Showing posts with label Grainstore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grainstore. Show all posts

Thursday, November 24, 2022

A Quart of Ale± #133. On the craft journey with Kinnegar, Wide Street, Galway Bay, West Cork, and Bradleys

 A Quart of Ale± #133

On the craft journey with Kinnegar, Wide Street, Galway Bay, West Cork, and Bradleys.


Kinnegar Rustbucket Rye IPA, 5.1% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys.

This old reliable, the Rustbucket, is well into its second decade now. The brewery tell us “it was inspired by an old friend - a real character and independent spirit, but always a faithful companion. This description also fits our friends at An Grianán Theatre for whom we originally developed this special beer.”

Amber is the colour and it has a big soft head. Malt heads the aromas with rye offering a little spice. And you meet that spice again in the mouth. And it’s all a little bolder, a little spicer, on the pleasing palate. The American hops come on with a citrus contribution. All’s in balance here though. It is an excellent beer. “A fresh and hoppy drink with a complex flavour profile that never disappoints”, they say themselves and I’ve no problem agreeing.

Once our wandering ancestors settled down, they began to grow grain to make bread and beer. Which came first? I’m not going that deep here. But, in any case, the kind of beer made depended on the local grain. Rye, which thrives on poor soil, was the local grain in much of northern Europe, especially in Russia and Scandinavia. Wonder if those early brewers made anything as good as this Rustbucket!

So how do Kinnegar humans (quite an inventive tribe) go from rye to rustbucket? Credit goes to a Donegal madra (his pic is on the can). “This is where the story gets obtuse, winding a thread around a beloved Irish Terrier, Rusty, or as he was affectionately called by many, Rustbucket. Irish Terriers are renowned for their intelligence. Some, like Rusty, are also very well-known for their tenacity and downright stubbornness. He was a great dog, but he sure did require a lot of patience!”

Quite a storied beer then, though many of the yarns might have never been written but for the crew at An Grianán Theatre calling for encore after encore (read can after can) on that Rustbucket opening night so many litres ago.


Wide Street Spéciale Belgian Pale Ale, 4.7%, 440 ml can Bradleys

Longford brewery Wide Street introduce this Pale Ale: “S P É C I A L E is our nod to the Belgian Pale ales brewed in the Flemish provinces of Antwerp and Brabant. Traditionally amber in colour despite the Pale Ale name this beer is medium bodied and malt forward with medium bitterness. One of Belgium's session beer styles.”

Colour is a coppery/amber with a white pillowy head. It is more murky than hazy. Aromas and flavours are both fruity (apple and pear, even banana and orange). The first hit on the palate is the malt but this easy-drinking beer is certainly well-balanced, medium malty yes and with just enough bitterness to balance. A terrific alternative to IPAs and the brewers indicate it pairs well with poultry, pulled pork, curries or a cheeseboard.

Of course, the Belgians would argue that all their beers are spéciale. The two parts of the country may speak in different languages but that doesn’t prevent them having a common pride in their beers. Despite having a relatively short national history, it has one of the oldest brewing traditions in the world. And one of the characteristics of their beers is the extent to which they get the most from their yeast.

The label mentions fruity esters without elaborating (in fairness, there’s only so much you can print in a can). Esters are a fruity flavour produced primarily through the action of yeasts during fermentation and are influenced by the fermentation process. They are formed in beer by the “esterification” of ethanol which is the primary alcohol in beer.

Another excellent beer from Wide Street who can be found on a very wide street indeed in Ballymahon, County Longford.


Galway Bay Bay Ale Red Ale, 4.4%, 330 ml can Bradleys

The crew in the brewery are very happy with this long-standing stalwart: Bay Ale is brewed with a complex malt bill and a savvy dose of subtle American hops for a modern spin on this traditional style. This beer has stood the test of time in our range and we are proud to see it still flying the flag for red ales.

Their Galway Bay “Bay Red Ale” has quite a strong red colour and a soft off-white head that slowly waltzes away. Aromas are mild and mostly malty. On the palate, you immediately note a smooth and well-balanced flavour from this well rounded ale. British and Irish malts get a chance to shine here and give this beer a strong backbone but the hops (European and American) get their share of the spotlight and the balance is excellent.

Irish Red ales are noted for their food-friendliness and this is no exception. Try it with salads, roast meats, cold meats, simple cheeses and salmon dishes.

Founded in 2009, Galway Bay is an independently owned and operated brewery based in Galway, on the west coast of Ireland. “From classic styles to big barrel aged beers, we brew the full spectrum of beer with a passion for quality and innovation.”


West Cork Brewing Cape Haze West Coast IPA, 4.7% ABV, 500ml bottle Ballymaloe Craft Fair

This comes in a gold orange robe, hazy of course, with a fairly big bubbly white head. Hints of orange and resin in the aromas (as you’d expect with the German pair of Mandarina Bavaria and Hercules in the recipe). And the duo of orange and resin also feature in the mouth, accompanied by a dank sensation and some vegetative input that I couldn’t put a finger on. Overall though, it is bright and fruity and quite a decent IPA, especially considering it weights at just 4.7% ABV.

By the way, the third hop is Yellow Sub (which as been described as “Amarillo on steroids”) is also of German origin. The brewery recommends food pairings for this beer as mussels, chicken & caramel cakes. 

Like all of their beers, this is brewed using their own spring water, is bottle conditioned, unfiltered and vegan friendly. Current brewer at West Cork is Terra Brookins. She grew up in San Diego "where you can’t swing a cat without hitting a craft brewery”.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Friday is wine night at Grainstore and Ballymaloe House

Wine Events at Ballymaloe

Friday 2nd and 9th of September
Thomas (left) and Colm

There's a@feastcork wine event Friday 2nd September 6.30pm in the Grainstore at Ballymaloe. Colm McCan is enthusiastic: "I'm
looking forward to Thomas Walk @thomaswalkvineyard #irishvineyard #irishwine joining me for the wine talk and tasting @feastcork event in @ballymaloe_grainstore - Thomas will talk about his Co.Cork vineyard and taste his wine." #irishwine @ballymaloe_grainstore with Ted Berner @wildsidecatering #feastcork #eastcork #wildsidecatering



Hosted by Niels and Penny Verburg of Luddite Wines.

Friday 9th September at 7pm in the Long Room at Ballymaloe House

€155 per person

Book via 021 465 2531

Limited availability, so please book early via 021 465 2531

An entertaining and delicious South African wine event with the wonderful Niels and Penny Verburg of Luddite Wines, Bot River, Western Cape, South Africa.  Guaranteed to be a delicious and interesting evening with these entertaining duo returning to Ballymaloe House for the first time since 2012.  We are looking forward to welcoming them back.

More info here.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Everyone’s a winner at the Curry Night for Hope in The Grainstore

 Everyone’s a winner at the Curry Night for Hope in The Grainstore

All ready! The calm before the curry.

A couple of weeks back, I spotted a notice on social media about a Curry Night in the Grainstore at Ballymaloe. This could be different, I thought, and read on. A couple of things confirmed my first thoughts and hooked me in. One was that it was a fundraiser for Hope and the other was that Green Saffron’s Arun Kapil, the spice expert, was involved in the curry. Hard to resist the combination of a good cause and a good curry. Win win, I said, and booked my tickets.

Mol an oige! While she didn’t quite use that phrase, Hope’s Honorary Director Maureen Forrest (who set up the organisation in 1999), used it as a theme and praised the many young people who have helped Hope over the years. 

Hot in the kitchen. Arun's selfie
with Aoibheann and Liam in background.

Two of the current students, Aoibheann and Liam, had led this Curry Night Fundraiser and, with help, especially from Arun and Olive, put on quite an evening including cocktails and mocktails, the curry, dessert and lots of raffles sponsored by local businesses such as Frank Hederman, Cully & Sully, Green Saffron, Supervalu, Sage,  and others including Ballymaloe itself. I didn’t win any of the prizes but I still consider myself a winner such was the feel good factor.

Just to give you a taste after the event, here’s the menu:

Jolly Jaipur Cocktail or Mocktail with Smoked Salmon (marinated in Panch Phoran, Lime Juice and soft herbs) and Gol Gappas (chickpea, potato and tomato chaat). This was served upstairs, quite a “noisy” upstairs as the 100 plus diners gathered.

Curry, Dahl and Naan

Soon we all trooped downstairs, quite eagerly, to our tables. Orderly queues were organised as the main dish was served buffet style. And that was Chicken Korma, Red Lentil Dahl, Roast Cauliflower and potatoes in spices with rice, Raita and the best ever Naan! An excellent plateful.

Raffles were held during the interval and we finished with dessert at the table, another lovely dish of Mango Kulfi (ice-cream!), Garam Palmiers with rose and pistachio sprinkles. 

Students Liam and Aoibheann, well supported here by a generous East Cork community (acknowledged by Maureen Forrest) have been given the opportunity to raise funds for the Hope Foundation and travel to Kolkata, India, to visit the homes and hospital that Hope have set up in order to protect and educate children in poverty.

Since 2003, HOPE have been working with schools across Ireland through Development Education. “Engaging with students is one of the best ways to raise awareness of the work we do with street and slum children in Kolkata. Development Education is driven by the strong belief of ‘students helping students’, whereby learning and understanding the reality of poverty inspires young people to take action for change. We consider all students from primary, secondary and third levels who are involved with our work to be Ambassadors for HOPE; reaching out to young people far less fortunate and taking real steps to a better, more fair world.”

For more info contact HOPE’s Schools Coordinator –

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Very Enjoyable Outing To Grainstore's Ballymaloe May Fair

 Very Enjoyable Outing To Grainstore's Ballymaloe May Fair

Very much enjoyed my few hours at the May Fair organised by the Grainstore at Ballymaloe at the weekend. The first person I met was none other than Colm McCan who is delighted that the Pop-up Wine Shop is to open every afternoon (2.00 - 5.00pm) for the year ahead. I got a sneak peek inside and that pour illustration above may bring back memories to a few of you of great days and evenings at the Ballymaloe Pop-up Wine Shop in Brown Thomas. Colm has wine from a selection of suppliers in Ballymaloe. Not just wine though: Ballymaloe Cider and their House Gin are also available here in bottle.

Quite a few stalls in the Grainstore itself, including jewelry, clothing and more. It was here that I bought some beautifully crafted soaps from Clarkes of Dublin.              

We were also on the lookout for Massaman curry paste at the Malay Kitchen Stall and we found the two ladies from the Malay Kitchen in the Big Shed. Had a lovely chat, plus a little tasting, and came away with a kit that included the Massaman.

On the way in, we had bought a superb sourdough from the Grumpy Bakers and on the way out we got a few of their very tempting pastries. All these were destined for the home table but the beautiful treat from Yum Gelato, especially the Mango, was consumed on a nearby table in the sun. Yum! 

In between, we had another delicious tasting, this of the Cully & Sully Risotto range, very impressive indeed. Couldn't wait when we got home and, for supper, enjoyed their Tempting Tomato and that will feature as Taste of the Week very soon!

Our "main course" was just around the corner, at one of the many outdoor stalls serving hot food. Gidi's menu featured a traditional Yemenite and Moroccan family recipe with the traditional Cork title of "The Whole Shebang." 

The finest Kinsale beef and lamb, spiced and barbequed, along with a salad of green leaves, tomatoes and basil dressed with mint, yogurt and zhoug, all packed into a pitta, with a hint of chilli. Delicious, quite a dish for a tenner, and went down well with a glass of juicy ale from the nearby Wicklow Wolf Brewery stand.

More drinks stalls in the area included Blackwater Distillery (Peter Mulryan told me they have settled well into their new distillery and are planning on doing tours fairly soon). Denis from Kinsale Mead was enjoying a deadly Charcoal mint stracciatella from Yum Gelato while Valentia Vermouth were quite busy at the time.

Denis, and the early afternoon sun, had put me in the humour for a gelato and we were heading that way when I spotted Beardy Dave at the Dingle Gin and Porterhouse stall. He had a quartet of cans on offer for a tenner and they too went into the bag. In fact there was no room in the bags but Dave had a Porterhouse tote on hand!

So, after that final call to Yum and the Grumpy Baker, we were on our way, looking forward to getting through all the food and drink in the bags.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Ballymaloe Grainstore set to delight foodies, families and friends as they announce May Fair Festival to take place from May 20 -22nd

 press release 


Ballymaloe Grainstore set to delight foodies, families and friends as they announce May Fair Festival to take place from May 20 -22nd


Doireann Healy of Begley and Bowie, Rachel Allen, Grainne Ferreira of Dandelion Yoga, Naomi Smith of Ragbone, with kids Olan and Axel Berner.

Food, fashion, home and garden fans rejoice – Ballymaloe Grainstore’s Mayfair is sure to be a feast for all the senses



Ballymaloe Grainstore have announced the perfect start to those summer nights with the launch of their May Fair Festival which takes place from May 20th to May 22nd.


The focus, as always, will be on celebrating the best of Irish producers across food, fashion, home and garden with a host of events and activities planned for both children and adults.


The Ballymaloe May Fair event, supported by Ireland’s Classic Hits Radio, follows on from the much-loved Ballymaloe Craft Fair which runs every November and has seen fantastic crowds attending every year since it first began in 2009.


Running from 5pm Friday 20TH May, Saturday from 10am- ‘til late and 10am to 5pm Sunday 22 May, Ballymaloe May Fair Festival features workshops, live cooking demonstrations, garden tours, walled garden fitness classes and over 100 stalls containing food, homeware and vintage fashion for adults and kids.


Tickets are €10pp with children under 12 free at  Walks, talks, tours, cookery and cocktail demonstrations are all included with your entry ticket.


Speaking ahead of the festival, organiser Bree Allen said:


“We were keen to host a summer fair this year to promote the wealth of talented producers we have in Ireland across so many different industries.


“At May Fair we’ll specifically be hosting events and activities which will celebrate good food, fashion, home and garden, which very much ties in with our ethos here at Ballymaloe. We love being able to provide smaller businesses the platform to introduce themselves to people and their products on a larger scale.


“In addition to this, the festival ties in with our sustainability policies and we ensure no single use plastic is used in any products or packaging at the festival.


“While this is a family friendly event and there will be activities for children, there will be adult activities across the whole weekend. We have some excellent workshops taking place across the weekend such as brass wreath making and even how to make your own wooden butter knife.

Rachel Allen with Olan and Axel Berner


“We’re really proud of the outdoor and wellness offering we have this year, and in the walled garden we’ve got a fitness area where there’s a fantastic line up of classes, from mindfulness workshops to strength training classes, yoga and pilates, there is something that will cater to every interest.


“We’re delighted to be able to host this festival with a comprehensive offering of events and activities this year and we look forward to meeting everyone there,” Ms Allen concluded.


Further information on events and activities for Ballymaloe May Fair, supported by Ireland’s Classic Hits Radio is below:


Live cooking demonstrations


Foodies won’t want to miss this offering as some of Cork – and Ireland’s household names will be cooking up a storm with a host of cookery and cocktail demonstrations planned across the weekend. These will be an hour in duration and are included in the €10 entry fee, with pop up wine tastings taking place throughout the weekend. 

The stellar line up is as follows:

  • Darina Allen
  • Rory O’Connell
  • Paul Flynn from the Tannery Restaurant
  • Andy Ferreira from Cask
  • Scot Holder from Los Chiconos
  • Arun Kapil from Green Saffron
  • Cully and Ivan from Cully and Sully
  • Justin Green from Bertha’s Revenge


Ballymaloe House Afternoon Tea

Those with a sweet tooth are in for a treat as Ballymaloe House’s resident Head Chef Dervilla O'Flynn and sweets kitchen chef JR will join forces to produce a delicious afternoon tea menu with sandwiches, cakes, biscuits and more.

Limited spaces available so those interested in attending are advised to book their spot when purchasing their entry tickets for the Fair.


Evening activities

You can make a night of it at this year’s May Fair Festival as there will be a great selection of food trucks serving delicious meals. Soak up the atmosphere by enjoying the live music and DJs present both Friday and Saturday evening, and if you fancy it, treat yourself to a glass of wine or beer while you’re at it! The Demo stage will continue into the evening with cocktail and cooking demonstrations.


Children’s Activities

There will be a drop and go service run in conjunction with Kathy from Brixx club and Louise from Clayotic with a creative workshop area for kids. These workshops will run throughout Saturday and Sunday from 10am at a cost of €10 per child per hour. It’s win-win as the hour-long workshops will give you a chance to wander the stalls, do a workshop or catch a cooking demo while the kids are entertained building Lego and model clay masterpieces.

On Sunday, Nicky from Scrappy Little Monsters will be hosting a felt workshop for kids on the Sunday from 10am. Places are very limited for this workshop and you can book your tickets online when you purchase your entry tickets.

Tickets for the children's area are available to purchase when you purchase a ticket for adults entry to Ballymaloe May Fair. Free entry to the fair for Children under 12 with a contribution of €10.00 per hour for Kathy’s drop and go workshop area. Just purchase your ticket and then when you arrive and sign up for the time that best suits you.


Walled Garden fitness classes

You’re free to bring your mat and head along to the walled garden fitness area for a fantastic line up of classes across the weekend with something to suit everyone.

Start the weekend in the right mind frame on Friday with Mirin Mooney and her mindfulness workshop, while those looking for something a little more serious can avail of a strength training class on Saturday.

Following this, there will be yoga classes, beginner Pilates and sound bath with Sharma, ending the day with a self-care practice.

Sunday has another great line up of classes with Pilates, yoga and mandala workshops taking place.

Places for all fitness classes are limited to 15 people so people are advised to reserve their mat spaces when booking their May Fair entrance tickets through the website.



As always, Ballymaloe May Fair has a great line up of stalls to wander through. The Grainstore will host a great selection of local fashion designers and vintage clothing specialists, with both adult and children’s clothing available to peruse.

House and home are a strong theme for the stalls at this year’s event with a great line-up of Irish makers and sellers with products for each room of the house available.

Of course, we can’t forget the host of food and drink producers who will be showcasing their local products.

The full line-up of stalls is available to view on the website



Workshops will be hosted in the Book Shed area of Ballymaloe Farm, with three to four  workshops taking place each day over the weekend starting on Friday evening.

Each workshop will be an hour long in duration across a range of diverse areas, with options to join Esther from Elements of Action and make a brass wreath to decorate your wall or join Grace for a workshop on macrame plant hangers.

Eamonn from Hewn will be present for a workshop on carving your own wooden butter knife, learn how to make your own Terrarium with Prickly Plants, or make your own soap with Suzanne from Clarke’s Soaps Dublin.

You can book all workshops through the website when purchasing your entry tickets, with all equipment and materials will be supplied for each workshop.




Garden Tours

Over the weekend Ballymaloe are offering an array of tours around Ballymaloe, with history house tours, walled garden talks, biodiversity tours of the grounds and an in-depth look at their new solar panels with a sustainability-focussed tour.

Below are the confirmed tours planned over the weekend, which will allow you to get to the heart of Ballymaloe with a weekend of walks and talks focusing on the house and farm:

  • Bio-diversity tour of Ballymaloe Grounds with head groundsman Tobias
  • History tour of Ballymaloe House with Fern Allen
  • Walled Garden walks with head gardeners Susan Turner and Mags Coughlan
  • Farm Sustainability Tours with Ruddy and Rory
  • Pre-Launch Sculpture exhibition tour with Ritchie Scott


Once again spaces are limited for these tours so those who wish to take part are advised to book their spots when purchasing their May Fair entry tickets on the website.