Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Brewing it up in Ballyferriter

Brewing it up in Ballyferriter

The English tourist could hardly believe his eyes as he drove through Ballyferriter. Bric’s Brew Pub, the sign said. He jammed on the brakes and spent a few happy hours sipping the products of the West Kerry Brewery (Beoir Chorca Dhuibhne). 

My arrival there last weekend was nowhere near as dramatic. I had been looking for the pub, Tigh Bhric, and already knew of its top notch products.

We had met proprietors Paul and Adrienne at the Munster Tweet-up in Blair’s and had already sampled some of their porter which, like the other drinks, is available in Bradley’s, North Main Street.

The summer season is a busy one here in beautiful Ballyferriter and then the crowds start to taper off so it was quite slack on the second Saturday of November. Paul started up the fire and we had a chat and a drink, choosing to go for the Béal Bán, available on draught.

I had already tasted this in Blair’s. It is light and refreshing golden ale with a slight malty sweetness and a bitter finish, imparted by a generous helping of hops. Indeed, one could see why the English aficionado would feel at home here.

Paul was soon joined by Adrienne, the brewer, and they told us that they use water from their own well to brew the beers, both cask and bottled. The Malt is predominantly Irish and the beers are brewed naturally, with no additives or preservatives.

Carraig Dubh is perhaps the best known of the three main beers and one that I certainly enjoy. It is a traditional porter, rich and dark in flavour with plenty of roasted malt giving hints of coffee, vanilla and dark chocolate. A really rich and smooth drink, well worth a try.

Must admit to a liking also for the Béal Bán but I must yet sample the Dark Red Ale, the Cúl Dorcha. This, according to the brewery tasting notes, which are very accurate as regards the other two, is soft and mellow on the palate with a fruitiness suggesting forest berries.

Might have to stay overnight the next time and do a proper tasting of all the beers. And that would be no hardship either as Tig Bhric provides visitors and locals alike with a wide range of services. “From select accommodation to fine food, traditional and contemporary music, and a unique bar with an emphasis on the arts, we offer our customers a service in an authentic setting.” 

“Situated in the middle of some of the most spectacular scenery in Ireland, visitors are afforded the opportunity to experience both the landscape, local culture and the numerous activities available within a short distance of our establishment.”

The West Kerry Brewery  itself is a partnership between two pubs with a history of friendship. About four years ago, Tigh Bhric and Tigh Uí Catháin recognised the need to provide their customers with a local brew. They now know that it goes down a treat also with the many visitors to the lovely area. Including this one!

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