Yesterday O'Briens Wines in Naas held their annual craft beer fair where they invited along about a dozen breweries to chat and share a few beers with O'Briens customers. I only managed to make it down for the last hour but by all accounts it was a great success again.
In my short time there it was clear the day had been a success again. Had a good chat with Paddy from 12 Acres Brewing and had a sample of the Rye IPA. Having been a long time fan of their pale ale, I was happy when the Rye IPA also hit the mark. Quite bitter, about 68 IBU's if I remember what Paddy told me correctly and a nice spice too. Would definitely recommend. They are working on a few new recipes too so expect more from the Laois lads soon.
Brehon Brewhouse and Wicklow Brewery were side by side so I tried a couple from these next. The former has a seasonal IPA called Fiesta on the way in new smaller 330ml bottles. These weren't stocked for sale just yet but got to try one. Nice and citrusy summer beer, looking forward to trying more. They already have a stellar reputation particularly for their stouts, more good things to come from Brehon.
I hadn't realised Wicklow Weisse from Wicklow Brewery was in bottles yet. Great to see this alongside the fantastic Hop Knut and Gingerknut. As I said to Colm, it's great to see a range from Wicklow Brewery on the off license shelves. I was in the brewery in Redcross about a year ago and had the pleasure of tasting their range of quality beers. Glad to finally be able to get some from my local O'Briens.
Manor Brewery also from Wicklow were there with their flagship Mont lager as well as limited supply of a couple of festival specials.
Tall Poppy Syndrome was a bit sweet for my taste but the black lager was quite tasty, full of chocolate flavour. But the star from the brewery is the lager. Mont has undergone a revamp, not only from the bottles labels (which do look much better) but also tweaks to ensure a consistently clean, fresh lager. Being a big fan of hop forward beers, I tend not to drink a lot of lagers. But sometimes I get fatigued with hoppy beers and on those occasions I will be looking out for some Mont. Mike was telling me they are going to be available in handy 4 packs from this week too. More breweries need to start supplying 4 or 6 packs in my opinion.
Lastly, I had to try Hope Brewing's new summer session IPA. Lovely and light, tropically fruity IPA. Picked up a couple of bottles to bring home. Now just waiting for a nice hot day to crack these open... meant to be good this week, fingers crossed. Was kindly given a handy wallet sized bottle opener here too. Sound. Cheers guys
I hope more off-licences start to take a page out of O'Briens book for showcasing great Irish craft beer. Eugene, Cormac and all the staff in Naas have done a great job again. Roll on next year.
Cheers - TBH