Showing posts with label 9 White Deer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 9 White Deer. Show all posts

Thursday, April 20, 2017

BLAIRS INN OLD BUTTER ROADS FOOD TRAIL FESTIVAL

BLAIRS INN OLD BUTTER ROADS FOOD TRAIL LAUNCH

Duncan Blair has been on to tell us all about their plans for the launch:

> We'll have special Old Butter Road Trail dishes on our menus throughout the launch weekend (28th April to May 1st). We'll be serving artisanal Butter Road cocktails and craft beers throughout all weekend. On Bank Holiday Monday at 4pm we'll be putting on a cooking, craft cocktail and beer Demo in our garden. We be cooking up dishes and breads featuring the produce of the Butter Road.
>
> Hake on Waterfall Farm Kale with a caper Beurre blanc
> Confit of McCarthy's pork belly with a Gubbeen chorizo cassoulet
> Nine White Deer Stout glazed Macroom short rib of beef
> Stag Bán beer & lime sorbet with a Longueville Cider foam
> 60 second beer bread
> Cotton Ball Stout brownies
>
> Richie will be showing off his cocktail skills using our range of artisanal gins, vodkas & whiskeys.
>
> We'll be giving out samples of food and drink. We'll also be serving a special three course dinner featuring the dishes from the demo.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Excellent Evening Meal at The Commons Inn


Excellent Evening Meal at The Commons Inn
Steak
It was a busy night at the Commons Inn, some big groups (some local, some traveling) to be catered for but the pressure didn’t show in the restaurant which was an oasis of calm as we enjoyed an excellent meal indeed.


Canadian chef Arthur Van Leeuwen runs a fairly tight menu here - he doesn’t try to cover every single taste - and the concentration is on quality and it shows on the well presented plates. And the regular menu is supplemented by the specials. You’ll note these on the blackboard and, conveniently, there is also an insert in the menu itself. 

Locally sourced fresh ingredients are used here (Paul O'Connell for meats, Atlantis Seafood for fish, and AllFresh for veg are main suppliers) and local craft brewers such as Black’s and 9 White Deer are also supported.

Buffalo Wings (Niagara style from NY) and BBQ Slow Roasted Baby Back Ribs (with the chef's Bourbon sauce) are popular on the menu and, from previous experience, I know these two starters are excellent. This time though we went for something different.
Sea Bream

Local Craft
CL choose the Home-made Fish Cakes with Chilli Sauce and salad from the specials. And it was a real special. The cakes were packed with tasty fish and she reckoned they were the best fish cakes she has come across in a long time.

And it was all good at my side of the table as well as I tucked into the Cajun Chicken and Bacon Salad which was well presented in a “container” of cucumber strips. Both salads were excellent, the leaves as fresh as could be and well dressed.

Their Irish Hereford beef steaks are aged 35 days. The Commons over the years is well known too for excellent lamb and I was looking at that until I got a tip that rib-eye was on. The beef, on mashed potato, was superb, tender, full of flavour and served with sautéed mushrooms and onions, and crispy onion rings. There were vegetables, chips, and salad on the side as well, for sharing!
Fish Cakes
CL stayed with the specials for her mains: Pan-seared Bream with baby crushed potato and spring onion. The whole fish was on the bone and cooked to perfection. Other specials included the Jameson Sauce Commons Burger (as part of the Cork Whiskey festival) and Vegetarian Risotto. 

Regular House Favourites include Roast of the Day, Classic Chicken Maryland, Beer Battered Cod (with chips of course), Steak Sandwich, and Oriental Stir Fry.

It was early Saturday evening; the bar was busy, the restaurant was busy and so were the function rooms. This is a popular spot for locals and hotel residents, for drop-ins too. And the food, and the friendly service, is one of the major factors in keeping The Commons up there as it approaches its 30th anniversary.
Cajun Chicken & Bacon



Monday, February 27, 2017

5 Gluten Free Beers from 9 White Deer

5 Gluten Free Beers from 9 White Deer

Good news this week as Ballyvourney craft-brewers 9 White Deer launch Europe’s first full range of Gluten Free-Beer. The Stag Saor range features a Red Ale, a Pale Ale, an IPA, a Kölsch and a Stout.

So what’s a Kölsch? This is the beer of Cologne in Germany; Kölsch means “local to Cologne” (according to Beer FAQ) and the name is protected and that is why the Ballyvourney beer is labelled Kölsch style. Like its German inspiration, this Stag Saor light beer is cold lagered. With its gentle hops and malt character, it is easy-drinking, full flavoured with fruity hints and a crisp and lager style character.

I loved the Red Ale for its depth of flavour and texture and, with its likeness (in flavour) to stout. Good too with food. 

Like the others, their Pale Ale is vegan free and brewed with “love”. Easy to love too with its light body, aromas and moderate hop flavours. Lots of new age hops in the IPA. Hop usage is late in the boil so giving big flavours and aromas without major bitterness. Well balanced and quaffable.

The Saor Stout though is perhaps my favourite of the five. This is described as a double chocolate and Madagascan vanilla stout, rich and luxurious. You must try this chocolate “block” from the West Cork Gaeltacht; it is distinctive and delicious.

Don O'Leary
For a chance to meet the founders and sample the new Stag Saor gluten-free range, drop in to O’Brien’s Off Licence, Beacon South Quarter, Dublin on Thursday 2nd March between 12 noon and 8pm or Matson’s, Cooney's Lane, Grange, Douglas Co. Cork on Friday 3rd March between 12 noon and 8pm.

9 White Deer was founded in 2014 by former marine engineer, Gordon Lucey, and respected publican Don O’Leary (who runs the famous Mills Inn pub). The brewery initially offered a core range of four beers. Within the company’s first year, Don was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, which essentially determined the direction for the business.


Don O’Leary recalls: “At first the timing seemed terrible, we had just opened a craft brewery and I identified as gluten intolerant! However, the development of Stag Saor has changed everything for the business.  It prompted us to research the market and see how limited the beer offering is for those with gluten intolerance. There have been a very small number of gluten-free lagers and pale ales developed in Ireland over the last two years but, with options still very limited, we identified an opportunity to create a full range of gluten-free beers, which also taste really good,”.
  
Co-founder Gordon Lucey began brewing at home in 1999 and has since become a qualified brewer.  He said, “We are determined to lead the way in breaking new ground for brewing in Ireland. It was critical to us that our gluten-free range, not only met the gluten-free requirements but also tasted great. Each batch of the Stag Saor range is independently tested and certified to maintain its excellence and to ensure that it complies with EU regulations of less than 20ppm of gluten. We regularly get the certificates back with less than 5ppm.”
 
Brewer Gordon
9 White Deer launched its first gluten-free product, Saor, in 2015. It received a bronze medal in the 2016 Blas na hEireann awards following a blind taste testing where the judges did not know it was a gluten-free product.

Stag Saor is available nationwide from Classic Drinks and also in Dublin from CBG Wholesale. For a full list of stockists visit www.9whitedeer.ie.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Kinsale’s Supper Club. Good Food. Friendly.

Kinsale’s Supper Club
Good Food. Friendly Faces.
 Great to see the Supper Club up and running in Kinsale. It’s a friendly place with very good food too of course. And a terrific selection of cocktails. If you like your gins, they've more than a few here. 

They can take singles and couples and larger groups and, on fine days, they have an outdoor covered area available. And, at present, they are open seven days a week from 6.30pm.

You’ll notice on one of the blackboards that they support local producers and you’ll also notice a few specials boards around the place. Conveniently though, they have the specials listed on a page in the menu so you can spend a little time studying them. And the list, includes a highlighted pair of wines and also a special drink.



 So okay. I’ll admit I started with that night's special drink. Bertha’s Revenge Gin with Poachers Tonic (with rosemary and orange) and, to make the whole glass sing, a little sprig of rosemary and a slice of orange were added to make the perfect mix. There was also the option of taking the excellent Kalek vodka instead of the gin. Next time! So local gins and local beers and cider too. Most of the beers come in bottle but you may have the 9 White Deer beers, Stag Ban and Stag Rua, on draught.

And the food. As soon as you begin to read the menu, you'll note that quite a few dishes come in small and large sizes and that can be very convenient indeed.  CL choose the Duck Spring Roll, House Salad, Hoisin and orange sauce and was very pleased with it. And I was most impressed with my Herb Crumbed Egg, Asparagus, Smoked Bacon, Dijon Hollandaise. Very tasty indeed and that little bit different!


Onto the mains then and her pick was the pan-fried fillets of sole, chorizo, bean and tomato sauce and fondant potato, one of the evening's specials and a very special combination indeed.

My choice was from the regular menu and was Braised Beef Short Ribs with Sesame Crusted Sweet Potato, Pak Choi, Star Anise Jus. It wasn't on the bone by the way but a delight to dispatch. And one other tip, the sides here are brilliant and worth the few euro extra. I had the aubergine cassoulet, full of bright flavours and juicy to boot, a dish in itself and indeed a larger version features on the list.

Not that much room for dessert after all that so a decision was reached to share the Passionfruit and Lime Tart and its crème brûlée topping. The decision was amicable but we should really have had ordered two!

Service was excellent, not overly formal, nice and friendly yet efficient. And a discreet watch kept on the tables - your water was refilled promptly, the window was closed if you shivered (even before), they checked if a plate or drink wasn't going down well. So pro-active but not in an in-your-face way. So go in and enjoy yourself. You’ll feel very welcome here.
Some of you will be familiar with the Cork Street venue as this is where Crackpots were based.

The Supper Club
3 Cork Street, Kinsale, Co. Cork
Phone: +353 21 477 2847
email : thesupperclubkinsale@gmail.com
Twitter: @kinsalesupper

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hops and Glory at LITFEST16. Seven IPAs after breakfast.

Seven IPAs on a Sunday Morning
Hops and Glory at LITFEST 2016
Pete Brown
“Canning has moved on enormously,” declared beer expert Pete Brown as the Litfest 2016 beer tasting got underway in Ballymaloe last Sunday morning. “It's the freshest way to keep beer”. The session was named Hops and Glory, after one of Pete's books, and he was accompanied on the panel by Caroline Hennessy, co-author of Slainte.


Our first beer was a can of the Yankee White IPA by Rascal’s Brewing. Caroline was happy with this Belgian style IPA: “It’s a lovely food friendly beer, ..feels lighter than five per cent!” Pete says it is now a very popular style. “Every new brewery starts with an IPA”.

Worthington’s White Shield certainly got Pete going: “One of my five desert island beers...not a modern IPA but the only true survivor of the old style that was shipped on 6-month voyages to India and drank like mother’s milk…. This is very hoppy, also very malty, a wonderful balance...gets better with time”.
Caroline is part of the 8 Degrees Brewing Company and their Full Irish was next. She stressed the importance of local. They used local barley, malted in Togher (In Cork City). “It is a single malt beer and made to showcase the malt. First made in 2014, it was Beer of the Year in 2015”. Pete noted the hops on the nose, the good balance and equally good body.

Another can followed: the marvellous Ironmonger from Metalman, first launched in 2011. As readers of Slainte will know, Caroline regularly looks for the food angle and praised this as food friendly. “There is a huge change in restaurants,” she said, noting that local food is now being matched with local drink (including beers and spirits).

Pete again admired the body and said he hadn't come across Metalman before but had been enjoying it at the bar in the Big Shed next door. In general, he remarked that one of the best beer tastings you could have is a cheese matching: “Great fun with a small group! Just get a few beers and a few cheeses.” Caroline surprised him when she said she found Crozier Blue and the full Irish a very successful pairing.

Caroline
On to the next one: Black Lighting from 9 White Deer in West Cork, a style that they agreed involves some “messing with your head”. After all, IPAs are not meant to be black but both agreed it is a wonderful style, Caroline adding that it was a “very American style IPA”.

A little discussion on hops followed. Pete said the character changes from place to place, the influence of the terroir. Caroline advised trying some of the single hop beers available, a good way “to build your knowledge”.

Beer Number Six, the citrusy/grapefruity bottle-conditioned Boundary Pale Ale, came from a Northern Ireland cooperative brewery. Caroline has noted a rapid advance of craft beer in the area, and more: “I would recommend a visit to Belfast...good food and drink.”
Pete was on a cloud nine as we finished with Cloudwater DIPA v3, a special edition: “This is the most hyped beer, the most hyped brewery..the best brewery in Britain right now….so much juiciness, so much fruit character..all from the hops”.

This weighed in at 9% and Caroline explained how high ABVs can come about. “If you have lots of hops, you need lots of malt to balance. Malt means more sugar and that means higher ABV”.

So applause all round as our expert duo brought the curtain down on an entertaining and informative beer session.

See also, from LITFEST16:

Irish Craft Cider. A Litfest16 Event


Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Meatball Place. Tasty Spot in Carey’s Lane

The Meatball Place
Tasty Spot in Carey’s Lane
Get the ball rolling. Superb starters
The Meatball Place, up and running in Carey’s Lane since November last, has a different kind of menu. Here you choose how your main dish is “constructed”.

It is easy and well worthwhile. This is how it works. Pick your meatball (choose from five), then you pick your sauce (from six) and then your side (from eight). No shortage of variety. For instance, on recent visit I had Chicken (Chorizo & Chive) meatballs, a Classic Tomato Sugo, and Buttered greens. CL had Fish (Salmon, Hake & herbs), Pesto Salsa Verde, with Rustic Garlic & Rosemary Potatoes. By the way, all the Meatball mains are just a tenner.

A selection of starters, Meat & Cheese Boards, cannelloni, desserts, teas & coffees, craft beers, draught beers, and wines, complete the choice available.
Fish Balls
Grainne Holland is the chef/proprietor here but you’re more likely to meet fellow proprietor and Front of House Tony Costello. Tony and the staff are very helpful and, if you're wondering which of the gorgeous sauces to have with your Pork Meatballs, then they'll help you out, no problem.

The menu is quite simple really and you may check it all out here.

We got the ball rolling, to use their own phrase, by sharing a plate of starters. The combo of Buffalo Chicken Wings and Chicken Blasts will cost you €12.00; all the prices here are very reasonable.
Chicken Balls. Gorgeous sauce.
The board comes with a little garden salad and the Spicy Blasts are basically Filo Pastry Chicken Rolls, delicious and tasty. The wings are served with a pot of Cashel Blue cheese and celery sticks and are as good as you’ll get. You may buy these separately as well; all starters are €6.50.

Then we were on to the Meatballs: Beef, Chicken, Pork, Fish, and also a Yemeni style Balafel.

My chicken, detailed above, was spot on and a great match with the rich tomato sauce. Every little bit was finished off. And it was the same at the other side of the table with the Fish combination going down very well indeed. On the included side, a generous side, we had Buttered Greens and also Rustic Garlic & Rosemary Potatoes, all well cooked and all delicious.

Grainne serves up quite a variety here, aside from the Meatball combinations. You may have Meat and Cheese Boards, Soul Dishes that include a tempting Angus Beef Cannelloni. And do watch out for the specials. With a full bar licence, there’s no shortage of drinks to wash them down. I certainly enjoyed my bottle of Stag Rua from 9 White Deer in West Cork; their Stan Ban is also available. Good to see the local beers here. Indeed,  their produce is sourced locally.
The Meatball Place
8 Carey’s Lane, Cork
Mon-Sun 12.00pm - 10.00pm
(021) 239 0535
Twitter: @MeatballPlace
Wi-Fi available in restaurant.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Limerick’s Locke Bar. Food And Music Down By The River

Limerick’s Locke Bar
Lively, By The River
Crab claws

Limerick’s Locke Bar is so well located, just by the water on George's Quay. We were there a few weeks back and obviously the timber seats and tables on the river-banks were not in use. But you could easily imagine them full in summer with a string of boats tied up at the pontoon below. The bar, a large one, is also situated conveniently close to attractions such as the Hunt Museum and King John's Castle. And, in addition, it is well known for its food and music, not to mention the buzz.


That buzz hit us full on as we walked in the doors early on a Thursday evening. We were trying to get our bearings when a server spotted us and sorted us out. Soon we were seated in the small square restaurant, alongside the bar and facing part of the long counter.


She showed us the specials on the wall and soon we were ordering, sipping a deliciously zesty Deakin Estate Artisan's Blend Sauvignon Blanc Semillon (5.75 a glass) as we did so. My starter was the very enjoyable Dingle Bay Crab Claws with Chardonnay cream and Garlic Bread (10.50). I got through that pretty quickly while CL took a bit longer as she enjoyed her mussels from Castletownbere, served a la Mariniere (9.00).

Chicken (and Chardonnay)


We were tempted by the Pork and Salmon specials on the board but in the end settled for two off the regular menu. I was delighted with my the Supreme of Irish chicken with asparagus spears, gratin potatoes, bacon and mushroom cream (14.50). Excellent chicken with a rich and creamy sauce.The Tempura Fried Scampi (16.50) was not of quite the same standard, the tempura that bit much for the delicate fish.


We could also have had dishes such as the Beef and Locke Stout Casserole, Fish and Chips, Fish Pie and Burger. It is generally fairly typical well-priced well-cooked pub grub. Dessert was also an option but, after a good lunch at Sage earlier and a good feed here, we gave it a skip.

They serve their own stout and a very good selection of Irish craft beers including a few from Nine White Deer in West Cork. You often notice just one craft cider in Irish pubs but there were at least three here: Dan Kelly's, Craigie’s, and Longueville House. They specialise in whiskey too.

Benches on the bank


Locke's Bar is situated on the original site of one of Limerick's oldest pubs - they've been drinking here since 1724. It was cosy the other night, with the fires burning nicely. But it would be great to see it in its summer glory and maybe try that casserole with a pint of their own stout on the bench outside.


Whatever time you come, you'll get the buzz and the music. There is a session every night of the week and everyone is welcome. Will have to call back.


*In the Gents at the Locke Bar, they have a metal shield along the base of the pissoir to prevent you spraying your own shoes! I christened that the Parapee (based on the French parapluie!).
The Locke Bar
3 George’s Quay
Limerick
061-413733
Email: enquiries@lockebar.com


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Macroom’s Church Lane Restaurant. Blessed to have great food on the table

Macroom’s Church Lane Restaurant

Blessed to have great food on the table

Church Lane is a multi-room restaurant in the grounds of a church in Macroom. The building itself was originally used as the sextant’s lodge and later as a family home. Since 2012, sisters Laura and Cheryl have been feeding locals and visitors alike. Many of the visitors are travellers on the main Cork-Killarney road that runs alongside but quite a few now make a special trip as the restaurant is well known for its high quality.

We had enjoyed that quality via their super Tapas menu some time back but, on this occasion, we went for the a la carte. Reading the menu you notice that quite a few local producers are suppliers here and now they've added local craft beer brewers, including 9 White Deer, to their drinks options.

And this a heads-up for you. If you make it as far as dessert, then do please try the Tiramisu. It is one of the very best around, maybe the best! Unfortunately it is a special and you could be unlucky if it's not on!

There is a very good choice of starters. CL went for the House Salad and was delighted with the mix of sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, beetroot, Toonsbridge Mozzarella, pesto, and balsamic vinegar, all for €6.90.

And if she was happy I was even more so as I got a very pleasant surprise, both in its quantity and quality, with the Prawn Bruschetta (8.90), three pieces of gorgeous bread piled high with the prawns which had been pan-fried and were served with a dazzling garlic and cream sauce. An absolutely brilliant dish that also features in the Tapas menu.

My mains, though excellent, was almost mundane by comparison! But again it was perfectly cooked and delivered at the proper temperature and with a stylish presentation. This was the Pan-seared Lamb Cutlets with rosemary and garlic mash, fresh vegetables and a luxurious red wine jus!

The other mains was also dispatched with some gusto, this the award winning Skeaghanore Duck Breast on a bed of creamed spinach with potato gratin and wild berry reduction. Superb, as you’d expect and, of course, we had excellent side dishes as well.

Each of our mains cost €23.95. The amazing Tiramisu, that we shared, cost €5.75 as do all the desserts on offer. Had we known the Tiramisu was going to be so good, we’d have ordered two. Next time!
Top: Duck (left) and Lamb
Bottom: House Salad (left) and Prawns.



Monday, March 23, 2015

Beer Versus Wine

Beer Versus Wine
Colm v Caroline.
Scrumptious Blackpudding from Jack McCarthy.
Great flavours from the L'Atitude kitchen.

Lots of good humour and great drinks at the Beer v Wine Smackdown in L’Atitude last Thursday night where the protagonists were Caroline Hennessy and Colm McCan.


Caroline, co-author of the Irish beer bible Sláinte, made it clear at the outset that she was making the case for craft beer saying “the other beers have no flavours”. Her first beer, Black’s Kinsale Pale Ale, was a perfect example. “Hops are the spice of beer,” she said.


“Beer is just to wash away the dust”, joked Colm as he introduced his heavy hitting first, the Decanter Gold winning Wiston Rosé, an English Sparkling Wine, made in the South Downs by Limerick’s Dermot Sugrue. Both were matched with Hederman Smoked Mackerel with Rhubarb Compote from the L’Atitude kitchens.


Colm did admit he was a big fan of craft beer as he put a call, on speaker-phone, through to Dermot in the UK and they chatted about the huge honour received by Wiston when their wine, a twenty-bottle bottle of it, was chosen, instead of the traditional champagne, to launch the mega cruise liner Britannia.”Twenty minutes later the Queen was still saying wow”, referring to the pop (explosion!) when the Nebuchadnezzar made contact with the ship. See it here on video.


Ireland is fast becoming a big producer of all kinds of drinks, including spirits, and so Caroline decided to include cider as her second round choice. And the local cider she picked was the Stonewell medium dry, a great match with Jack McCarthy’s black-pudding and apples.

Colm said cider, in the way it is made, is the closest thing in Ireland to wine, “at the moment!” as he introduced his biodynamic 2012 Vinsobres from the Southern Rhone, “a winter-warming wine..with a natural acidity that should cut through the black pudding”.  It sure did and even won the round with “victory” in round one going to the Pale Ale.

And then we were on to round three where Double Chocolate Porter Brownies were paired with Knockmealdown Stout and Taylor’s 2008 LBV. The stout, with its traditional flavours, is by Eight Degrees where Caroline can't help but be involved considering that husband Scott is one of the two founders. The brewery, set up in 2011, has been going well ever since. She said the current craft beer wave is well underway thanks largely “to a tax break in 2005 by then finance minister Brian Cowan”. Eight Degrees are just about to start a “massive expansion”.

Chris Forbes of Taylor's was next the next speaker on Colm’s phone and he explained some of the terms used in the port industry including LBV (late bottled vintage, all from one year). “Slow aging,” he said, “helps maintain the flavours and the tannins. The beauty of Port is that it cannot be made anywhere else in the world, only in the Douro. “We use all kinds of traditional grape varieties here”. He mentioned the various Tourigas and Tintos but he said the really important thing for Taylors was not the individual varieties but the blend itself.
Contestants in round 2,
paired with the pudding.

That attention to detail was evident in the LBV as it held its own with the brownies. The Stout was an excellent match, not surprising since a generous amount went into the Brownie mix! Then we had the voting, via murmurs of approval. Caroline and Colm had a round each to their credit and the final matching ended in a draw and that meant honours were even overall.


The point of all this is that there are very good wines out there and, increasingly, very good Irish beers and ciders. And now, the Irish is taking its place alongside wine at the dinner table and in the restaurant.

Here's my recent example. I spent 24 hours in Kinsale on the weekend before last and enjoyed craft beer Malt Lane and in Monk’s Lane in Timoleague. Last Friday and Saturday, I was in Bantry and sampled craft beer in the Fish Kitchen, across the road in Ma Murphy’s, in the Maritime Hotel and, on the way home, they had a selection in Church Lane in Macroom. Don’t think that would have happened 12 months ago. Point made!

The next “match” between Caroline and Colm is likely to be at Savour Kilkenny in the autumn.