produces no By Reuben Gray more than 30,000 HL of beer per year. Reuben Gray is currently servThere are also about 30 contract brewing companies on ing as the Chairman of Beoir and the island. Many of these are contract brewing at one of magazine editor. Since 2008, he the 70 Irish breweries until such time as their own brewery has been writing the successful beer blog The Tale Of The is operational. This means that over the coming few years, Ale. He also writes freelance for we should see nearly 30 new breweries open to bring us various publications such as FFT magazine and TheJournal.ie to 100 physical breweries. To avoid market saturation, breweries are going to have @TaleOfAle to start exporting. Thankfully, this is a trend that is starting www.taleofale.com to gain some momentum. One initiative that might help the market grow is the recent boon microbreweries got gain some momentum. One initiative that might help the market grow is the recent boon microbreweries got in the budget. Up until now, breweries that qualified as a microbrewery could claim back 50% of the duty each quarter. This was critical in getting the market going but always created a cash flow issue in that the full duty had to be paid and then claimed back a few months later. Now, breweries will get the tax relieve at source. This will greatly improve cash flow and allow for greater investment and growth. There are truly exciting times ahead for independent breweries and cider producers on our fair island. There are also some dangers from neo-prohibitionists who encourage the government to look at pricing as the best method to discourage dangerous drinking. This is despite all evidence to the contrary. Increasing the price of alcohol through taxation is a blunt instrument that shows lazy government and does not work. Beoir calls for the wiser approach of education and a shift in the social attitude to alcohol. Please see our campaigns section on Beoir.org for more information on some of our concerns. Winter - 2015
Odin, Sacrifice, and Christmas Beer: Why to Thank a Viking for Your Favourite Holiday Brew Fairy lights abound, streets decorated with evergreen, and the ubiquitous man in the red suit all signal it’s that time of the year for your favorite Christmas beer. Generally a rich spicy brew with a big malt flavor this style of beer is a perfect match for the dark nights in with a cozy fire. While it may appear a modern marketing creation- this beer is actually descended from a millennium old tradition. You may know that many of your holiday traditions are rooted in the medieval Norse celebration called Yule. From the Christmas tree to your holiday wreath, the pagan mid-winter festivities are responsible for many a modern practice. But did you know you should also thank a Viking for your favorite Christmas beer? Yule, or Jól in Old Norse, occurred roughly from mid November to early January. It was a crucial holiday in the Viking belief system and was associated with complex rituals including the Jólablót, literally ‘Yule sacrifice’. The holiday itself has strong ties to the Norse god Odin who among his many names is often referred to as jólfaðr or ‘Yule father’. For the festivities, special beers were brewed, drank and sacrificed to him, as well as other gods of the Norse pantheon like Frey.
This holiday was so associated with the imbibing of ale that the entire festivities were sometimes referred to simply as ‘drinking jul’. According to the saga material, men engaged in a variety of games including competitive drinking, disputing, and insulting at these sorts of parties. The goal was to demonstrate as the night went on how little the ale affected your faculties. Not so very different from our own holiday celebrations! Indeed, according to the Gulaþingslova, a set of medieval Norse laws, one of the criteria for a man to keep his property was if he was able to manage his beer! Women too, were present at the parties and though less is known about their activities due to a lack of source material, however we do know that they both served and drank the ale along with men. The brewing of this beer and the hosting parties for the holiday were so important it was codified into law both in reality and according to the saga material. The Heinkringla, or the Sagas of the Old Norse Kings, was composed by Snorri Sturluson circa 1230CE. What is of particular interest to our study of Christmas beer is the saga of King Haakon of Norway who lived from approximately from 920-961 CE. In fact, according to this saga, he is responsible for having the Yule holiday moved to tíma sem kristnir men, or, roughly the ‘time when Christian people’ held Christmas.
By Christina Wade Christina is the Founder and President of the Dublin Ladies Craft Beer Society/ Ladies Craft Beer Society of Ireland. She has run women’s craft beer groups in some capacity since 2009, when she cofounded a society in Washington D.C. with her friend Elicia Gilreath. When not organising the DLCBS, she is a PhD candidate researching Viking burial in Ireland. @DubBeerLadies
This saga also indicates how important the brewing of specific beer was to these Yule celebrations. According to the Haakon’s law in the saga: Ok skyldi þá hverr maðr eiga mælis öl, which I’ve roughly translated to ‘and every man is obliged to have a measure of ale’ or, gjalda fé ella ‘or else they have to pay fé’, Old Norse for assets, livestock or money. Continued... Winter - 2015
Mælis öl is the important phrase meaning ‘measure of ale’, and according to Richard Cleasby and Gudbrand Vigfusson, this means about six and half gallons. So essentially Haakon is stating that every freeman, of a certain status, is required to have this amount of beer brewed for the Yule festivities. The importance of this Christmas beer is echoed in actual legal codes. The Gulaþingslova demonstrates not only the importance of both brewing this Christmas beer and hosting a party to go along with it. The law required freemen, of particular rank, in groups of at least three to come together to brew beer for ale feasts; one of which was to be held at the Holy Night. If three winters passed without this occurring the man will have ‘forfeited his goods to the last penny’ and if he further refuses he is then banished from Norway entirely. Brewing and serving this beer was the domain of Viking women and they were even permitted to do so on feast days. But what kind of beer was this Yule brew? According to Roger Protz, pale malt was probably not used because malt was generally kilned over wood fires giving it a smoky character- though, perhaps due to the use of saunas for drying, paler malts could have been utilized. Else Roesdahl contended that hops were in some use during the Viking Age, but juniper and other herbal agents were utilized for flavor and bitterness. This is but a brief overview of the Viking tradition. Brewing beer specifically for Christmas would catch on and we can see its descendent in our popular modern incarnations of the brew So the next time you are enjoying your favorite Christmas beer, maybe pour a little out for Odin. I’m sure he would appreciate it!
a well rounded medium dry craft cider made from 100% lrish apples Winter - 2015
Festive Homebrew Recipe By Thomas Carroll, President of the National Homebrew Club & Beoir Regional Officer for the Northwest. Winter time often conjures up thoughts of cinnamon, allspice, cloves and all the tastes and smells you’d expect from the likes mulled wine and Christmas puddings. More often than not, commercial winter beers tend to include a lot of these spices and for a homebrewer it can often be tricky to get the proportions right without ending up with the beer equivalent of a Yankee Candle! Loosely inspired by Beoir Champion Beer Of Ireland 2015, James Brown Brews Chocolate Orange Stout, this recipe will produce a sessionable chocolate orange stout that will be perfect for enjoying with desserts and the endless tins of sweets that are amassed over the festive period. It’s a traditional Irish stout recipe with an addition of chocolate powder and dried orange. Chocolate Orange Stout – 23L 4.00 kg Pale Ale Malt 0.30 kg Chocolate Malt 0.50 kg Flaked Barley 0.25 kg Roasted Barley 30g Goldings @ 60mins 30g Fuggles @ 60mins 5g Chocolate powder @ 10 minutes 60g Dried Orange Peel @ 10 minutes 1 vial Irish Ale yeast WLP004 Mash at 66c degree for 1 hour. Boil for 1 hour. OG: 1.045 Ferment at 18-20°C I like to use the traditional Irish ale yeast for my stouts but US-05 or Nottingham would be suitable alternatives. Check out www.nationalhomebrewclub.ie for more recipes, advice and to find out about local brewing meetups across the island. Sláinte!
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Winter - 2015
The Brewing Scene in Poland
By Jan Lichota - EBCU Officer & Bractwo Piwne Member. Since mid-90s, the Polish beer market has undergone a big change. After years of consolidations, a battle for survival of small breweries and the reshaping of the retail scene, new trends have allowed Poland a very lively country to taste beer. Thanks in part to the increase of multitap bars and beer festivals, the emergence of the craft brewers, the appearance of a strong homebrewers and bloggers scene, as well as the fighting back from regional and large brewers. From the 80 breweries owned by 33 companies existing in 1995 and among the over 100 breweries and companies in 2015, only 32 of them still remain present. The appearance of new breweries came in a few small waves. Since 2010, the setting up of breweries seems unstoppable and most of it comes thanks to the craft phenomenon. Setting up the scene Among the pioneers of the “Polski Kraft” (Polish craft) were the founders of brewing companies like Ale Browar, Browar na Jurze and Pinta. They were releasing more hoppy beers (starting with Atak Chmielu from Pinta), providing very Polish names to them proved to attract various beer geeks who spread the word and helped with their expansion. The movement has begun and its principles are settled. With it, all beer consumers could be reached thanks to a new bar culture. Regarding festivals The biggest to festivals featuring craft beer are to be found in Wrocław (June), Warsaw (April and October) and Poznań (November). Smaller events include Beer Geek Madness in Wrocław, Craft beer week in Kraków and Rzeszów and some new ones such as Beergoszcz in Bydgoszcz or Hevelka in Gdańsk. The fact that most of local blogging websites on craft beers are in Polish should not discourage one to learn more about craft beers as a special application has been launched in autumn 2015 to list as much of them a possible - polskikraft.pl
Whether drinking with Polish friends in Ireland or during your visit to Poland, you may surprise everybody with your knowledge of Polish beer beyond better known brands such as Lech, Tyskie or Żywiec. Na zdrowie ! Another pioneer has been the Artezan brewery close to Warsaw, which has shown the way from home brewing to the setup of a brewery producing 5000 hectolitres a year. This encouraging example has been followed by many of those who started as contract brewers and moved to their own facilities. The reaching out to the beer drinker was helped by finding a niche in the market and producing beers using Polish traditional prescriptions and local ingredients and by delivering beer types following global trends or using special hop varieties. It should not be a surprise to find an IPA, Wheat beer, Saison, Red Ale or Stout offered by brewers such as Doctor Brew, Birbant, Ursa Maior, Pracownia Piwa, Szałpiw, Kraftwerk, Wąsosz or any of their fellows. The revival of the truly traditional Polish beer category such as Grodziskie, a light 3,8 abv beer, has also triggered the interest for other foreign local styles such as Gose or smoked beers. The wish to experiment with herbs or other ingredients is also bringing interesting results. A Hoppy Violet Potato Lager from Wrocław’s Browar Stu Mostów features among them. This shows that the craft scene is still in the development rather than consolidation stage. The scene is driven by novelties released constantly by the brewers. Whilst this is interesting for consumer choice, it is difficult in the medium term to foresee brewing companies’ economic sustainability and drinkers’ fidelity. Only time will tell. The positive response to sell beer from microbreweries came from small grocery shops, specialised beer shops and the emergence of multi tap bars and festivals. Thanks to this, many of these beers may be found in all major Polish cities and all those travelling from Ireland should easily find the right venue. A good guide for bars is to be found on beerpubs.com (PL/EN versions). This gives an extensive list of places to go, even in some smaller towns. In Warsaw, you may visit among others Kufle i Kapsle, Jabeerwocky or Same Krafty. In Kraków you may check Omerta, Tap House or House of Beer. Pracownia Piwa and The Eclipse Inn in Łódź, Degustatornia in Gdańsk, Browariat in Katowice or Piwiarnia in Częstochowa will also offer you a good choice. Winter - 2015
Book Review The Beer and Food Companion by Stephen Beaumont In 2003, Garrett Oliver published The Brewmaster’s Table, the book which remains the definitive work in setting out the principles on which beers can be matched to different types of food, as well as being an excellent introductory guide to the classic beers of the world. And while the principles it expounded remain true, the beer world has moved on greatly in the last ten years while matching it with food has become an almost mainstream part of the gastronomic world. The Beer and Food Companion by veteran Canadian beer writer Stephen Beaumont is an attempt to show the diversity now on offer. And “show” is the operative word: this coffee table book is lavishly illustrated, its author presumably very aware that many copies will find their way to pub bookshelves, to be idly leafed through rather than read from start to finish. It opens with the customary primer on how beer is made with an emphasis on the sensory contribution of different ingredients. This is followed by a broad outline of the styles of beer, though again from a taste and feel perspective rather than a dry scientific classification, so you have “sociable” and “not-too-bitter” beers like Anchor Steam and “soothing” richly malty beers such as Ayinger Celebrator. The examples are very carefully chosen too: it was a pleasant surprise to find O’Hara’s as the key example of “dark and roasty” Irish stout. And while every beer listed is a quality one, few are so rare as to be completely unattainable. We’re treated to a swift world tour of beer and food in traditional settings next, including Bavarian beer halls, English pubs, Japan’s izakayas and of course the long tradition of cuisine à la bière in Belgium. Then it’s down to business: the middle section of the book is an essay on how to choose beer for food, interspliced by interviews with leading practitioners and enthusiasts from the beer and food trade. It’s well written and there are plenty of helpful examples, but there’s nothing especially new here; nothing that every other work on the subject has not covered to a greater or lesser degree. Complement and contrast; match cuisine to its corresponding national beer style: it has all been said before.
Substantial attention is also given to the place of beer in cooking, and there’s a good mix of the general principles of using beer in marinades, stews, desserts and condiments and then 22 specific recipes collected from the experts, each one of whom is also profiled. And naturally each recipe also comes with a recommended beer match. If you’re looking for the definitive carbonnade flamande recipe, the one provided here by Alain Fayt of Brussels institution Restobières is a definite contender. The final segment is a ready-reckoner pairing guide, first listing a vast array of foods and suggesting for each the broad types of beer that match, the best specific style, and one named example of each. The section given over to cheese caught my eye in particular and I’ve bookmarked it for some future experimentation. Then after the food-to-beer matching comes the beer-to-food section: if you have a saison or a helles in the house, what should you be eating with it? (Rrijstaffel and pretzels, apparently.) Both Porterhouse Plain and Wrasslers XXXX get a shout-out in this section, though sadly Ireland doesn’t get a mention in the 100 Great Beer & Food Destinations which concludes the work. As I mentioned, it’s a book of few surprises. At no point on my way through did I think the author made an especially daring or unusual recommendation: he keeps things safe and familiar. For the most part, then, this is a good primer for any newcomer to the world of beer and food. Where it does stand out, however, is in the connections it makes to real chefs and restaurateurs: their recommendations and anecdotes make it more than just a prettily illustrated rehash of well-known ideas. Helpfully, these contributions are all on red-edged pages for ease of reference. For me, The Brewmaster’s Table is still the masterwork. The Beer and Food Companion can be seen as more of a, well, companion to it, moving beyond the famous classic beers of twelve years ago and travelling the world to gather the stories of those who are immersed in the beer and food scene. The seasoned beer and food enthusiast may not find a great deal of new information, but they will definitely enjoy seeing their passion reflected back at them on a global scale. Reviewed By John Duffy Winter - 2015
The Belgian Connection
A hard-nosed Belgian farmer arrives at the historical brew house in the Flemish village of Bokrijk on an old Dexta tractor to pick up the spent grain. Having come all the way from Ireland to take part in the brew day, Rob Hynes makes a bee-line for the tractor. “That’s a thing of beauty,” he says. “I used to own one years ago but I sold it. I regret that.” He turns to the farmer. “Do you want some advice for tightening up the steering?” Rob is here with Mescan Brewery, a small brewery situated just outside Westport in Co. Mayo which was founded by Bart Adons and Cillian O’Móráin. All three men are here to brew a 250 year old recipe on a historical brewing installation with De Gilde Demerdal-Vliermaalroot VZW, a Guild of Brewers in the Belgian province of Limburg. Bart is from Belgium and Cillian is originally from Dublin so Rob is actually the only Mayo man at the Mayo brewery. And he’s pure Mayo. He talks about GAA, rugby and tractors. He’s a farmer by inheritance and a mechanical engineer by trade. An important skill set for any aspiring brewer. Bart and Cillian have brought Rob on board because of Mescan’s growing success. Demand for their beers has been insatiable. “Rob is a hard worker,” says Cillian. “And he’s really hungry to learn. That’s the most important thing.” Bart comes from a village only 12 kilometres away from here called Waterschei. Its literal meaning is water ‘separation’ or ‘divorce’ and refers to the fact that the village is the place of division for two of Belgium’s most important rivers: the Maas to the east and the Schelde to the west.
Bokrijk itself is a fascinating village, a kind of recreated historic world complete with magical forest, authentic bakeries and crumbling brick schoolhouses. It’s also home to Het Paenhuys brewery, a system which was once owned by Hoegaarden but since 1995 has been housed here at Bokrijk. “It’s the installation on which Pierre Celis learned to brew,” says the President of the Guild, Stefaan Huybrechts. If it was Celis’ brewing playground, then it’s apt that the beer being brewed today is a Belgian wheat beer, made from malted barley and spelt grains. They’re making 2,000 litres and the 5% ABV Spelt beer will be poured for guests at a Christmas party which will take place in the Bokrijk museum in a few months time. “We first brewed here like this in 2004,” Stefaan says. “This is our 12th year doing it.” The Guild is a non-profit organisation affiliated to the Association of Amateur Winemakers and Brewers which started up 30 years ago in Diepenbeek. It counts 80 people as members of which 15 are winemakers and 65 are brewers. Its purpose is primarily educational, helping people to learn traditional methods of producing wine and beer on a small scale. It’s Bart’s third time brewing here with the Guild. It seems that after quite some time travelling in Africa and then living in Ireland, there’s been a recognition with the place he is from. “For a long time I didn’t come back here,” says Bart. “There are a lot of things I don’t like about this place. But now there are a lot of things I love.” This reconnection – both with the landscape and the people – has facilitated Mescan’s assimilation into the Guild. When Cillian and Bart started brewing in Mayo, they would often contact Guild members for advice on specific brewing matters. Help was always forthcoming. Continued... Winter - 2015
The Belgian Connection
The bonds between Mescan and the Guild continue to deepen. 14 Guild members made the trip to the west of Ireland over Easter this year. It was both a thank you to the Guild for their help and a celebration of Mescan’s first year in business. Not only did they assist with brewing and bottling on that visit, but they did their fair share of drinking. “I spent 6 weeks making that beer,” mocked Rob in front of the group on a break from brewing. “And you guys went and drank it all in 6 hours.”
By Breandán Kearney Breandán is a beer lover from Warrenpoint, Co. Down, currently living in Belgium. He has studied “Beer Knowledge” in Ghent and puts all his communications experience from his time as a university coordinator, as a qualified lawyer and working in an Irish whiskey distillery into telling the story of Belgian beer on the blog “Belgian Smaak – adventures in taste with Belgian beer and chocolate”.
Like Mescan, there are several breweries around the world that brew Belgian style beers. Think of Allagash in Portland, Maine; or New Belgium in Colorado. Many of these breweries bring their employees on a trip to Belgium once those employees have been working with the brewery for at least 5 years.
It’s a rite of passage and a way for the breweries to baptise their staff into a unique brewing culture. “This is our first annual employee trip,” jokes Bart. “We’re on it right now.” It’s like what Conor McGregor said. The Irish aren’t here to take part. We’re here to take over.
Winter - 2015
Northern Ireland Update A report from the Northern Ireland CAMRA branch
The Belfast Beer and Cider Festival returned to the Ulster Hall refreshing the knowledgeable public with up to ninety real ales and thirteen real ciders. It takes months of planning and a full four days to build the bar and stillage areas inside the hall – all done by volunteers by the way – to become Northern Ireland’s biggest single bar for one weekend in mid November. Almost a third of the beer on offer was from Northern Ireland and this year 100% of the cider came from north of the border. Tempted Cider from Lisburn showed a great presence with four styles - Dry, Festival Scrumpy, Summer Sweet and the delicious (but at 7% abv needs to be shown respect) XL . Tempted’s Davy Uprichard said “This is our fifth time at the Belfast Beer and Cider Festival and in previous years there was a good quantity of English cider but there’s now enough quality in the North to be able to supply 100% local cider. It’s a big achievement from local producers to be able to do that. We can now do different styles and blends and the festival produce usually differs from the cider we commercially produce throughout the rest of the year. Most of our festival cider is unfiltered, unpasteurised and uncarbonated and respect to the guys from the likes of Toby’s and Kilmeggan for also being able to do that. They also staff the Cider Corner for the entire three days so again thanks to them for giving up their time to promote local cider.” With over 60 beers coming from mainland GB (as well as Orkney Isles and Isle of Man) and almost 30 from Northern Ireland there was plenty to tickle the tastebuds of the most discerning beer enthusiast. The festival beer ranged from standard golden ales to bourbon milk stouts and the hard working bar staff – have we already mentioned they’re all volunteers? – went out of their way to try to please every single customer who came through the door.
Some of the new NI breweries represented included Northbound from Derry/Londonderry who supplied their 08 Kölsch-style beer and 47 IPA, Mourne Mountains from Warrenpoint provided two of the core range, Mourne Gold and Red Trail IPA and Portrush’s new co-operative brewery Lacada had their first festival experience. Lacada head brewer Laurie Davies was overjoyed at his beers running out! “We need bigger casks!” he joked. “It was really nice to see so many local breweries there and also to see actual local brewers attending on the Thursday night. We’ve had some really positive feedback and although there’s always room for improvement I believe we’re heading in the right direction. It was a challenge for us supplying the festival as we launched only a few weeks ago but we got there and are about to refill the casks for our next festival (Sippy of Culture in the north west) next weekend.” Good luck to him and all the new breweries in Northern Ireland and let’s hope the 2016 festival will be able to provide many of the high quality beers being brewed south of the border as well here in Northern Ireland.
Regular Beer Festivals in Ireland January/February: Winter ales & Cask Festival - Franciscan Well - Cork / Alltech Brews & Food - Convention Centre - Dublin Easter Weekend: Easterfest Beer Festival - Franciscan Well - Cork St Patrick’s weekend: The Irish Craft Beer & Whiskey Festival - RDS - Dublin May: Killarney Beer Festival - Kerry June: Bloom In The Park - Phoenix Park - Dublin / Kilkenny Craft Beer Festival - Kilkenny July: Franciscan Well Cider Festival August: 28th-30th Hilden Beer Festival - Hilden - Antrim / Doolin Craft Beer Festival - Doolin - Clare 27th - 29th - Irish Craft Beer & Cider Festival - RDS - Dublin Dates Are indicative. Please November: Belfast Beer festival - Belfast
beoir.org calendar for more info.
Winter - 2015
The Craft Beer Pubs of Cork City County Cork has long been a crucible of the Irish craft beer revolution and these days is home to many of the country’s finest breweries. Thankfully it’s not necessary to roam the highways and byways of Ireland’s largest county to find their beers: within Cork City there are a many excellent pubs in which to sample their wares. I can’t hope to list them all in the confined space of this magazine (see the BeoirFinder app for more), so what follows is merely a personal selection of some of my favourite places to drink when in Cork. The Bierhaus, Pope’s Quay. www.thebierhauscork.com With probably the widest selection of Irish craft beers in town, The Bierhaus is an essential stop. There’s an extra bonus for Beoir members as cardholders get a generous discount on all cask beers. Specials are rotated regularly and several new beers make their début here each year.
Franciscan Well, North Mall. franciscanwellbrewery.com Although the brewery and brand became part of the Molson Coors empire in 2012, the original Franciscan Well brewpub, established in 1998, has retained its spirit of independence. The more innovative and interesting Franciscan Well beers are still brewed on the microkit out back and there’s a regular rotation of guest beers on the bar. Particular support for new Irish breweries is shown during its festivals which take place in the large heated beer garden: Cask and Winter Ales is the theme in February and then all-comers are welcomed at the Easter Festival, though space concerns have meant that the emphasis has been on Munster breweries in particular in recent years. The onsite pizzeria provides perfect soakage.
Rising Sons, Cornmarket Street. www.risingsonsbrewery.com The second brewpub in Cork city centre brings a touch of theatre to the business of brewing. The front of house is an American-style sports bar with a kitchen serving up pizzas, chilli, nachos and the like but rearing up behind the serving area are the bright copper vessels of the brewery. Head brewer Shane Murphy draws on American and Belgian influences for his creations, with more than a few unique touches as well: stout doesn’t get more Corkonian than the excellent Mi Daza. Rising Sons is definitely more of a lively night out than a few quiet pints, but is definitely the place to go if you want to drink decent beer while you party or watch the match. The Cotton Ball, 18 Old Youghal Road. www.cottonball.ie To complete the set of Cork brewpubs, hop on the 208 bus from Patrick Street and head for Mayfield. The Cotton Ball has stood here since 1874, owned by the Lynch family. In 2013 a new generation of Lynches, aided by brewing guru Brendan Dobbin, established a microbrewery in a space below the pub. Among the recipes is Kerry Lane Pale Ale, a licensed recreation of Dobbin’s legendary award-winning Yakima Grande, one of the first US-inspired pale ales to have been brewed in Britain. The pub itself is very much a typical suburban lounge bar, comfortable and family friendly. The Friary, 62 Shandon Street. facebook.com/thefriarycork Along the Lee, between The Bierhaus and Franciscan Well, you’ll pass this relative newcomer on the corner of Shandon Street. It’s an intimate little pub with just a couple of small tables downstairs and a few more above. But the welcome is warm and the beer selection is always well-chosen. If you don’t have the time to make the journey out to The Cotton Ball, this is one of the places in town where you’re likely to find its beers. Special editions from Eight Degrees also make regular appearances on the taps.
Winter - 2015
Abbot’s Alehouse, 17 Devonshire Street. facebook.com/abbotsalehouse A dark and cosy speakeasy-style joint situated above the off licence of the same name, the Abbot’s is certainly one of the quirkier options on this list. The selection is perhaps tilted more towards international beers than Irish ones, but there’ll always be something available from a local brewery. As one might expect, the bottled range is enormous and indeed any bottle from the shop downstairs can be ordered for consumption on the premises.
Porterhouse Cork, The Mardyke Complex, Sheare’s Street. www.theporterhouse.ie/bars-cork-sheares.php An outpost of the Dublin brewing empire in the heart of the Rebel County, Porterhouse Cork’s setting in an old brick-vaulted warehouse is its most spectacular feature. As well as being the only place in town you can get classics like Porterhouse Plain and Chocolate Truffle Stout (when in season), there’s also Ireland’s only full sized shuffleboard table. There are plenty of guest Irish and international beers too, plus cocktails if that’s the sort of thing you’re into.
I’ve kept the list limited to pubs (and I know I probably didn’t mention your favourite one) but I should also make a quick mention of Bradley’s Off Licence (81 North Main Street) and Elbow Lane brewery-restaurant (4 Oliver Plunkett Street) as part of the wonderful diversity of beer to be found in Ireland’s southern capital. Additional photography by Killian Feehely @thedrunkendestrier)
John Duffy is currently serving as the Treasurer of Beoir and has been writing the successful beer blog: The Beer Nut since 2005. @TheBeerNut thebeernut.blogspot.ie
By John Duffy
New Beers from Independent Brewing Beoir Magazine
e d a c s a c a r a c onnem cascade hops a nd f e a t u r i n g m elba
Winter - 2015
Meet The Brewer With Cormac O’Dwyer head brewer at Dungarvan Brewing Company. A short interview by Mark Hilliard: Beoir Public Relations Officer.
MH: How did you get into brewing? CD: I started brewing in the late 90’s, pretty much out of nowhere. I reckoned homebrewing seemed like an interesting hobby to get in to, so popped in to the home brew shop in Waterford and bought the bits and pieces, and a [beer] kit and started from there. MH: When did you make the jump from a “traditional” job into brewing? CD: As for commercial brewing, we started to look in to setting up a brewery in around 2008, so from that point on, almost everything I brewed was with a commercial setup in mind. MH: What was the first beer you brewed? CD: The first beer I brewed was Helvick Gold. After two years of tweaking and refining when we were ready to start brewing, I had the recipes for our first three core beers down, so my first three brews were Helvick Gold, Black Rock, and Copper Coast. MH: What do you love most about being a brewer? CD: There is a great sense of pride in creating something, going from raw ingredients to finished beer, and seeing people gain such satisfaction from. MH: What is your favourite style of beer to brew? CD: It’s always interesting to work with new ingredients, from formulating the recipe, to overcoming the challenges that might arise in brewing with them. This year’s Seaweed Saison, for example, was my first time working with Dillisk, and I’m delighted with the way it turned out.
MH: Where do you see yourself and your brewery in 5 years? CD: We don’t have any huge expansion plans, capacity-wise, but from the start the brewery has grown organically, and that would be our vision for the next five years. Of course, to still be here, brewing beer, would be our major goal for five years’ time. MH: Where do you see Irish independent breweries over the next few years? CD: The next few years will be very interesting for the independent brewing scene in Ireland. We are coming up on our sixth anniversary - a lot has happened in those six years in the whole beer scene in Ireland, and I’m sure a lot more will happen in the next few years. The exponential growth cannot continue, surely. There may be some consolidation, but ultimately I think it will be good for the industry. MH: What is the biggest impediment in your view to independent breweries expanding? CD: As with any SME, finance is always a big issue when it comes to expansion plans. MH: What is your favourite beer right now? CD: Right now, besides our own beers (of which I’m drinking Copper Coast at the moment!) I really enjoyed the beers I’ve tried from Clever Man in Wexford. My favourite beer of the last few months was Brown Paper Bag’s Sour beer. MH: What single tip can you give anyone looking to get into the business of brewing? CD: There’s plenty of advice I could give regarding setting up a business, but on the brewing side my one tip would be: make sure you do plenty of pilot batches and have your beer nailed before it goes on the shelf. MH: What else should we look forward to from Dungarvan company brewing Big plans for the brewery in 2016. We are revamping the whole brewery lay-out to allow us to cater more for tours, tastings, hosting events and workshops. On the beer-side I will have some more one-off specials in the coming year too. Winter - 2015
Vegan Friendly Beer
Well, Diageo has finally bowed to pressure from the vegan/vegetarian community and has declared that the pride of St. James’s Gate will be vegan friendly following the removal of isinglass, a product derived from the swim bladders of fish, expected to happen sometime around mid-2016. Isinglass is a fining agent that clarifies the beer, whereby the positively charged isinglass binds to the negative surface of the yeast cells and then falls out of suspension to leave a clear beer. There has been plenty of debate over whether its use is needed in modern brewing and probably the commonest use is in the cask conditioned ale of England. Obviously since it’s an animal product this has raised objections from vegans and vegetarians. But there has also been a counter movement among brewers themselves over the last few years, with Moor Beer of Somerset, among others, promoting “unfined beer” in the UK. But as ever, it’s the Irish craft beer sector that has been leading the charge on this side of the Irish Sea. Currently there are 42 independent Irish craft breweries across the island that produce vegan/vegetarian friendly beer. With a massive range of beers and styles there is certainly something for everyone. The list below I would not be surprised to see grow over the next few years. 1. St.Mel’s Brewing Company
15. Wood Key Brewing
29. Manor Brewing
2. Dungarvan Brewing
16. 8 Degrees Brewing
30. Blacks Brewery *
3. Western Herd
17. Kelly’s Mountain Brew
4. Simon Lambert / Otter Bank
18. Galway Hooker Brewery
32. Treaty City Brewing
5. Rye River
19. 9 White Deer Brewery*
33. Rising Sons
6. O Brother Brewing
20. Mountain Man
34. Walled City
7. Galway Bay Brewery*
21. Radik Ale
22. Drew Fox
36. Ards Brewing
9. Wild Bat
37. West Mayo
10. Black Donkey
38. Four Provinces
25. JW Sweetman
39. Elbow Lane
12. Independent Brewing
13 White Gypsy*
27 Torc Brewing.
41 12th Acres Brewing
14 Munster Brewery
28 The White Hag
42 Tom Creans
So all is not is not lost, vegans can enjoy an Irish craft beer in many places around Ireland while supporting small indigenous independent breweries. Now thatâ€™s something worth raising a pint to. There are always some exceptions and here are 4 from the list. *7 Buried at Sea, contains lactose. *13 Doppelbock and Emerald on cask *19 Cask ale *30 Some older bottles Mark Hilliard serves as the Beoir Public Relations Officer. He writes on his blog: Oblivious to Beer. @Oblivious_ oblivioustobeer.blogspot.ie
By Mark Hilliard
Winter - 2015
Beoir Magazine DISCOVER · MEET · TASTE · ENJOY
GUIDE TO CRAFT BREWERIES &BE ER
Ireland’s reputation as a great beer destination has rested increasingly uncomfortably on the country’s shoulders as knowledge and awareness of beer rises relentlessly. Despite its worthy tradition, the sight of a pint of plain no longer sums up Ireland’s beer culture. It is rapidly becoming a superficial image geared towards “tourists” while the real beer lovers look beyond it to the nooks and crannies, risks and rewards of the country’s craft breweries. ON THE
ENJOY QUALITY LOCAL PRODUC
DISCOVER HOW BEER IS MADE
TASTE DISTINCTIVE FLAVOURS
MEET SOME PEOPLE WHO MAKE IT
The Wild Atlantic Way: Ireland’s first long-distance touring route, stretching along the Atlantic coast from Donegal to West Cork. It offers a great chance to reconcile the traditional and contemporary perceptions of the country’s beer landscape. With the publication of the “Guide to Craft Breweries & Beer on the Wild Atlantic Way” Ireland finally takes a step towards the development of beer tourism. Why not match the great wine routes of France, California and South Africa with an equally impressive beer route in Ireland? A recent visiting journalist from India loved the idea but questioned whether the breweries were as important as the beer. “Once you’ve seen one brewery, surely you’ve seen them all”, he suggested. “Not at all”, countered Kinnegar’s Rick LeVert. “It’s all about the people”, he maintains, “and the places”. The breweries of the Wild Atlantic Way are found anywhere from farmyards to industrial estates. This sounds like an unbridgeable gap in potential attractiveness but the landscape and people of the route elevate the most prosaic of brewing facilities to the poetic. Take Kevin O’Hara’s Independent Brewing in Connemara. Industrial estate? In a word, Yes. But where else will you find an industrial estate anchored in such stunning scenery, a mere stone’s throw from the coral beaches that inspire the brewery’s intriguing emblem? Enjoy the scenery on the journey to Carraroe, Once
you set foot inside the brewery, you’ll immediately be transported out of picturesque Connemara and into a world of brewing which transcends location. No matter what brewery on the Wild Atlantic Way you choose to visit, you will immediately find yourself immersed in the resident brewer’s world. Malt, hops and yeast are the common theme but the individuals who tell their story of brewing on the Atlantic seaboard are unique. Each brewery has its own concept. Many are a means of earning a living, some are a means of supplementing a living — be it in material or emotional currency. Some, like Galway Bay and Galway Hooker, have all the edge and persona of an alternative lifestyle yet are confident in their clearly commercial objectives. At the other end of the spectrum, Cillian and Bart at Mescan Brewing have developed a widely admired stable of beers while earning their living as practicing vets. Horses for courses. You just might find it a bit easier to arrange a tour of Galway Bay or Galway Hooker than of Mescan; Cillian admits to a pathological fear of publishing his phone number, a symptom of a lifetime of broken nights’ sleep as distressed farmers dial the elusive number. Just the other side of Westport to Mescan, Ian and Caroline Price’s brewery is a prime example of rural diversification. As you negotiate the narrow and winding little road to their farm, ask yourself how the logistics of delivering raw materials are managed at West Mayo Brewery? Day to day activities that are taken for granted in urban areas and industrial estates take on a whole new dimension in the countryside. Ian and Caroline still farm their land, the brewery supplements the agricultural activity. In the south of the country, where tourism providers are accustomed to large numbers of visitors, some breweries regard tourism as a fundamental part of their business concept. Although beer production is their number one priority, Sam and Maudeline Black have enjoyed a great 2015 tourist season. Thinking ahead, the plan is to introduce a shuttle service that will ferry visitors from picturesque Kinsale the short distance to the brewery door. Continued... Winter - 2015
West Cork Brewery has tight links to the traditional Casey’s Hotel of Baltimore while Mountain Man and 9 White Deer’s attractive West Cork location is bound to be a magnet for touring foodies and beer lovers. Both Dingle and Killarney Brewing cater for the large numbers of visitors that pour through this tourist honeypot every year, offering professional visitor experiences with generous tour schedules and a range of merchandise. 1. KINNEGAR BREWING
8. GALWAY HOOKER
Rathmullan, County Donegal
Oranmore, Co. Galway
2. DONEGAL BREWING CO
9. GALWAY BAY
Ballyshannon, County Donegal
Monivea Road, Galway
www.donegalbrewingcompany.com www.galwaybaybrewery.com 3. THE WHITE HAG
10. DINGLE BREWING
Ballymote, County Sligo
Dingle, County Kerry
4. REEL DEEL
11. BEOIR CHORCA DHUIBHNE/
Crossmolina, County Mayo
WEST KERRY BREWERY
An Riasc, Ballyferriter, County Kerry
5. OILEÁN ÉADAIGH
12. WEST CORK BREWING CO
Islandeady, County Mayo
Baltimore, County Cork
6. MESCAN BREWERY
13. BLACKS of KINSALE
Kilsallagh, Westport, County Mayo
Kinsale, County Cork
7. INDEPENDENT Carraroe, Co. Galway www.independentbrewing.ie 8. GALWAY HOOKER Oranmore, Co. Galway www.galwayhooker.ie 9. GALWAY BAY Monivea Road, Galway
WEST MAYO BREWERY
7 8 9
www.blacksbrewery.com A. BLACK DONKEY Ballinlough, Roscommon
B. KILLARNEY BREWING
Killarney, County Kerry
C. MOUNTAIN MAN
D. 9 WHITE DEER
Renanirree, Macroom, County Cork
Baile Bhúirne, Co. Chorcaí
Winter - 2015
Just down the road from Dingle, West Kerry Brewery, on the other hand, is a tiny enterprise closely attached to a delightful traditional pub, Bric’s Bar, in the Gaeltacht area of Ballyferriter. Adrienne Heslin, the brewster, is an artist; her mother hand labels every bottle they fill; and you’re likely to meet a blow-in from some far flung corner of the earth who happens to have found his or her dream job assisting Adrienne in this beautiful backend of nowhere. Blow-ins are a bit of a feature on the brewing landscape of the Wild Atlantic Way and they add a really international flavor to the beer culture. Richard Siberry at Black Donkey in Roscommon was born in Ireland but his love of beer blossomed during a lifetime in the States. Just across the plains of Mayo in Crossmolina, Marcus Robinson of Reel Deel comes from Yorkshire, home of a very different brewing tradition. With a handful of exceptions, you’ll discover as you explore the route that each brewery has the same problem as their neighbour: it’s not legal to serve beer at breweries in this country. Joe Kearns, The White Hag’s Ohio-born head brewer laments the extraordinary situation that obtains in Ireland. “During a conversation I was having with my long-time friend back in the States, I had came to an interesting conclusion: In Ireland, we’re fortunate enough to be able to still buy our bread at the local baker; buy our beef from the local butcher, yet we still can’t buy our beer from our local brewer”. With luck the laws will change. In the meantime, breweries find creative ways to overcome the licensing problem. Donegal Brewing Company in Ballyshannon has no such difficulties. Brendan O’Reilly runs not just the brewery but also a wonderful traditional pub next door called Diceys, as well as one of the finest off-licences in the country. Much farther north in Donegal, on the shores of Lough Swilly, Kinnegar Brewing capitalises on a unique local partnership. After a tour of the brewery, guests can enjoy the full range of beers less than a kilometer away in their Taproom at the wonderful Blue Book hotel, Rathmullan By Libby Carton, co-owner of Kinnegar Brewing along with her husband Rick LeVert. The brewery is in the House. yard of the family home where she grew up in Donegal. A graphic designer by profession, she provides the business the unique luxury of an in-house design department.
Winter - 2015
‘Tis The Season
It’s that time of the year when the evenings get shorter and the days get colder which means it’s time for the winter seasonals/Christmas beers. There’s been a massive increase this year with nearly half the Irish microbreweries producing at least one seasonal, and in some cases, two and even three. The styles are almost all malt-forward as expected for the time of year, with a couple of surprises. Red IPAs, Spiced Ryes and of course, the Coffee Porter/Stouts are all well represented. So, get ticking…
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5 Lamps: Glendalough Barrel Aged Red, Porter and Dark IPA. 9 White Deer: Cask specials only- Black Lightning and Lon Dubh. Beoir Chorca Dhuibhne: Festive Imperial Black Ale and Winter Ale. Black Donkey: Dark Biere de Garde. Blacks of Kinsale: “Worlds End” Imperial Chocolate Vanilla Stout. Bo Bristle: TBA. Boundary Brewing: Chili Porter and Coconut Lemon Berlinerweisse. Brehon: Shanco Duhb relaunch. Brú: “Darkside” Saison and 400 Day Barrel Aged Stout (in bottles). Carlow: “Winter Star” Spiced Rye Ale Carrig: Barrel Aged Black IPA and Red IPA. Donegal: Expresso Stout. Dungarvan: Coffee and Oatmeal Stout Eight Degrees: “Snow Eater” Red IPA, “Signal” Belgian Stout and “Mór” Barleywine. Elbow Lane: Vienna Lager. Farmageddon: Winter IPA. Galway Bay: “Space Suit” Dark Saison and “Diving Bell” Salted Caramel Wee Heavy. Hooker: 3 beers TBA. Independent: Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine and Brandy Barrel Aged Barleywine. Inishmacsaint: Collaboration with Pokertree- TBA. Jack Cody’s: “Curly Hole” Samhain Ale. JW Sweetman: TBA.
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Killarney Brewing: TBA. Kinnegar: “Maddyroe” Red IPA and “Long Tongue” Winter Ale. By Andrew Moore Manor Brewing: TBA. @BeoirFinder Mescan: “Beoir Na Nollaig” Red Tripel. Andrew is our site admin and Metalman: “Orange Is The New Black” Orange app developer and is responsible for the wonderful BeoirDark Ale. Finder app. He also does anyMountain Man: Cask Specials. thing that needs doing. He is an Mourne Mountain: TBA. avid craft beer fan, brewer and chocolateier. Northbound Brewery: Smoked Wheat Ale. O Brother: Coffee Porter. Otter Bank: Dark Sour. Pokertree: Collaboration With Inishmacsaint- TBA. Porterhouse: TBA. Radik Ale: TBA. Rascal: Double Red IPA. Simon Lambert and Sons: Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Barleywine and Chardonnay Barrel Aged Belgium Brown. St Mel’s Brewing Company: Raisin and Oatmeal Stout. Stone Barrel: Coffee and Oatmeal Stout and Oat meal Amber. Third Circle: Rye Stout. For an up to date Torc Brewing: Smoked German Ale. listing, be sure to Trouble Brewing: “Dash Away” Cherry Stout check out beoir.org White Gypsy: Yule Ol. White Hag: Christmas Ale. Wicklow Wolf: “A Beer Called Rwanda” Coffee Brown Ale. Wild Bat: TBA. Wood Key Brewery: Spiced Rye and Black Treacle Ale. Winter - 2015
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Beoir is Ireland’s craft beer consumer group. We are a volunteer run, non-profit organisation seeking to raise awareness of Ireland’s independent breweries. We also campaign on a European level with our partners in the EBCU. We are the voice of the Irish & European beer consumer. We are only as effective as our membership and we are always seeking new members. Beoir membership costs just €10 per year, a very modest amount considering what you get back in return.
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Winter - 2015
Bumper Christmas Edition of Beoir Magazine