Issue 5 Summer & Autumn 2017
Meet the Brewer Travel, Business, Politics & Culture Featuring plus a special on Cider.
Discover Craft Beer & Cider in Ireland
What’s inside? Chairman’s Update Beoir Chairman, Reuben Gray gives an introduction to the magazine. About The Writers Meet our team of Irish and international writers. Cider Beoir Cider Competition Steve recaps on the inaugural competition.
Politics On promoting beer in European culture.
Food Beer and Chocolate pairing and a recipe for Irish Stout Blackcurrant Cheesecake Brownies.
Meet The Brewer A chat with Ian Hamilton from Sullivan’s Brewing.
Travel Kinnegar Brewing visit Belgium to brew a collaborative brew with Siphon Brewing.
Business Carlow Brewing takeover of Craigies cider was unexpected. Learn a little more about it. Northern Ireland CAMRA update An update from the Northern Ireland branch of CAMRA.
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.
Chairman’s Welcome By Reuben Gray Welcome to the fifth issue of Beoir Magazine. 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 and cider producers. Currently in 2017, the island of Ireland has 87 physical, independent breweries. We also have about 46 contract brands which are brewed at one of those independent Irish breweries. We also have approximately 20 cider producers at the moment producing a range of ciders from my personal favourite style of bone dry through to sweeter ciders as well as specialty ciders such as beer & cider hybrids to barrel aged ciders. A little about Beoir and membership
Membership is €10 per year but you immediately get that back with €10 worth of vouchers for Galway Bay Brewery pubs in Dublin, Galway and coming soon, Limerick. You also get other discounts in other pubs and homebrew shops around the country as well as discounted entry to certain beer festivals, including CAMRA beer festivals in the UK/Northern Ireland and a number of other beer festivals around Europe such as Zythos in Belgium. Beoir is a member of the European Beer Consumers’ Union along with a dozen other countries which has a combined membership approaching 250,000 members. Please enjoy the rest of this free magazine and check out Beoir.org for info on Irish craft beer and related events around the country. Please find more info on the back page inside cover.
Meet The Team Learn about our talented team of writers
Publishing Editor Reuben Gray is currently serving as the Chairman of Beoir and magazine editor. Since 2008, he has been writing the successful beer blog The Tale Of The Ale. He also writes freelance for various publications such as FFT magazine and TheJournal.ie @TaleOfAle www.taleofale.com
Contributors Steve Lamond was I was born in Yeovil, Somerset and moved to Northern Ireland in 2010 via Southampton University where he obtained a Masters degree in Chemistry with Ocean and Earth Science in 2009. Being from Somerset, he obviously enjoys cider too. Steve is the Beoir Cider Liaison Officer and regional rep for the North East. Caroline Hennessy is a freelance writer and broadcaster. She is the co-author, with Kristin Jensen, of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer and Cider (New Island) and also works with (or can’t escape from) Eight Degrees Brewing. A member of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild, a McKennas’ Guide Editor and a Ballymaloe graduate, she is devoted to exploring the intersecting worlds of Irish craft beer and fine Irish food. Jan Lichota is a lawyer by training, researcher by interest, beer lover and labels collector by passion. Reporter for various magazines around Europe and judge in different beer competitions. Served in the national executive of Bractwo Piwne (Poland) and is also a member of beer interest groups in Belgium (Zythos), Poland (PSPD) and Spain (CELCE). He lives in Brussels. John Rega is a journalist based in Brussels. Originally from the USA, he relocated to Belgium for a three-year assignment in 2003 and is still here. He writes about beer for Belgian Smaak, Belgian Beer & Food Magazine and other local publications while moonlighting as a reporter on European Union policy for the news service MLex.
Summer - 2017
Beoir Cider Competition By Steve Lamond Saturday 22nd of April saw the inaugural Beoir Champion Cider of Ireland competition being judged in The Wine Rack Stewartstown, Tyrone. Entries from 20 producers were judged by a team of five experienced cider judges to ascertain the best cider in five style categories and overall Champion. I somehow managed to get both Pete Brown & Susanna Forbes to agree to come over to NI especially for the event, both highly respected cider authorities with a lot of competition experience. Pete is a well-known beer writer and speaker with a number of books on cider, Susanna writes the beer & cider section for Imbibe and recently set up her own cider farm - Little Pomona. They were joined by local judges Andrew Moore, Shane Smith and Caoimhe Nic An tSaoir. My team on the day was rounded out by Reuben Gray and Daisy Lamond as stewards. The day started off early with judges being ferried from accommodation to venue and making sure everything was in place. With everyone settled at about 10:30 & coffees consumed we split the judges into two teams assessing the dry and non-dry categories respectively. All bottles were judged blind, with amateur entries being mixed in with the commercial stuff to allow all feedback to be on the same basis. The ciders were very much a mixed bag with some immediate standouts and a few less-so (including some that are actually available to the unsuspecting public!). Honest feedback was provided via judging forms and the best ciders picked out for reassessment for best in category.
Winners selected and it was time for lunch. One of our judges (Caoimhe) makes black pudding and kindly brought along some sausage rolls for us to enjoy alongside some tasty chips from the next-door chippy. Washed down with some palate-refreshing beers from our kind hosts and a much needed stretch of the legs we were back down to business at 2ish. The bulk of the entries out of the way we could move on to the smaller categories, fruited, perries and speciality cider. These took around an hour for the two teams to assess and gave us ten bottles progressing to best in show. The judges had another short comfort break whilst the best in show table was set up, with ten bottles though that meant 50 glasses! Drinks poured, judges were asked to put ciders in order of preference for most accomplished cider/perry. Judges were also asked to think about which cider they would recommend a drinker that best reflected cider in Ireland or that they would most enjoy drinking themselves. A few bottles were eliminated fairly early on, but the remaining entries took a lot of discussion, with quite a few panel splits. Thankfully all judges were well behaved and everyone had a chance to discuss their opinions. After the best part of an hour one cider emerged as the frontrunner and duly selected as Champion Cider of Ireland - that cider was Tempted Dry Cider! This was followed closely by The Cider Millâ€™s Cockagee Keeved Cider and Johnny Falldown Cider in second and third place respectively. Because the competition had been so tight, Tempted Elderflower and Llewellynâ€™s Frizzante were both awarded honourable mentions but all ten finalists really were excellent and should be rightly proud of their achievement. Continued... Summer - 2017
At this point the best amateur ciders were tasted by all five judges and the overall winner chosen as Eoin of Rebel brewers in Cork. He will receive a case of craft beer from sponsor and competition hosts; The Wine Rack. All that remained at that point was to announce the awards to the cider makers who had made the trip up on the day to hear how they had done. Fortuitously, Davy from Tempted was one of those who made it along so was able to hear in person that his dry cider had won overall. To say he was pleased would be an understatement. It was great to have some cider makers along as the judges could meet the people behind some of the drinks they had been assessing all afternoon - weâ€™d like to extend this further in future events. Competition business out of the way we could all relax with a few beers from The Wine Rack before heading off for dinner at the excellent Brewerâ€™s House in Donaghmore. All that remains is for me to extend a massive thank you to my team of five judges & two stewards and even more so to the producers who entered our competition for its first year. Feedback has been great in the main, so watch this space for a repeat event in future years!
Summer - 2017
Three is the Magic Number An Irish brewer and beer writer started a brewery in Belgium last year and invited over Kinnegar Brewing of Donegal for a collaboration brew. John Rega visits Damme for the full story. Belgian Smaak is a beer and chocolate blog exploring taste. So it’s a bit odd to learn they’re celebrating a third birthday with a beer designed to be atypical for Belgium: a low-alcohol, quaffable yet full-bodied light ale, with a distinct bitterness. They’re calling it the ‘Rule of Three’, befitting the occasion. The story begins as far back as the second birthday, or not long after of the Belgian Smaak blog. The restaurant Siphon, more than a century in operation under the Callewaert family, made the brave move to start a brewery at their canal-side premises in Damme, West Flanders. The restaurateurs, their hands full serving up classic dishes such as eel and pheasant, handed over Siphon Brewing to passionate newcomers Franklin Verdonck, and Co. Down’s Breandán Kearney. The brewery is now furnishing the restaurant with ‘Blinker’, a clean-lined, modern take on a saison, edgily hopped; ‘Damme Nation’, an assertively Americanstyle India Pale Ale; ‘Cassandra’, a creamy stout made with oyster shells taken straight from diners’ plates; and Tronk, a quadruple ale imbued with vanilla and orange peels, also scavenged from the Siphon kitchen.
“That’s part of our identity, to be a bit more bitter,” Franklin says of the house style. There’s no mandate to try to match with the dishes of the restaurant, which boasts a celebrated wine list alongside more classic Belgian ales. The Triumvirate So, Siphon Brewing clearly had to be central to creating the signature brew for Belgian Smaak’s third anniversary. It was decided that input was needed from a third brewer, to fit the birthday theme. In picking a collaboration partner, Breandán has bridged the divide between his countries, old and new. He reached out to Kinnegar Brewing from the northwest of Ireland, in County Donegal. “They get everything right,” Breandán says of the brewer known throughout his home country for hop-forward but well-balanced ales. Breandán was impressed on his first visit to Kinnegar two or three years earlier. They’ve met up at festivals since then, once working together at a special tasting event in Belfast. Rick LeVert, co-founder and brewer at Kinnegar, reckons they’ve also bonded over their “nontraditional beer backgrounds.” An American, he’s a trained filmmaker and graphic designer, while Breandán worked in law before life swerved toward Belgium. Some six months ago, Breandán pitched the collaboration idea to Rick, who readily jumped in for his first experience of brewing in Belgium. Rick’s wife and partner in Kinnegar Brewing – Libby Carton – was on hand to help out too. Their starting point was the theme of the number three, but everything else was open. Continued... Summer - 2017
Rick, Franklin and Breandán batted around ideas over Skype calls, before arriving at the unexpected formula of a 3.3% alcohol by volume, brewed with three malts, three varieties of hops, and even a trio of top-fermenting yeast strains. Lower-alcohol brews have caught the imagination of American and English beer geeks, but remain a novelty in the land of the Trappists, at double and triple that strength. “It’s definitely not well known by the average beer drinker in Belgium,” Franklin says. “It’s also nice to present something which, for Belgium, is quite special.” Doing something different was a big part of the attraction. The Unexpected “A lot of people would expect from something happening in Belgium that it would be a higher ABV, quite complex, definitely a beer with a lot more depth, possibly a beer working with wild yeast or different fermentation techniques,” Rick says. “We said, let’s try to do the opposite and make a really good low-ABV beer.” “Breandán is very respectful of the Belgian tradition and he wouldn’t want to be seen mimicking [it],” Rick adds. “Which I think is a good thing.” Not that they mind a big beer. Siphon has its ‘Tronk’, after all. Tronk is a 10% Belgian quadrupel by the way.
No Small Flavour “The problem with the perception out there is that most low-ABV beers are associated with the style of English ales,” Rick says. “I think a lot of the flavour profiles of those are not speaking to the modern palate.” Whatever they call it, they face the challenge of offering the Belgian drinker a full and complex flavour. Easier said than done, however. The lower alcohol level aims for easy drinking. Yet it makes for hard brewing. “It’s a challenge to find a recipe for alcohol that’s full in body and plentiful in hops, including dry hopping for the aroma”, Franklin says. Rick says, “That’s even more difficult than doing it as 7-8%.” “Your grist bill is that much lighter,” at that strength, he explains. “So you’ve got less sugars, you’ve got less malt backbone to be working with.” “If you don’t have the malt backing, it can’t carry the hops as easily or as well. You can end up with a beer with thin mouthfeel or flavour,” Rick says. “It just tastes watery.” Body Building The solution was to use grains producing longer sugar molecules that won’t be gobbled up by the yeast. They selected a Belgian pils malt to carry the load, with a dose of Carapils, and 15% rye. As a dextrine malt, the Cara builds body and head retention. The rye gives yet more mouthfeel plus “a nice spice character,” Rick says. The grain was mashed at 5-6 degrees higher temperature, nearly 70 degrees, to produce yet more residual sugars that the English yeasts won’t digest. Continued... Summer - 2017
“It’s not sweet at all,” Franklin assures. “The impression you get isn’t sweetness… it’s body.” Using rye presents yet more challenges. Barley come with a husk that helps filtration. Rye doesn’t, letting the grains pack together more tightly. The sticky concoction makes for a longer lautering process — or worse, “a stuck sparge” that won’t surrender its liquid. “You have to be aware of how it works, and make sure you don’t force it or go against the grain of what it is,” says Rick, who uses the quirky cereal in Kinnegar’s ‘Rustbucket’ ale, and other rye blends. Noble Hops Hops are never an afterthought at either of Siphon and Kinnegar. For the collaboration, they’re aiming for balanced bitterness — “not something whacking you in the face,” as Rick puts it. “[We] wanted a certain kind of elegance to it.” Their choices hail from the German nobility of Saaz for bittering and Hallertauer Mittelfrüh for aroma before bringing in Hallertau Blanc for the dry hopping. The last is a less pedigreed offspring from the same soil, but offers flavours described like a Sauvignon Blanc wine. Rick suggests white grape, gooseberry, lime and “a bit of peppery note, which would work well with the rye.” The target level of bitterness is of a German helles or a light pilsner, in the low20s for International Bitterness Units.
Effervescence Yeasts, too, get the thematic treatment, with three English strains. For the main fermentation, two have been selected for lower attenuation. Leaving more of the residual sugars on their plate should help with “reinforcing body and fruitiness,” Rick says. The third yeast goes into the packaging, to help saturate the beer with carbon dioxide — important for Belgian drinkers, Franklin insists. “We want a fairly high level of effervescence in it,” Rick says. “With the light character [of the beer], it gives it a more refreshing kind of feel to it.” Back in those planning calls, the brewers talk about letting a wild yeast loose into the brew, before deciding it could overpower it. So the triple yeast selection remains a bit of a gimmick for the third birthday. Holy Water The collaborators missed only one trick with the Rule of Three: they used just the single water source at Siphon. With Damme sitting at the intersection of three watercourses, it seems like an opportunity missed. Then again, maybe not, with the Schipdonk Canal referred to as ‘De Stinker’, for carrying the runoff from Kortrijk textile mills. Still, they didn’t think of a “vial of holy water from Ireland,” Rick says with a rueful laugh. Even without those blessings, the brewing went on as planned, on the 20th November… ‘Rule of Three’ was poured for the first time at the Siphon restaurant for the Belgian Smaak birthday party in February past — on the third, naturally. Summer - 2017
Brand Consolodation By Reuben Gray Back in February, Carlow Brewing Company announced its acquisition of Craigies Cider and has added the Irish craft cider brand to its own portfolio of brands such as O’Hara’s Irish craft beers, and Falling Apple Irish craft cider. It was the first time anyone in Beoir can recall the takeover of one independent producer by another independent producer. The sale included Craigies cider production equipment. This has enabled Carlow Brewing Company to bring all cider production in-house to the Bagenalstown based brewery which will facilitate the support of local apple growers and producers in the area. Commenting on the takeover, Seamus O’Hara said: “This marks the fruition of many months of discussion and planning with the Craigies team, and we are delighted to welcome the brand to the Carlow Brewing family. The brewery is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year, and we were delighted to start 2017 with this expansion. We value all of the hard work and effort that has gone into the Craigies brand thus far, which has resulted in it becoming one of the most popular and highest quality Irish craft ciders in the country. We intend to continue this tradition, as well as learning from the members of the Craigies team who will continue to be involved in the brand.” Seamus O’Hara continued, “We launched Falling Apple Cider in 2015, and the goal was to take the cider production in-house, the deal with Craigies has facilitated this objective. It will allow us to expand and innovate our Falling Apple range, and also continue to produce the Craigies cider range to the high standard their many fans expect. We see the ciders as complementary, and we look forward to introducing some really interesting and exciting new ciders from both Falling Apple and Craigies to Irish cider lovers and beyond this year” Continued... Summer - 2017
Simon Tyrrell co-founded Craigies along with Wicklow farmer, Angus Craigie. When asked to comment he said: “Carlow Brewing are best positioned to take Craigies to the next level. In moving the business on to them there’s more a sense of passing the baton than selling up. Seamus had already developed another cider brand in Falling Apple but we appreciated that he wanted to dive deeper into production and explore the different expressions of cider that exist. We felt that we had the know-how and the production equipment that would fit well with this ambition. The set up in Bagenalstown is so good and their sales network so well established that in terms of production, new product development and distribution it was the number one option for us.” Members of the Craigies team will continue to be involved with the production and promotion of Craigies, lending their expertise and experience. As a result, cider fans will have a lot to look forward to this year as Tyrrell explained: “We believe that the move to O’Hara’s will be a fantastic opportunity for the brand to explore all the different styles that were in the pipeline but that we lacked the resources to be able to bring to market. Fans of the brand will hopefully see a number of small batch releases hitting the market soon. These will attempt to really explore the wonderful fruit produced in Irish orchards. There are some very exciting ciders that have been maturing in tank or bottle just waiting to be released. First up should be a cider that was bottled in May 2015 using the second fermentation technique that is made in the production of Champagne.”
Summer - 2017
Northern Ireland Update A report from the Northern Ireland CAMRA branch
Pub of the Year 2017 Congratulations to the winner ‘The Crown Bar’’, Great Victoria Street, Belfast – the famous Victorian Gin Palace! This annual award is keenly contested and being based on individual CAMRA members’ votes over the course of the past year it reflects the consistently high quality and selection of the cask conditioned beer on offer over the past 12 months. CAMRA (NI) AGM 2017 Held at The Errigle Inn, Ormeau Road, Belfast. CAMRA formed a new committee for 2017/2018 and Clive Talbot was elected as chairperson. Clive believes that great beer brings people together and that in the beer world there is little to be divisive about and a lot to celebrate! Licensing Reform The campaign continues! Whilst the Intoxicating Liquor (Breweries & Distilleries) Bill 2016 makes its way into law in the Republic, the suspension of the Assembly in Northern Ireland means that the proposals to allow NI breweries to sell at source, online and at farmers’ markets have stalled but there is still hope. CAMRA lobbied all the NI parties before the most recent election and has again received cross party support for this issue. We will continue to press the case for our brewers and cider producers! “The main battle we have at the minute is allowing Northern Irish breweries to sell from their premises and get licences to do events. The increased margin from direct sales will be the difference in maintaining the microbreweries in NI or them being decimated or worse!” – Knockout Brewery “Really the main issue for me is not being able to get a personal licence in Northern Ireland. I’d love to be able to take my beer down to local markets and sell there, and I’d love to be able to sell online. We are really disadvantaged here compared to the rest of the UK in that regard.” – Bull House Beer
CAMRA is also continuing to press for a guest beer policy. Many pubs are locked into contracts that restrict them from selling locally brewed beers. We would like to see the Northern Ireland Executive encourage global brewers to voluntarily allow pubs to offer a guest beer option in their contracts to ensure that local brewers have access to the market. 18th Belfast Beer & Cider Festival 2017 Weâ€™re delighted to announce preliminary details of our popular annual event which again will raise the profile of local brews as well as others from all around the British Isles. It would be great to see you there and to welcome you to Belfast! Date: Thursday 16 to Saturday 18 November 2017 Venue: The Ulster Hall, Bedford Street, Belfast. 100+ beers and ciders; pub games; music; food & great craic! Details will come online at www.belfastbeerfestival.co.uk
Summer - 2017
Promoting Beer Culture is Capital By Jan Lichota
Without being clearly defined, beer culture has become part of societyâ€™s life up to the point that it has been recognised by UNESCO. Combining local and continental perspective there are ways to further promote beer culture in the near future. Over the years, thinking about beer culture has surely been associated around the world with the act of drinking, and more recently perhaps with advertising. However, taking various aspects of beer presence in humanityâ€™s life shows us that it goes beyond drinking and extends to rituals, images and social well-being (or its lack). Beer culture: scaling-up the recognition While already outlined in various books, magazines, and articles, the beer culture has long standing traditions in human civilisation. Initially related to agriculture, later to urban development, beer has become a truly global beverage over centuries. Focusing on Europe, various regions have managed to develop a specific beer culture in different aspects of their society. Whether community life, food or art (ahhhâ€Ś those beautiful French or Italian ads from the early 20th century), beer has become intrinsic to the daily habits of different countries or localities. Thanks to emigration, Ireland and Bavaria managed to share and spread their beer traditions across the globe, due to their cultural influences.
Belgium and Czechia evolved into small beer kingdoms which gained prestige in the eyes of others and inspired them to follow a similar beer path in their own countries. It should be noted that Germany, Denmark and the United Kingdom have also done a lot to foster an institutionalised approach to beer culture. For instance, by creating parliamentary beer clubs. Nonetheless, a pinnacle was reached in 2016 when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognised Belgium’s beer culture as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Finally good news for all beer consumers, collectors, bartenders, brewers, glassmakers recognising their efforts in the capital mission of wisely drinking beer?
EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE
European capitals of Culture Established already some decades ago, the initiative for having European Capitals of Culture aims to show Europe’s cultural diversity and richness as well as enhance culture’s role in the city’s development. It also helps raise the city’s profile. It also helps to generate tourism. A programme is submitted four years before a city takes on its cultural capital role which allows it to build various partnerships in the culture-driven wider community. Depending on their local traditions and going beyond the proposed programme, few cities in the past have clearly positioned beer in their offer when being the European Capital of Culture. Continued... Summer - 2017
In 2015, Pilsen was able benefit from its long beer roots and the Belgian city of Mons developed a special beer. Mons also had joint projects with other cities around the world during their programme which highlighted local beers and related gastronomy. In 2016 San Sebastian and WrocĹ‚aw continued with some high points related to gastronomy. This was followed by some smaller events in 2018 by Dutch Leeuwarden and Maltese Valletta, and this theme will also be cherished in an innovative approach by the Italian city of Matera in 2019. However, if beer receives recognition at such high level, why has its presence has been so low in a key area like urban development and impact on culture? Galway on my mind? In 2020 Galway will be the Irish city filling its role as European Capital of Culture. Galway will be featured as a Food Capital of Europe. While all details are not yet available, the city has the potential to position beer in a sustainable manner and inspire all future cities in Europe to look for an interesting approach in terms of beer culture in the upcoming decade.
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Summer - 2017
Beer and Chocolate By Caroline Hennessy
It was a glass of Speight’s Porter and a chocolate mud cake that got me. I was at a Canterbury Brewery beer and food matching night in Christchurch, New Zealand about a dozen years ago. After a tour of the Lion Nathan-owned brewery - which has since been demolished as a result of the 2011 earthquake - we had a tasting of half a dozen different beers with food. Mac’s Gold and pizza were a pretty good match, Steinlager with local salami, cheese and olives was ok but, when we got to the porter and chocolate stage of the night, I had my “a-ha!” moment. Cocoa and coffee flavours in my glass played against the richness of the dense cake, the porter’s light carbonation and dry roasty finish priming my taste buds for each new mouthful. Beer and chocolate! Who would have thought? I was a convert. Not just a follower, but a loud-mouth evangelist, someone who started preaching the beer and chocolate gospel to anyone who would listen. For people who are unsure about putting beer and food together, my favourite trick is to introduce them to this darling duo. Everyone’s willing to try something that involves chocolate and it’s an easy, accessible pathway into a whole new world. One of the best things is seeing others have that lightbulb moment, whether it’s while pairing stout and chocolate at an eight course meal in West Cork, almost causing a riot with a freshly-baked triple batch of Double Chocolate Porter Brownies at Electric Picnic or simply getting a few beers together and trying them with different chocolates from Irish producers. It’s always fun and never fails to make an impact (especially if the person you’re trying to convince has one of those brownies in hand!) This pairing is best with beers from the dark and malty end of the spectrum. Stouts and porters are an easy win, brown ales and high ABV beers also work well, as does (almost!) anything that involves smoke, barrel aging or coffee. Barleywine’s caramel tones play with bitter chocolate, many beers involving fruit, like fruit lambics, complement dark chocolate while gose and other sour
beers can also offer an unexpectedly brilliant match, the salty and tart notes dancing lightly with sweet chocolate. Putting beer into your chocolate baking brings a whole new layer of flavour to the party. I’ve used porter or stout from practically every microbrewery in the country to make brownies and some of my favourites are Knockmealdown Irish Stout from Eight Degrees (developed this recipe with that beer in hand!), O’Hara’s Leann Folláin, Rascals Ginger Porter (with a 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger and some chopped crystalised ginger mixed through), Dark Arts Porter from Trouble Brewing, Kinnegar’s Yannaroddy Porter (scatter with a handful of toasted coconut flakes before baking), White Hag’s Black Boar or Westporter Stout from Mescan Brewery. Take a sniff and taste before you bake; if you like the beer in your glass, it’s going to work well in the recipe. And make sure you have an extra bottle on hand to taste with the results. You’re never going to have an easier - or more satisfying - pairing. It could just be the start of a beautiful beer and food friendship. Irish Stout Blackcurrant Cheesecake Brownies If I’m really showcasing the beer, then I make these brownies plain but it’s fun to add the dash of blackcurrant and a white head to gild the lily. Makes 30 large brownies.
Continued... Summer - 2017
Brownies 125g plain flour 50g cocoa 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 150g dark chocolate 175g butter 200g caster sugar 2 eggs 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 250ml stout
Cheesecake topping 250g mascarpone cheese 1 egg 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 50g caster sugar Dash of blackcurrant 100g good quality blackcurrant jam 2 tablespoons blackcurrant cordial
Preheat the oven to 180Â°C. Line a rectangular 39cm x 27cm x 3cm tin with greaseproof paper. - Make the cheesecake topping: whisk all the ingredients together until well mixed. - Make the dash of blackcurrant: using a hand held blender, blitz the jam and cordial together until smooth. - Make the brownies: whisk the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder together in a medium bowl. - Gently melt the chocolate and butter together in a large saucepan over a low heat. Take it off the cooker and add the sugar, whisking until smooth. Allow to cool slightly, then whisk in the eggs, vanilla, porter and, finally, the sifted dry ingredients until just blended. - Pour into the prepared tin â€“ this is a very runny mixture. Dot the cheesecake topping across the top and drizzle with the blackcurrant. Take a knife and swirl with abandon. - Bake for 23-25 minutes until set and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin then cut into 30 squares and store in an airtight tin.
Meet the Brewer: Ian Hamilton Reuben Gray talks to Ian from Sullivan’s Brewing Company
Ian Hamilton is the head brewer for Sullivan’s with many years of experience brewing around the world. He talks to Reuben about his experiences and future with Sullivan’s. 1. We know you are the former head brewer at Smithwick’s and have worked at Diageo plants around the world but how did you get started in brewing? Hi Reuben. I think it all began as a child, with the smell of hops and the sight of mysterious engines at Beamish & Crawford’s Brewery in Cork. Later I learned my grandfather was the judge at Smithwick’s malting barley competitions in the c.1930s. I applied to Guinness for a graduate role, in my final year studying Science at UCC, and my first production role was to learn floor malting at the Smithwick’s (but originally Sullivan’s) Maltings in Kilkenny. 2. You spent so much of your career brewing red ales like Smithwick’s and Kilkenny and now you find yourself brewing yet another red ale. Are you bored of the style? Or have you decided to perfect it with Sullivan’s? I am never bored with good beer. I actually spent about 16 years overseas, mainly in West Africa brewing strong stout and using local grains etc, and nearly as long brewing Budweiser, so I have been lucky. With Sullivan’s, the appeal was to create ale to my own recipe and taste - not a chance most brewers in “Big Beer” ever get! Continued... Summer - 2017
3. Did Sullivan’s produce other styles of beer back in the day and if so, do you plan on trying to recreate them or brewing different styles? Yes they did. So far we have found pointers to Sullivan’s Pale Ales, Stouts, and Hop Bitters. I have brewed some interesting beers at small scale (60L and 200L) inspired by these, and some will be available at our Kilkenny Tap Room in bottle from time to time. As regards more commercial brewing of new beers, wait and see! 4. Do you have access to any of the old Sullivan’s recipe books or brewery journals? Aha, that’d be telling! I find these older recipes need re-interpreting (i.e. they wouldn’t work today - technically or for most beer lovers). I find I must allow for modern qualities of malt, hops and the current state-of-the-art in brewing technology...to say nothing of public tastes. It’s an interesting challenge! 5. The Taproom has been open in Kilkenny for coming up on a year now and while you have your pilot kit onsite, you currently brew the beer at another brewery while awaiting your own. Do you have an idea when that’s likely to be? Great question. Sullivan’s commitment to build a commercial brewery in Kilkenny is very public and deliberately so. It is the main reason I have come out of a very happy and fulfilled retirement! I expect you’ll see physical progress on a site and brewery within 18mth to 2 years -dependant the growth in our sales. Our focus now is on building a great ale brand that will justify the multi-million euro investment our brewery calls for. Many other brewers have quietly relied on gypsy/3rd party brewing to build their business to a point that reassures investors; we have just been more open about that strategy!
Sullivan’s are very clear about the importance of paying meticulous attention to the details of ingredients and the brewing process. I oversee each brew currently with Boyne Brewhouse in Drogheda, who have excellent brewers & equipment, I work very closely with them and we are both learning a lot from each other. 6. And finally, your pilot kit in The Taproom looks ideal for amateur brewers to have some fun on. Would you consider holding homebrew quarterly competitions where the winner gets to brew their beer on the pilot kit which then goes on sale in The Taproom? I love that idea. We have spent time as a team to align on why we are reviving Sullivan’s - and a major driver (or “value” if you prefer) for us is “Community”. We have already done a number of collaborative brews with small scale / homebrewers - Hellfire Brew Club for example - and plan to do more as these homebrew clubs are a great source of talent and ideas. I am proud to say that a very successful home brewer, Eoin Layton, is a nephew of mine. Not that I can take any credit at all for his success! Editor’s note: Eoin Layton is an award winning homebrewer based in Cork. He recently won first place at the Beoir cider competition. Eoin joins with John Mangan at the Killarney Beer Festival each year to run all day brewing demos and homebrew tastings.
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Summer - 2017
Joe from The White Hag Brewing Company accepts the trophy for the inaugural Oliver Hughes Award for Best Brewery in 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 Patrickâ€™s weekend: The Irish Craft Beer & Whiskey Festival - RDS - Dublin May: Killarney Beer Festival - Kerry June: Bloom In The Park - Phoenix Park - Dublin July: Franciscan Well Cider Festival / Kilkenny Craft Beer Festival - Kilkenny August: Hilden Beer Festival - Hilden - Antrim / Doolin Craft Beer Festival - Doolin - Clare September: Irish Craft Beer & Cider Festival - RDS - Dublin Great Irish Beer Festival - Cork November: Belfast Beer festival - Belfast
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Summer - 2017
ENJOY WITH: 1. Friends 2. Lovers 3. Heroes 4. Card sharks 5. Colleagues 6. In-laws
TAKE IT WITH YOU... 1. On a picnic 2. Camping trip 3. Barbecue 4. House party 5. Bus tour 6. Waiting for a plane 7. Music festival 8. Watching movies 9. Poker tournament 10. Neighbourhood bonfire 11. Pub
Available from Galway Bay Brewery pubs and most good off-licences
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