Showing posts with label Dungarvan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dungarvan. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #49. Craft with Hope, Western Herd and Dungarvan Brewing

CorkBillyBeers #49

Craft with Hope, Western Herd and Dungarvan Brewing


Hope Pass If You Can Pale Ale, 4.6% ABV, 440 ml can Dunnes Stores

A great all-rounder

A classic Pale Ale in the American style, synonymous with the current worldwide craft beer explosion since the 1980s. It is an easy-drinking beer, with a clear hop character, but not as hoppy or indeed as bitter as an IPA.

That’s the brewery’s summing up of their Pass Oif YouCan Pale Ale.

It has a lovely gold colour, a hazy one but not enough to hide the fountains of bubbles rising towards the big soft white head. The fruity character of the hops comes through in the aromas. And also on the palate. Not overly fruity mind you nor overly bitter either. The well-judged harmony between the fruity hop flavours and the medley of Irish and European malts defines the beer.

Hope is quite happy with it. “An easy drinking malty and slightly fruity pale ale with a subtle hop kick. A great all-rounder that combines well with most main dishes, such as chicken or prawns, BBQs and pizza.”

I’m also very happy with it. Very Highly Recommended.

The Ale is named after Michael Collier, a notorious 19th-century highwayman who was North County Dublin’s answer to Robin Hood. He was so successful that his townland was dubbed Passifyoucan. Finally arrested in 1807 in his favourite haunt The Cock, he was transported and returned home only to die of cholera! Still, the name remains.

Geek Bits

Hops: Magnum, Mosaic, Citra,

Yeast: US-05

Malts: Pale Ale, CaraHell, Munich, Acidulated.

Core Range: Yes

Bought 20.09.23.

BBD 27.10.23


Western Herd Islander Session IPA 4.2% ABV, 440 ml can No 21 Midleton

“Inspired by the hazy, juicy beers made famous by Vermont brewers, this is Islander. Embrace the haze.”

That’s the intro to this session beer by Count Clare brewery Western Herd, which stands on a picturesque hilltop farm in a converted shed built over 80 years ago by “our great-grandfather”. The grandchildren, siblings Michael Eustace and Maeve Sheridan, founded the brewery and it was then “found” in 2018 by Montana-born Bridger Kelleher and he “kept turning up” and eventually took over as brewer.

The Islander has a hazy light orange colour with a fluffy white head that stays around for a spell. Aromas are mild, tropical and ripe. On the palate, the beer is soft with citrus and melon showing. The producers indicate that the intention is “to provide a hop burst of flavour that is easy to drink and won’t weigh you down”. Reckon they have succeeded here.

Highly Recommended. The Best Before date had not expired here but there were just a few days to go. 

Geek Bits

Session IPA

Golden, hazy, juicy

Amarillo, Citra, Simcoe

Pale, Stout Mix, Malted Oats, Flaked Oats, White Wheat, Torrified Wheat, CaraPils


Original Gravity



Hope Handsome Jack IPA, 6.6% ABV, 440 ml can Dunnes Stores

Citrusy - malty - bitter. A full-flavoured citrusy and double dry hopped IPA. Great with burgers and pizza.

That’s the brief intro to Handsome Jack by brewers Hope.

This golden beer, with a soft white head, is a little on the hazy side. There’s a supple hint of orange in the aromas but the sweet malt is also holding its own here. And that duel continues on the palate with juicy citrus coming to a duet that also involves the sweetness of the Irish Pale malt. In the end, it's all square between the bitterness of the hops and the mildness of the malt. No losers here of course and the punters are the winners with another excellent beer from Hope who indicates that it pairs well with burgers and roast meat, pizza, Indian dishes, strong, salty cheese and carrot cake.


And who was Handsome Jack? Jack Criss, the 17th-century Irish pirate, was tall and handsome with blonde hair and eyes as green as the sea. He set sail from Ireland, plundering his way to Spain and Italy. He didn’t die in battle but someone got cross with Criss and stabbed him to death in a Naples hotel. Probably one of his four wives. Some bachelor!

Highly Recommended. The beer that is, not the pirate!

Geek Bits

Hops: Magnum, Cascade, Sorachi Ace, Simcoe, Citra

Yeast: American Ale

Malts: Minch Hook Head Ale, Weyermann CaraMunich II, Weyermann CaraPils, Weyermann Acidulated

EBU 49

Bought 20.09.23.

BBD 25.04.24

Core Range: Yes


Dungarvan Mahon Falls Rye Pale Ale, 5.1% ABV, 440 ml can No 21 Midleton

Dungarvan is a family-run independent microbrewery in Dungarvan with over a decade of brewing experience and this is one of their regular seasonal beers, appearing annually in the springtime.

The colour is a murky orange/red with a soft white head that hangs about a bit. Aromas are a bit on the punchy side, with the rye leading the attack, the hops bringing the fruit posse onto the palate before a moderately bitter finish with the spicy rye always a player in the background though it is more hoppy bitter overall than malty sweet.

Highly Recommended. Not bad for a beer that was disappointingly almost six months past its Best Before date.

Food Pairings: This full-flavoured punchy fruity ale works great with lighter-flavoured foods like chicken, pork and fish or even with salad dishes. The brewery also says that the fruitiness of this Mahon Falls works really well with the tang of a Wensleydale or Caerphilly-style cheese. Try Knockdrinna‘s Laviston or The Little Milk Company‘s Brewer’s Gold.

Geek Bits

Style: Rye Pale Ale

ABV: 5.1%

Malts: Malted Rye (Pale, Cara)

Hops: Galaxy, Summit, Ella

IBUs: 50

Allergens: Contains barley.

Calories: 230 per 500ml

Serve: 8-12°C

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Dungarvan's Cheerful Shamrock Restaurant

 Dungarvan's Cheerful Shamrock Restaurant

Where everybody knows your name

And they're always glad you came

You wanna go where people know

People are all the same

You wanna go where everybody knows your name

I was reminded of these words from the theme song of Cheers (the well-loved TV series) when listening to the conversations at the Shamrock Restaurant in Dungarvan on a recent evening. The restaurant is as well up in the popularity stakes as Cheers having been serving the good people of the town, and their visitors, for over 40 years.

Just to be clear. They didn't know my name. I was a blow-in and now could well blow-in again, such was the quality of the food, well-cooked well priced too, the buzz of conviviality. Incoming customers greeted by name by the staff, these customers greeting diners already at table as they passed in and passed out.

By the way, they also have rooms upstairs and these have been described as a great addition to Dungarvan by one of the town’s leading people (who is in the same business). I reckon it would be great to stay there, so central and no doubt friendly. Next time!


Anyhow, we were there for our evening meal. We knew the menu, more or less. Shamrock use social media but in a targeted way. Every day the menu goes up.You wonder why, as there seems no change, at first glance. But a more careful look reveals a few changes, always a few. After all, variety is the spice of life.

And I got a little spice, just a little in my starter, a delicious threesome of well packed Spring Rolls with accompanying salad. Notice that I said threesome; you usually get two but here it was three for just 8 euro.

Happy with the starter and very happy indeed with my mains: an 8 oz Striploin Steak Sandwich (€15) in a garlic ciabatta with caramelised onions, fresh rocket and chips. Meat was as tender and flavoursome as could be, cooked to medium as requested, and the garlic, the onions and salad all top notch as were the fries. Even better when washed down with a bottle of 9 White Deer Kolsch (6.00), a craft beer from the Ballyvourney brewer. Steak and beer both highly recommended.


And good vibes too from the other side of the table where CL was tucking into her Roast stuffed breast of chicken (€12.00) served with broccoli and root vegetables (the veg well cooked, neither too hard nor too soft), mashed potatoes and a generous pour of gravy, this was very satisfactory plateful indeed.

We were so well fed, we declined desserts even though they were just a fiver each and included Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake, Bakewell Tart, Carrot Cake (gluten free), Sticky Toffee Pudding (qluten free), Chocolate & Orange Cake, Apple Tart, Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble, Apple and Strawberry Crumble.

And more (including specials at weekends), and all served with cream, Ice-cream or custard.

On this trip

Mount Congreve, Kilmeaden

The Local, Dungarvan

The Baker's Table of Lismore

Vinilo, Lismore

Marvellous Sunny Morning On The Vee (Waterford/Tipperary)

360 Town Stay, Dungarvan

The Shamrock

Seafood Delights at Cliff House Hotel Festival Lunch

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Chef Paul Flynn’s Signature Dish is Mrs Beaton’s Crab Crème Brûlée. It’s a good one!

Chef Paul Flynn’s Signature Dish is Mrs Beaton’s Crab Crème Brûlée.

It’s a good one!

“This will be on my headstone.”

So declared celebrity chef Paul Flynn as he introduced his “Crab Crème brûlée” dish on a February TV show (RTE Today). 

Forgot all about it until I sat down to dinner last week at Flynn’s usual base, The Tannery Restaurant, in Dungarvan. Got a lovely warm welcome and were soon seated upstairs. Friendly and efficient staff from start to finish. The Tannery is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year so well done to Paul and Máire who have made it in a destination restaurant.

The first thing I spotted on the menu was, of course, Crab Crème Brûlée, with pickled cucumber and cornerstone toast. Flynn spotted it a long time ago, in his days before the Tannery. He was then working at Dublin’s La Stampa and, during an idle moment, he was flicking through the 1861 edition of Mrs Beaton’s Cookbook and found this dish, a dish that, after seem tweaking and a change or two, has become his signature dish and one that is a permanent feature in Dungarvan.


After some delicious breads, CL made her starter choice and it certainly lived up to its billing. Just perfect as the crab, from the amazing Copper Coast, shines with its subtle accompaniments, a delicious and well balanced plateful. And an excellent starter.

I wasn’t a bit jealous though! My starter was also superb. It was called: Brioche bun, Coolea Custard, caramelised shallot. Wasn’t too sure what to expect but that cheesy custard was outstanding and in such magnificent combination with the shallots, all in step with the bun. Must be one of the best starters I’ve come across in a long while. Oh, by the way, I did get a few tastes of the crab and of course returned the flavour!.

Coolea custard in Brioche

Well if the starters were top class, our mains were well up the rankings as well. My choice was the Quail schnitzel, green peppercorn and wild garlic butter, seasonal vegetables. Needless to say, the schnitzel was spot-on but it was the butter that really elevated this to a celestial taste of culinary paradise. I reckon Adam’s better half would have tossed the apple has this set in front of her.

CL was more or less humming away as she enjoyed her Roast monkfish on the bone, Bouillabaisse sauce, fennel, wild garlic gremolata. Another well judged and expertly executed dish from the Tannery kitchen, every little bit playing an important role.  


They offer quite a drinks list here, including a full set of the excellent Dungarvan Brewery beers (in bottle). No shortage of cocktails either. We settled on the Domaine de Felines Jourdan, Picpoul de Pinet, as our wine. Great with fish but fresh and fruity and with no shortage of depth (after ten weeks on its lees), it paired quite well with the quail as well.  We finished off with Lemon Meringue, Velvet Cloud Yogurt sorbet and, for me, the Rhubarb “Baba”, mascarpone cream, ginger and almonds.

We stayed overnight in the comfortable Tannery Townhouse (around the corner from the restaurant) and were soon back for breakfast. The Full Irish featured of course but I was quite happy with the Baked Eggs (Nduja, tomatoes, cream and parmesan).

That gave me fuel enough to march into the Comeraghs for a stunning visit to the Mahon Falls. It was a magnificent blue sky morning, if very very cold. On the previous day, we took up an invite to visit a local cidery (Legacy) and then took in a stretch of the popular Copper Coast between Annestown and Bunmahon. 

After that, it was time for a pint and where better than at Merrys (just a few yards from the Tannery). Here I enjoyed some draught Wicklow Ale as we sat and relaxed, looking forward to Paul’s Crab Crème brûlée.

Also on this trip:

Monday, March 7, 2022

Legacy Cider. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! A Quart of Ale± #96

Legacy Cider. 

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

A Quart of Ale± #96

There’s going to be some top notch cider coming your way in Legacy bottles soon. On a visit to the Dungarvan based cidery last week, I got a hint of what is around the corner thanks to owner Liam McDonell. 

And there’s a lot of it here, so no worries about supplies. Some 80,000 litres slowly working its way towards maturity (it takes 6 to 9 months) and more in casks, bottles and other containers that pack the floor of the facility.

The original legacy.

“Since you’re here, why not try some straight from than tank," offered Liam. He explained that they do single variety fermentation here with the blending coming at the end, after much sampling of course!

The Michelin variety is common in cider production and we headed to that tank first. It is a medium bittersweet cider with soft tannins. A few sips and we could see that, while very dry at present (all cider apples are dry), it is, in Liam’s words, “coming along nicely”.

Pat and Liam

Next up was a tank of Elstar and John O’Gold. This was lighter in colour than the Michelin with its characteristic pear drop showing well. Dabinett, another well-known cider apple (which also produces a bittersweet juice), was also true to character. Bramley is well known to cooks and usually eaten cooked due to its sourness and that went down well with CL, much to Liam’s surprise.

He is obviously looking ahead to getting all this liquid bottled and on the way to a wide spread of customers. He’a also looking forward to their cooperation with Cape Clear Distillery who have provided Legacy with some barrels, previously used for gin and for white wine. And they also have some barrel aged cider on the way; the process is quite well advanced and should be ready before the end of the year, certainly for Christmas. Also on the schedule for Christmas and before is an Apple Wine (using those wine barrels from Cape Clear!); it will come in a 750ml bottle.

There be good things here! Patience required.

And what was Liam doing when we arrived? Why, beginning work on their mulled cider for next Christmas. The 2021 edition went down very well but, as they started it in the autumn, the production coincided with their busiest time of the year and caused something of a bottleneck in the premises (which is big but not that big!). It is blended with award-winning Legacy Irish Cider and spiced with winter warming spices including cloves, nutmeg, star anise, cinnamon and more; a heart-warming drink to enjoy with friends and family. By the way, the spent spice mix finds its way to restaurants and into some tasty dishes!

Keep an eye out
 for this later
in the year!
While Legacy Cider is a relative new company, having been started in April 2016, apples have been very much in the McDonell family for at least three generations. Liam's grandfather was one of a number of locals encouraged by the government of the day to grow apples, And there was an apple market right where we were in Dungarvan. Indeed, Liam still uses some small wooden crates in which his grandfather stored and transported the apples. The venture eventually petered out as the group, with no value added, weren’t getting reward enough for their produce.

But the seed had been sown and Liam’s dad Pat took a different route. “My Dad became passionate in apple tree growing, achieved a PhD in the subject and developed his own miniature apple tree!" Pat still runs his own company and is “the chief advisor" at Legacy. As Liam said:  “He’s a wise old sage with over 40 years of experience.” 

No wonder Liam went into apples, eventually going on to found the well-named Legacy. The Legacy Dry was their original cider. Liam is as enthusiastic as ever about it: “It’s my favourite as I think it has a lovely balance between sweet and dry. There is a 'good bite to it' as I’ve been told oftentimes, this 'bite' is the strong Bramley flavour coming through.”

And he is very happy also with their Legacy Medium. “This is a crowd pleasing cider; easy drinking, great flavour profile, natural apple aroma. Great with good friends, a warm sun, a good sporting occasion or kicking back on your own.” This one is a bit like the Alsace Gentil wine: it has no less than six varieties: Elstar, Bramley, Discovery, Katy, Michelin and Dabinette. 

Latest: Catch Liam talking about yeast and more on Beoirfest this coming Saturday. He'll be joined by  Brewpub De Kromme Haring and Eik & Tid who will bring the beer experience. Interested? Register here for free.

Also on this trip:

Dine and Stay at The Tannery

Copper Coast Road

Trip to Mahon Falls in the Comeraghs