Life, we’re de­lighted to re­port, is just one big beer fes­ti­val…

Hot Press - - Wildlife -

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

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