Through the looking glass at Alltech Craft Brews & Food Festival

Since its inception, I’ve attended Alltech Craft Brews & Food festival as a blogger bar one year. It has continued to grow from strength to strength, alongside the Dublin Craft Beer cup. It’s an event that recently deceased Alltech founder, Pearse Lyons was incredibly proud of. And rightly so. This year was bigger, louder & even more energetic than previous years. But this year, I wouldn’t be wandering around the Dublin Convention Center as a blogger. This time, I’d be the otherwise of a bar at the event in my role as Irish brand ambassador for Scottish brewery, BrewDog. This blog post is my journey through the looking glass at this event.

Is Alcohol-Free The Next Big Thing for #CraftBeer?

2017 was the year of the murkbeer, much to my chagrin. But, I think this year may be the very year non-alcoholic (NA) beers from craft producers will appear in larger numbers. The signs are there. Diageo/Guinness releasing ‘Pure Brew’ may prove to be the tipping point for craft brewers to try take their ability to really innovate on flavour into this space that atypically is bland, uninteresting & often utterly dissatisfying.

Golden Pint Awards 2017

It’s that time of the bastardin’ year again when after many IPA’s, stouts, Imperial beers, sours & every special-batch-infused-with-something comes about & beer writers/bloggers/podcasters/video makers hand out their favorite imaginary award for ‘Best of the year’ in a flurry of aplomb, praise & thankfulness. And, will be no different; hop torpedo’d on top of that bandwagon, riding it til the wheels fall off.

All hail the ‘go-to’ beers.

Craft beer drinkers are one of the single most spoiled consumer groups out there in Ireland right now. We’ve new beers appearing at what feels like every week that we can try, discuss, cogitate, digest & ruminate on. You’d be forgiven for thinking that craft brewers get arough deal in this, but every craft beer drinker I know has ‘go-to’ beers. Including this hopped up, opinionated assjockey of a beer blogger. 

Beer ratings? We need to talk.

Beer ratings. Whether it’s RateBeer, Untappd, BeerAdvocate or the ratings given by beer journos or bloggers/podcasters, Beer Ratings I think today are now due a proper discussion. A come-to-jesus-meeting type discussion.

My 20 most important #craftbeers

I was recently reading a blogpost by a long standing follower of mine going way back to my podcast days, Myles Lambert which was titled ’20 Most Important Craft Beers…. on my journey.’ Over 2,000 different beers later, it got me thinking hard about my own journey through craft beer which really only started in 2001 despite growing up in a house where homebrewing was done regularily. And these when I think about it, are the 20 craft beers that even today are firm favorites that have influenced my tastes even now.

Irish Craft Beer: A New Hope.

With the new bill to allow craft breweries & distillers to sell their own produce on-site without acquiring a bar license a mere handful of bureaucratic footsteps away, & in sight breweries like Hope Beer in Kilbarrick in Howth, County Dublin are excited & already in the process of putting together their taproom to complete theirpiece of the puzzle like so many other craft brewers in Ireland. So, I took this opportunity to take a visit to see Hope’s brewery, check out the taproom & catch up with my old drinking buddy, their headbrewer Mark Nixon.

Hazy murkbeers? I’m so over it already.

Murkbombs. Pint o’Murk. New England IPA. NEIPA. Murkbier. Cloudybeer. Whatever you wanna call it, New England style IPA’s are popping up everywhere. If you’re a brewer, you want a piece of the sales action on this style right now. And if you are already as a brewer, kudos to you. It’s good for business. But, I’m just not down with the haze-craze. I was over it before it even began.

We all live in a yellow … belly?

One of the great things about being a beer enthusiast is how easy it is to visit independent micro breweries at your leisure on your own country. It’s a heck of alot easier than wine afficianados, who unless they live in a wine producing country, they’ve a fair amount of travel. There are many reasons I like visiting breweries, & believe it or not, tasting beers for me is actually not anywhere near the top of the reasons on my list. Meeting/catching up with the people at breweries is the single best part of those reasons to visit for me. On a miserable day in the usually sunny south east, I took a trip to Wexico City to visit Yellowbelly.

How arms across the Atlantic could start the REAL beer revolution.

It is no secret of my love of the craft beer revolution in the U.S.. Inthe past I’ve been rightfully accused of being harsh with Irish craft brewers for being too placid about macros coming in to eat their lunch before they’ve even finished making it. Irish Craft Brewers in the last two years have in my mind made the fastest global jump in quality & ingenuity of any craft beer scene. And I’ve made no secret either of both my admiration & my happiness. But, this week pride was added to that list. We (Ireland), beat the Americans to the chase. And that I believe now provides a unique opportunity to take the fight to macro on a scale never before seen in craft beer.