THE SECRET’S OUT!
Life, we’re delighted to report, is just one big beer festival…
If it’s a boutique St. Patrick’s Weekend beer festival you’re after, look no further than March 16-18’s
Secret Sessions, which are taking place in the Dublin RDS Main Hall.
Taking its cue from the likes of Castlepalooza and Body & Soul, the quality brews and spirits – 5 Lamps, Bushmills, Trouble, Wicklow Brewing, Mont, Irishtown, Crean’s, White Hag/Grand Cru, Long Meadow Cider, O’Hara’s, Falling Apple, Craigie’s Cider, WineOnline and Blackwater Distillery have all signed-up - will be accompanied by cocktails, gourmet food, masterclasses, a gaming zone, a barbershop, a seriously big screen for Saturday’s Ireland vs. England Six Nations tussle and lashings and lashings of rock ‘n’ roll from the likes of Skatuesques, Sack, The Frank & Walters and some of the top Madchester tribute acts.
Meanwhile, an exceedingly good time was had by all last week at the Alltech Craft Brews &
Food Fair in Dublin’s Convention Centre.
Team Hop Press were delighted to make the acquaintance of the Lough Gill Brewing Company who’ve been causing quite a star with their 5.5% Heinoweiser Session IPA. Based in Cleveragh, County Sligo, their American brewmaster, Tony Wickham, has also conjured up a wonderful 5.5% Mac Nutty Brown Ale using macadamias and an Imperial Oatmeal Coffee Cream Stout, which weighs in at a muscular 11%.
Lough Gill, who run Wednesday and Saturday brewery tours, are urging beer fans to ask their local TDs to co-sponsor the Intoxicating Liquor (Breweries & Distilleries) Bill 2016, which would allow crafty types like them to sell direct to the public.
We also spent a very pleasant half-hour sampling the 4.2% Dark Matter Session Stout, 4.3% Sonic California Common Lager and 5% Garage Days American Pale Ale, which mark Oughterard,
County Galway’s Wild Bat Beer out as real contenders. As you may have twigged, the guys are big metal and SoCal punk fans who sponsor their local rugby club and had the jerseys with them to prove it.
Sticking with the start-ups and we’re pleased to give a double Macca-style thumbs up to the 4.5% Inchydoney Blond, 5.5% Tojo American
Pale Ale and 6% Smuggler Irish Porter from the
Clonanakilty Brewing Company, which are the first beers to be produced locally since the 1940s.
Elsewhere, our tastebuds were also comprehensively tantalised by the White Hag’s
6.5% Coffee Nitro Stout; Hope and YellowBelly’s collaborative 8.8% Unto The Breach Pineapple
IPA, and the 3.5% Unfiltered Session IPA from St.
Austell, another rock ‘n’ roll-minded brewery from Cornwall who were on a bit of an Irish fact-finding mission. We trust they liked what they found!
Brew kids on the block and (above) The Frank & Walters