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The Ir­ish love of craft beer con­tin­ues un­abated. In­cred­i­ble brew­ing com­pa­nies are pop­ping up all over the coun­try. That seems un­likely to change soon. What’s more, IT Carlow re­cently launched a Bach­e­lor’s de­gree pro­gramme in brew­ing and dis­till­ing. While there is noth­ing wrong in grab­bing a six-pack of one of the big lager brands, it’s a good time to be a bit more ad­ven­tur­ous with your drinks — especially if you’re hav­ing guests around.

Over the past six months, with its BeKreativ project, Beck’s has re-es­tab­lished it­self as a drink with real hip­ster cache. Beck’s is from one of the great beer-pro­duc­ing coun­tries, Ger­many. And, for good reason, Beck’s has con­sis­tently been among the win­ners, at the World Beer Awards, tak­ing Gold Medals in 2016 for Ger­many’s Best Am­ber Pale Ale and for Ger­many’s No Al­co­hol Lager, as well as a bunch of sil­vers and bronzes. And they also took Gold for Design, for their Beck’s Pils bot­tle and la­bel. So, if you want to go for a well-known brand, and your beer to both look and taste good, Beck’s ticks all the boxes. In­deed you might even turn the party into a BeKreativ oc­ca­sion and get peo­ple dress­ing up and tak­ing pic­tures on the night.

If you want to go for some­thing Ir­ish, most de­cent off-li­censes and lots of su­per­mar­kets will stock a range of Ir­ish craft beers, particularly the bet­ter known ones such as the range from Trou­ble Brew­ing, O’Hara’s 8 De­grees and Fran­cis­can Well. In­deed Fran­cis­can Well have won a whop­ping 29 awards at the World Beer Awards, since 2013 – in­clud­ing Best Pale Ale for its Sum­mer Sai­son this year. The award-gob­bling Cork brew­ery also made its Chief­tain, Rebel Red and Frian Weisse beers avail­able in 330ml cans this year, which is a bonus for par­ties in that cans are far more eas­ily dis­pos­able (and lighter!) than bot­tles. Oh, and Rebel Red is Ire­land’s No.1 craft beer – so you can’t go far wrong there!

Other beers worth con­sid­er­ing for the Christ­mas sea­son in­clude The White Hag’s Yule Win­ter Ale Hol­i­day Spiced Ale and Fran­cis­can Well’s Cof­fee Porter as well as their Jame­son Pale Ale, which is aged in Jame­son casks.

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