Showing posts with label Killarney Brewing Company. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Killarney Brewing Company. Show all posts

Friday, August 26, 2022

Beer of the Year. My favourites so far.

Beer of the Year 2022

Rye River

My nine favourites to date.

Wicklow Wolf are having a great year, at least in my neck (of the woods). As you can see below, they feature at the top in four of the nine months so far (December '21 is counted). Whiplash have two number ones.  And that points up the fact that the more productive breweries are more likely to get the nod than those who have a great core range but who, for whatever reason (and I'm sure they have good ones), don't go in as much for seasonals and specials. I'll have started to try and balance that! Any ideas? Anyone! 

Confirmed to date

August:12 Acres Pale Ale

July: Wicklow Wolf Locavore Summer 2022 Foraged Elderflower Saison

June: Wicklow Wolf Mescan Wit or Without You Belgian Wit

May: Wicklow Wolf Locavore Spring 2022 Barrel Aged Farmhouse Ale

April: Whiplash True Love Waits Dry Hopped Pils

March: Lineman Schadenfreude Schwarzbier

February: Wicklow Wolf  “Apex Cherry” Black Cherry Oatmeal Stout.

January: Whiplash Dry the Rain Double Decoction Dunkel

December: Lough Gill Mac Nutty Macadamia Nut

Best of August Short List

Pale Ale: 12 Acres Pale Ale

Aged Stout: Porterhouse Slvr Skin Barrel Aged Coffee Stout 13% ABV. 

Brown Ale: Lineman Big Calm 

Single Hop IPA: 8 Degrees Citra 

Oatmeal IPA: Galway Bay Goodbye Blue Monday

Kolsch: Rye River (collab.with Old Street) Die Hundstage Köter Kölsch

Belgian Stout: Wide Street Monksland 

Hopfenweisse: Wicklow Wolf Jeff Bezos

Cider: Cockagee Irish Keeved Cider 5% Simply outstanding

Pints in Bars:

The Maritime, Bantry: 9 White Deer Kölsch

The Lake, Killarney: Ale and Lager by Killarney Brewing Co.

Merry’s, Dungarvan: Wicklow Wolf Ale

The Shelbourne, Cork: Beamish

The Cotton Ball, Cork: Lynch’s Stout, Indian Summer

Mellet’s Emporium, Swinford: Reel Deel Jack the Lad, Mescan Seven Virtues Lager.

Keenan’s, Tarmonbarry, Co. Roscommon: White Hag Little Fawn; Kinnegar’s Scraggy Bay

Finín’s Midleton: Black’s KPA

Franciscan Well: Original 7 Weisse

Elbow Lane: Angel Stout


Thursday, April 14, 2022

Killarney’s Lake Hotel And Its Many Attractions

Starter: Hot Smoked Salmon

 Killarney’s Lake Hotel And Its Many Attractions 

It is just after the crack of dawn. The sun, hidden by trees to the east, is managing to scatter a light gold over the mountains that surround the lake. The morning is frosty, the grass white. A deer stops in his tracks. He looks behind to see the source of the faint noise. It is a photographer.

View from the room

Not me! I’m on a balcony on 3rd floor of the Lake Hotel in Killarney. One of my favourites places to stay. I had it in my head to get some sunrise photos but had to settle for the deer instead (and an early breakfast!). The deer regularly appear between the hotel and water at dusk and dawn.

Located on the lakeshore, about two kms from Killarney town, the location of the hotel is splendid, the views magnificent. It even has its own promontory in front, complete with a 12th Century floodlit castle.

It has been in the Huggard family since the 1940s and the welcome here is always warm and they especially love to see customers returning. You can relax, enjoy the views and the National Park next door and they will also feed you very well indeed.

Morning has broken

Our recent two-night package included dinner and we choose to take that in the magnificent Castlelough Restaurant  on the second evening (we had breakfast there each morning). Some terrific choices on the menu; the food was very well prepared and presented. They have quite a wine selection here but, on this occasion, we enjoyed the lager and ales produced by the local Killarney Brewing Company.

There were six regular appetisers to choose from (after a delicious Beetroot led Amuse Bouche) plus two specials. One of our picks was the Scots Pine Smoked Salmon (pickled shallots, confit lemon, dill oil, burnt lemon powder and Horseradish cream). A terrific mix of textures and flavours.


Our other was one of the specials: a parcel of Beef Cheek with truffle celeriac purée and confit potatoes roast just. That too was very well appreciated, a hearty and flavoursome beginning and, again,  so well presented.

Took our time choosing the mains but we were both happy with the outcome. One was Lightly Spiced Monkfish (with roasted Peppers, Saffron Potato,, and Curry Cream). That spice element was moderate, very well judged indeed, leading to a very satisfactory and elegant plateful. 


And the accompaniments also played a key role in elevating the Pan Fried Fillet of Halibut and they were Squid Ink Gnocchi, Seaweed butter, Braised Baby Vegetables and Shellfish Bisque. Magnifique!

Of course, this being Ireland, there were sides also, selection of fresh vegetables plus the most delightful potatoes (with garlic, herbs and cream).

Sweet blackberry!

Lager by Killarney Brewing
Service was excellent all through, helpful, leisurely but efficient. And we were allowed a wee gap before dessert! Choices had to be made of course and I was reluctant to leave the Rhubarb Bavarois & Madagascar Vanilla Ganache behind. 

Our picks were the light and superb Apple Cider Baba (Granny Smith Apple Compote, Honey & Yogurt Parfait) and the ever so slightly more supple Black Sesame Cremeux (blackberry textures, coconut mousse and blackberry sorbet). No effort required to get fully acquainted with these smooth treats.

Later, we headed to the bar, The Devil’s Punchbowl, to continue on the Killarney beer trail. They have music here in this very comfortable room a few evenings each week.

Frosty rim on the mountain just after dawn

Needless to say, our bedroom was also top notch, spacious and with that balcony (it will cost you a few euro extra but is worth it!). We had all the facilities we needed including a jacuzzi bath. The hotel also has a wellness centre and lots of parking.

Fueling up for another day in
the kingdom. Those raisins were
soaked in rum. Vrrum!

Also on this visit:

Killarney National Park

Bray Head Walk on Valentia Island

Kells Bay Gardens and lunch at Sala Thai

Lunch on the way down at The Mills Inn, Ballyvourney.

The Mad Monk by Quinlans Fish

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The Mad Monk. A Superb New Restaurant. By Quinlan’s Seafood In Killarney’s Plunkett Street.

The Mad Monk. A Superb New Restaurant 

By Quinlan’s Seafood In Killarney’s Plunkett Street.

The other week, just off Killarney’s main drag, I made one of the finest seafood catches around. Hadn’t seen this in the Cork outlet that I visited a few weeks earlier but made my business to get my hooks into their Portmagee Crab Bake when I spotted it at the bottom of their starter list.

The superb Portmagee Crab Bake comes in a Tomato and Avocado Salsa salad and with sourdough bread for mopping up! You won’t come across a crab bake in many restaurants in Ireland and the one here is well worth checking out. And you’ll be lucky to happen on one as good as this.


The new premises is very attractive. It is spread over two floors giving a total of about 80 covers. The family seafood business is based in Caherciveen, Co Kerry. Kerryfish was started in 1963 by the father Michael Quinlan and has now been passed down to the second generation of Quinlan’s, Liam, Ronan and Fintan. And expansion is always on the agenda here. They have shops and restaurants all over Kerry and beyond and you probably know that the Cork premises has also been enlarged and improved! 

The menu starts with a page of specials and you’ll see the same info on a board on the street. Terrific range of fish on offer, usually with both starter and main versions. Portmagee Oysters, Dingle Bay Wild Squid, Sizzling Deep Water Atlantic Prawns, Portmagee Crab Claws are regular features. Excellent dishes of Hake, Salmon, even Sea Bass are also on the mains menu.

Our other starter was Dingle Bay Wild Squid (deep fried locally caught squid served with “our famous homemade sweet chilli jam”). You also get a well presented salad. It was probably the best squid I’ve ever tasted, soft and easy to eat and no hardening towards “rubber” at all from start to finish. And yes that Sweet Chilli Jam is every bit as good as they claim.

I was keen to try a white fish main dish and got my chance with the delicious Pan Roasted Fillet of Hake on a tomato chorizo, spinach and bean cassoulet with herb potatoes. A perfect backing accompaniment that lets the fish shine.

Our other mains was the Pan Fried Fillet of Salmon and that came with Lyonnaise Potatoes, Asparagus, Carrot Purée and Basil Pesto. The fish, a very generous serving, was spot on, well cooked and the dish neatly presented.


We didn’t have the Fish and Chips on this occasion. In Quinlan’s, as indeed in some other places, you get a choice of fish. In Killarney,  we could pick from Whiting, Plaice, Haddock, Cod, Hake or Goujons.

There’s a full bar here, plenty of wines, more white than red understandably, and most of them available by the glass. Delighted also to see they had an ale and stout from Killarney Brewery on tap, along with a few bottles. A glass of that refreshing ale, very flavoursome too, went down well with the hake.

They do offer meat dishes here (and I’d bet they are of a good standard) but if you like your fish then Quinlans is a very good choice indeed. Very Highly Recommended.

Also on this visit:

Killarney National Park

Bray Head Walk on Valentia Island

Kells Bay Gardens and lunch at Sala Thai

Lunch on the way down at The Mills Inn, Ballyvourney.

The Lake Hotel


Wednesday, February 9, 2022

A Quart of Ale± #91 On the craft journey with Whitefield, West Cork, Clonakilty. + news via Rascals, Killarney & Craic Beer.

 A Quart of Ale± #91

On the craft journey with Whitefield, West Cork, Clonakilty and Journeyman

(+ news via Rascals, Killarney &  Craic Beer.)

Whitefield Old Smoke Smoked Porter 5.4%, 500ml bottle Bradleys

Whitefield (formerly White Gypsy) is a brewery in Templemore, County Tipperary. Cuilán Loughnane is the main person here and, according to Sláinte  (2014), his fingerprints “are all over the Irish brewing scene”. I knew that he (through White Gypsy) had helped Cork’s Elbow Lane and Waterford’s Metalman get up and running by contract brewing their beers and more. 

But Sláinte also details his earlier involvement, first with Dwan’s Brewery (Thurles) from 1997 and, from 2002,  he was head brewer at Dublin’s Messrs Maguire (the forerunners of J.W. Sweetman) before setting up on his own as White Gypsy in 2009, a move that saw him join the “Second Generation: Mid 2000s to 2011” of Irish craft brewers.

He has grown his own hops and also brewed beers specially for food, beers in wine sized 75cl bottles and aimed at the restaurant trade. He is still going strong under the new label. By the way, this porter is named after Templemore legend, Old Smoke Morrissey.

They say: Traditionally, beers made in the midlands would have had a slight smokiness due to the malt being dried from peat fires. This stout brings out that combination of smoke and roast while remaining light on the palate.

Black as a newly tarred road between Templemore and Nenagh. There’s a tanned head, soft, and soon sinking away to the black. Aromas are smoky, a hint of bacon as you sniff. And it’s much the same combination on the palate. But nothing too extreme, all rather svelte and subtle, terrific balance right to the very satisfactory finish indeed.

West Cork Baltimore Bitter 5.5%, 500ml bottle Upstairs at Quay Coop 

In December 2014, Dominic Casey, Henry Thornhill and brewer Kevin Waugh launched the West Cork Brewing Company. The 1st Brew-Hotel to set up in Ireland and also the country’s most southerly brewery.

It is based in Casey's of Baltimore Hotel and they started with three beers, Sherkin Lass a citrussy Pale Ale 4.4%, Roaring Ruby Dark Red Ale 4.4% and Stout X Stout West a chocolate porter 4.3%, the crew intent on their beers matching the quality of West Cork’s artisan foods. 

This Baltimore Bitter is one of their latest. Colour is a very dark red with a tan head, soft, and slow to disperse. Aromas are moderate, notes of pepper. On the palate, there’s quite an amalgam, fruit, honey and a tang of citrus, lime perhaps. Quite a lip-smacking finish.  

Refreshing and somewhat different, with a bitter aftertaste, and I can see it playing its part in the suggested pairings of Pulled Pork and Smoked Gouda. “We have used our own well water and the most traditional methods.” It is unfiltered and vegan friendly.

Clonakilty Smuggler Irish Porter 6.0%, 500ml bottle O’Donovan’s 

Dark stuff this with a bubbly frothy tan head that sinks slowly. Moderate aromas of roast and chocolate as the head sinks another notch, just a thin disc now. And, now on the palate, it is sweet chocolate, coffee too and a medium touch of bitterness at the finish.

They say: We are passionate about making beer with no compromise, brewing small batches with big personality. Using locally sourced grains, the best hops and water from our own well, our beers are handcrafted with care…. 

Pour slowly for a smooth creamy head. Enjoy at 10-12 degrees. It goes well with dark meats, rich desserts and chocolate, and is delicious and satisfying on its own.

The Deasy family brewed beer in Clonakilty (known as the brewery town) for almost 200 years, including the famous Clonakilty Wrastler. The Deasys also had a legendary reputation as successful smugglers along the dramatic and rugged coast of West Cork.

Journeyman IPA 5.2%, 500ml bottle, X-mas gift

Hazy amber is the colour here and the white foamy head lingers a while. Expecting more middle of the road from the final bottle of my five pack (all different styles) but certainly more of a punch here. Big whack of hops on the palate - they say, and I agree, “bursting with fruity hop flavour”. And, as was the case in the previous four, the balance is good, thanks to the malt. 

No details on the hops or malt used, at least none that I can find. Not too many details at all. And certainly nothing about food pairings. All I can tell you is that it went down pretty well with the middle chapters of the John Banville piece of crime fiction playfully titled April in Spain, though hardly a playful mystery, at all, at all, as Banville’s Chief Superintendent Hackett might add.

But there is something of a mystery on the label, and indeed on all the Journeyman labels in the pack. It tells us you of need of a great barrel to make a great beer, that Journeyman is steeped in the tradition of the highly skilled craft of coopering. Are these Journeyman beers are matured in wood rather than stainless steel?

Cooperage can be confusing. I walked past one earlier, in a building once owned by a distillery. It now houses the Aquaculture & Fisheries Development Centre, a research facility of UCC and embedded within the School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences (BEES).

Brewery News

The Rude Couple Canned By Rascals

NEW BEER ALERT! Say hi to our next limited edition release: Rude Boy white stout and Rude Girl black IPA.

The former is a full-bodied pale stout with chocolate, caramel and coffee tones, brewed with coffee from our neighbours Imbibe, with oak-smoked wheat adding a lovely touch of character. The latter is a robust medium-bodied IPA with a unique blend and balance of dark roasted malts and piney, resinous hops. 

We're very excited for Feb 24 when you'll be able to get your hands on these. Not only that, we're also having a launch party! Click here for FREE tickets. 


We're on the hunt for waiting staff for the Taproom on Muckross Road in Killarney. The role is made for someone full of energy who enjoys the craic and would like to know more about brewing and our premium Irish beers. Does that sound like you? Send your CV across to Ivan at


Craic Beer Community - Brew Project

Four breweries, four unique beers all packaged up exclusively for the Brew Project. Includes online tasting session as well as in person meet-up in Dead Centre Brewing, Athlone to taste and discuss the beers!


Only 24 boxes left!

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

A Quart of Ale± #90. On the craft journey with Franciscan Well, Killarney Brewing, Trouble, Whiplash,Hope, and Wicklow Wolf.

A Quart of Ale± #90

On the craft journey with Franciscan Well, Killarney Brewing, Trouble and Wicklow Wolf. 

Killarney Scarlet Pimpernel IPA 6%, 500ml bottle Bradleys

There is a statue of a priest, dressed in an older fashion, at an entrance to Killarney National Park. He is striding out, a man in a hurry. They seek him here, they seek him there - he is O’Flaherty, the Scarlet Pimpernel. And this IPA is named in his honour.


It has a deep red colour. “Best served with a thick frothy head so pour with vigour.” I missed that bit of advice so my head, a bit like the Pimpernel, didn’t hang about. Got “rough” with the second one and a better longer-lasting head was the result.

Built “on a smooth malty base”, it is not a million miles away from our Franciscan Well. Aromas are moderate, citrus and pine. There’s a light caramel sweetness on the palate. Overall, a good balance is found, hop bitterness is moderate, and they boldly recommend it as “a perfect partner for full flavoured dishes”.

During WW2, Rome based Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty  saved over 6,500 people by hiding them in monasteries, farms, and other locations. After the war, he was awarded the US Medal of Freedom and Commander of the British Empire.


Franciscan Well Chieftain Irish Pale Ale 5.5%, 330can O’Donovan’s

Franciscan Well Chieftain IPA, then described as “a great stepping stone into the land of big and bitter”has proved quite a popular beer since launched by the Cork brewery. Colour is amber, not a million miles away from their Rebel Red. Indeed, when I posted an early photo of the IPA, a reader challenged me saying I got it wrong, that is the red in the pic.

Certainly hoppy in the aromas, a burst of tropical.There’s a malty theme there too and both continue onto the palate. Citra, Tettnanger and Magnum are the hops and they make their presence felt here, with Pine and Citrus, but the malts (Ale Malt, Crystal Malt) ensure a flavoursome balance, meeting the brewer’s aim of “casual enjoyment” for the drinker rather than the “intense hoppiness” that some IPAs deliver, sometimes to the consternation of the casual craft drinker.

Serve at 6 degrees and pair with fried chicken. Mature Irish cheeses and cured meats are also recommended.

By the way, Franciscan Well is looking forward to the coming year. ‘ It’s been a long road for everyone over the last couple of years. Our focus has been on surviving but now we want to bring memorable moments and experiences back to the centre of what we do, ’  says Kate Clancy (right), marketing manager of the Franciscan Well bar. More details here, even the promise of a beer festival.

Trouble Brewing Nocturne Milk Stout 5.5%, 440ml can Bradleys

This limited release looks well in the glass. Black with a creamy tan head that is unhurried. A big whiff of coffee in the aromas. And the coffee again, with sweet chocolate notes now, on the smooth palate. Sip away all that delicious creaminess to a very satisfactory ending. Smooth and easy all the way. No Trouble at all!

Ingredients – Water, Malt, Oats, Wheat, Lactose, Cacao Nibs, Hops and Yeast

Founded over 10 years ago Trouble Brewing is a 100% Irish-owned and independent brewery, located in Kill, Co Kildare. “Everything we do is driven by the desire to produce the highest quality, best tasting beer for our fellow beer lovers. …We mainly brew hop forward, session beers to be enjoyed by all, but we’re always happy to experiment — only a few ideas are too dumb.”

Wicklow Wolf Moonlight Non Alcoholic Hoppy Ale 0.5%, 330can Bradleys

The search for a really good Irish non alcoholic beer continues.

Geek Bits

Hops: Cascade, Hallertau Blanc, Citra

Malts: Melano, Cara Gold 

Brewery News

Fidelity's Back

Holy moly it's actually happening! Fidelity, our beer festival, is returning to Dublin's Round Room at the Mansion House this July and tickets are flying out with the Saturday session just about sold out. 

The first brewery announcement is landing next week and we don't expect tickets to last once that killer lineup drops so now if you want to join us in July, grab those tickets!

The festival takes places on July 15th & 16th and each session will have a completely different lineup of beers. Tickets are €69.61 and includes all your beer and your festival tasting glass. 



Hope Tours Return!

With restrictions lifted we're excited to announce our brewery tours are back.

Come visit our state-of-the-art German brewhouse where one of our team will cover all aspects of the brewing process and at the end you'll enjoy a tasting of our beers in the tap room.

A tour is €18 per person and requires a minimum of 6 people and a maximum of 15. Tours are available on Thursdays and Fridays at 5pm and Saturdays at 4pm.

Book a Tour

Wicklow Wolf

Joining the Pack as number 24 and 25 in the Endangered Species Series are Apex Cherry, a Black Cherry Oatmeal Stout and Canis Rufus, a Red Rye IPA. Available nationwide this week in all good independent off licences and at the Wicklow Wolf Taproom!