Showing posts with label Rising Sons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rising Sons. Show all posts

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Great Irish Beer Fest. Beer, Cider, Food, Music

Great Irish Beer Hall

Beer, Cider, Food, Music
Michael Cowan of award winning Mont
Headed to the City Hall at the weekend for the Great Irish beer Festival. Some twenty brewers were listed so that meant a huge choice. While each exhibitor displayed their menu, there was no overall list, such as you’d find at a wine-tasting. 

More difficult then to find a particular pathway through that amount of beer. Who had the sours? Who had the stouts? Did they bring them? Were all the recent award winners here?

It would have been made a little easier also if there was a measure smaller than the half-pint (€2.75). On the other hand, if you knew exactly what you wanted, all you needed to do was fill your glass (€5.50) to the pint mark!
Beer Hall!

I had targeted Sullivan’s from Kilkenny for my first call. That worked out well and there’ll be a separate post tomorrow on their lovely award winning red ale.

Indeed, there were award winners all over the hall, including local brewery Rising Sons who are having a great month: “August 2017 has been an incredible month for us, winning 5 Gold Medals at The World Beer Awards 2017.”

Not too far away in this bright room, with the tables and seats, was the Mont stall and they too were celebrating a World Beer Award as their lager was named the Country Winner (Ireland) for “Czech Style Pilsner Lager”. 

Michael Cowan of Manor Brewing (Wicklow) is the public face of Mont, Ireland’s “super-premium Pilsner lager”. They use pure Wicklow Mountain spring water, the finest barley malts, Hallertau, Saaz and Cascade hops.

Michael said they are a dedicated lager brewery. “With the very soft Wicklow water we have, our super-premium lager is better than the main stream piss and we are trying to improve lager’s image with a big concentration on packaging.”

Their Bohemian style Pilsner has “an Irish accent” and an ABV of 5.1%. You can quickly taste why it is picking up awards. There is quite a backbone to it, full of flavour and hop character and a superb dry finish, great balance all through. “Moreish” as they say themselves.

Just to compare, I took a token over to Eight Degrees - they were in the darkened room - and got a glass of their Barefoot Bohemian,  “an unorthodox lager with complex biscuity malt, soft rounded bitterness and a twist of spice from the noble Saaz and Hallertau hops.”  
This crisp and lovely Pilsner doesn't quite have the heft of the Mont but, at 4% ABV, is perfect for a session. And it has retained its popularity since the summer of 2012 when the Mitchelstown brewery introduced it as a seasonal beer. 

The Cotton Ball’s Indian Summer is another beer that has surprised its creators. This hybrid, “capturing the best of ale and lager” was supposed to be a seasonal but goes on and on.

After that we welcomed the Shoot the Breeze, a 4.5% ABV California Common, just introduced by the Franciscan Well. “This light hazy amber beer has a distinct fruit background as a result of our own unique twist!” I'm a big fan of the Well's core beers and the Chieftain, Friar Weisse and Rebel Red completed their line-up on the night.

Time now for stout, after all we are in Cork. And the Cotton Ball make a terrific stout, Lynch’s, in the traditional creamy style. But there’s no shortage of substance, coffee and caramel and a dry finalé, behind the silky smoothness. A pleasure indeed to sink one of these.

Two heads are better than one, according to Jameson, talking about their Caskmates, which has emerged from a collaboration between themselves and the Franciscan Well Brewery. 

First, the Well used whiskey casks to brew two beers,  Jameson Aged Stout launched in 2013 and Jameson Pale Ale launched in 2014. The stout-seasoned casks were then returned to Midleton and this whiskey is the result. It has worked well and Jameson are now engaged in similar ventures with some US breweries.

No alteration to the usual Jameson smoothness in Caskmates. Maybe there is a hint of hops there but, back in the dark room, I wasn't paying full attention as I sipped and chatted as the music played. It is a modern easy drinking fruity whisky with a long sweet finish. Quite a lovely finalé to my excellent evening in the City Hall. For the music fans, the night was only beginning, 

* My favourite beers, from the fraction that I sampled, were: the Mont Pilsner, Lynch’s Stout, and Sullivan’s Red Ale.

See also: An Ale of Two Families. Brewery Lost in a Bet.




Monday, July 10, 2017

Friday Night in Schull. L’Escale & Hackett’s Bar

Friday Night in Schull

L’Escale Hackett’s Bar
Lobster salad



We have ways of
making you walk!
It was time for a bite in Schull on Friday night (07.07.17). Not looking for dinner this time, just a tasty top-up. Hackett’s do evening meals but only “when it gets hectic”. It wasn't hectic enough yet apparently, though there was a crowd enjoying the sun and the drink on the pavement outside.

So we headed down to the nearby pier and the colourful L’Escale. It had been recommended to us. Just as well, as their website and Facebook pages aren't really up to date. Indeed, the website says call back to check their new 2015 summer menus.

Surprisingly that their social media is not up to speed as they use tech when you order. You are given a phone sized gadget that vibrates, bleeps and flashes when your order is ready. Efficient yes but don't think I'd like to see the practice spread, making another disconnect between the customer and the staff. Could there be a future message: Go to Hatch 57, your order is there; type in your code to access.

Despite the hi-tech bit, they don’t take credit cards. And neither does Casa Diego, the customer friendly tapas place on Main Street.
If you'd like to go face to face with the server and the cook, then this mobile
unit, parked on the Schull pier, has a tempting menu
L’Escale was busy. It always is. Fish and Chips and Pizza (may be ordered downstairs) are popular here and there are lots of families in. We went up the steps to place our order for a lobster salad (17.50) and received our gizmo which went ballistic a few minutes later. So I took my noise with me back up the steps; the guy there just nodded towards my tray (no words exchanged) and I took it to our outdoor seat which we had found ourselves. 

Door notice at Hackett's
You knew they wouldn't be around asking you if everything was okay. But it was. It was a perfect bite, just what the stomach required after a lovely lunch earlier in Gubbeen. L’Escale also have a wine list but we were happy enough with the water as we were heading to Hackett’s.

Rising Sons
 That crowd was still out in the street as we arrived at Hackett’s and we thought it would be packed inside. But, no. Hardly a soul there, at least until the music started.


It is a traditional pub, lots of old timber. Mainly the usual suspects too as regards draught so I was glad to see the familiar Rising Sons Brewery represented by their Indian Pale Ale and I enjoyed a couple of cool pints of that as the music speeded up and the sun sank slowly (I presume!) in the west.
All quiet at L'Escale on Sunday morning.
See also: Gubbeen Farm Visits. Cheese and charcuterie.

Tapas at Schull’s Casa Diego. And Farewell to lovely Stanley House


Monday, November 10, 2014

Electric Start to Beery Good Night

Electric Start to Beery Good Night
Fish Bar Specials
Mackerel, Bisque and Plaice
You’ve got to hand it to the team at Electric. They got a great idea when deciding to turn the upstairs outside deck into an indoor fish bar. It’s one thing getting the spark but another thing altogether to turn it into a working reality. But that’s just what has happened here. It makes for a lovely visit every single time and I certainly enjoyed my hour or two here last Friday evening.

The menu keeps changing but the cooking and presentation is always good, often excellent, and you just got to love the informal service, smiles, chats and effortlessly efficiency. We sipped a gorgeous José Pariente Reuda Verdejo (used to be the house wine at El Bulli’s) as we studied the specials list.

We each started with a bowl of Lobster Bisque, served with rouille croutons. The bisque was of excellent quality, full of flavours and quite warming on a rather cool evening. By the way, the Fish Bar, despite all those riverside windows, is obviously well insulated (as you’d expect from the Electric team!) and was comfortably warm on the night.

Next we had three dishes to share, each at nine euro. Two were from the specials list: Steamed Mussels (with beer, chilli and lemongrass) and Tandoori marinated plaice fillets (with cucumber, tomato and mint raita). The third, from the regular list, was: Smoked Mackerel and Cherry Tomato Gratin (with Hegarty’s Cheddar, scallions, panko crumb).

Mussels are mussels, some will say, but this was a different treatment. Not that different but the sauce was enough to give a lovely little spicy lift, so much so that it was finished off with the spoon provided! There was some suggestion that the mackerel dish was a little on the salty side but it didn’t bother me as I loved both the textures and the flavours.

There was agreement about the Tandoori plaice fillets, all happy with this delicate and delicious plateful. The mild spice enhanced the fish and indeed, the raita, though excellent, was hardly needed.
At the counter of the Rising Sons
So it was a couple of happy punters that stepped out onto the Mall on the way to checking out some craft beer. First stop was the busy Rising Sons Brewpub on the Coal Quay. I’m afraid to say the average age jumped a fair bit when we entered the big lively space. We got a seat at the counter and ordered a tasting tray each, three small glasses of different beers for four euro.

They have a huge range of craft beers, and others, on draught, but I was interested in their own brews. The three that I got, from the six they produce a few feet away, were their seasonal Porter, the Steeple Hemp amber ale and the Mi Daza stout. The lady serving us gave us lots of helpful information on the beers.

Must say that I'm a fan of the Mi Daza which I’ve tasted in its various forms over the last year or two. Basically, it is a creamy old style Cork stout, “brewed with a traditional rich roasted flavour and hints of dark chocolate, imparted by a four malt extract and thrice hopped, leading to a unique taste and drinking experience”. One to stick with.

The just released seasonal Porter was our first sip and it went down well. It is somewhat lighter in body and flavour compared to the stout but a very pleasant drink indeed. The Steeple Hemp amber ale more or less ambushed the palate with the first sup. “Lots of hops” the lady said and she was right. It’s got a big body too and should be great with food. By the way, the palate soon got used to the hops.

Must go back soon and try their other beers, especially that Handsum IPA. Wonder does it live up to its name?
The Brewery Mezzanine at the Cotton Ball
Lots of good ale around nowadays and one of my favourites is the Kerry Lane Pale Ale available on draught at the Cotton Ball, our final halt of the evening. Started off here with their seasonal, the Indian Summer, which has enjoyed a long run this year. But I finished with the Kerry Lane and the pint just confirmed my already high opinion.

Actually, wouldn't it be great to see a tasting of the Kerry Lane, the Handsum and the Franciscan Well’s Chieftain in the one place? Are they all on tap in any one pub?