Showing posts with label Kinnegar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kinnegar. Show all posts

Monday, August 19, 2019

Jutting into the Wild Atlantic. Delightful Pieces of Donegal


Jutting into the Wild Atlantic. Delightful Pieces of Donegal

Jutting into the Wild Atlantic are three of the most beautiful pieces of Donegal: Inishowen, Fanad (and it’s spectacular lighthouse) and the petite and pretty Rosguill. Inishowen, with Ireland’s most north-westerly point Malin Head, is the biggest, Fanad (and it’s spectacular lighthouse) is next to the west and then comes tiny Rosguill (a micro-version of the others).

Malin, aside from the remains of an old signal tower and some more modern and equally wrecked Irish army lookout sheds, has no buildings on the head. But it does have Ireland’s most north-westerly bakery and coffee shop parked right up there. Also a curious sign saying Eire 80, a wartime note to German pilots saying that this is Ireland and keep your bombs at bay. These white-painted signs, designed to be read from the sky, were all around the country. Malin though has plenty of walks around the head, all nicely laid-out and signposted. The views are spectacular.

One of the Malin walks
And, in the nearby village, it has one of the most innovative cafés in the country in Wild Strand where seaweed is the essential ingredient.

Having reached Malin, you need to drive all the way back down towards Letterkenny to get to Fanad. You can also shorten the trip a bit by taking the ferry from Buncrana across Lough Swilly to Rathmullan. In any event, the ferry times didn’t suit us on the day so we drove the long way and then all the way up to Fanad.

Sat-Nav wasn’t cooperating that much and we had to rely on the road signs and eventually we were on the long road in. Thought we might be late for the last tour but there were a few more scheduled. Bought our tickets and walked up to the lighthouse. Like quite a few other lighthouses, Fanad now has apartments to rent.

We didn’t disturb those residents though as we took the tour. Our guide gave us the history telling us that, after a two-year build period, it got its first light in 1817 but had no electricity until, believe it or not, 1975. In between, the biggest storm that struck was Debbie in 1961. By 1978 only a Principal Keeper was retained in Fanad, and when he retired in 1983 the lighthouse was reclassified as an Attendant station and the retired Principal Keeper remained on as part time Attendant. Now there is just a caretaker.
Fanad

We climbed the 79 cantilevered steps to the top and, from behind a glass enclosure, took in the views all around, especially Malin Head to the east and Tory Island to the west. We were shown four tiny bulbs, hardly as big as my little finger, in the lamp. But these are powerful little fellows and their light shines over 18 nautical miles, just over 33 kilometres.

The two wrecks whose memory is enshrined in local folklore are those of the Saldanha in 1811 and the Laurentic in 1917. The Saldanha, a Royal Navy Frigate of 38 guns and a crew of about 300 men, was driven by a north-west gale on to rocks off Ballymastocker Bay on the night of 4 December 1811 and that led to the erection of the lighthouse.
Powerful little bulbs at Fanad

But the lighthouse was powerless to prevent the sinking of the armed merchant cruiser, the Laurentic, on on 25th January 1917, when it hit two German mines at the mouth of the lough and sank with the loss of 354 crew. A 6-inch gun from this ship was recovered a few years back and is now on display on the pier in Downings.
The gun from the Laurentic on the pier at Downings

Rosguill
Soon we were on the way to Rosguill, the journey cut short thanks to the Harry Blaney Bridge.  This spans Mulroy Bay (there is water everywhere here!) and connects the Fanad peninsula to Carrigart Village and Carrigart is just a few minutes from Downings at the neck of the Rosguill peninsula. 

Lying between the Fanad to the east and Horn Head to the west, Rosguill is surrounded by the Atlantic. Beautiful ocean panoramas, white beaches and even that distant Harry Blaney Bridge are among the sights you’ll see as you do the short circuit (12 km). Might walk that the next time! Small and pretty.
Harry Blaney Bridge

After a long day at the wheel, we were glad to check in at the Rosapenna and take it easy for a while before heading out for food (and a couple of glasses of Kinnegar beer) at the excellent Grape and Grain, reviewing the amazing sights we had seen and enjoyed that day in north Donegal.
The Rosguill drive
Also on this trip: Kinnegar Brewery
 Mary T. From Mallow to Donegal's Castle Grove
Something fishy going on in Donegal
Superb Day Out at Oakfield Park & Buffers Bistro
Downings. A Great Base for Donegal Visit

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Kinnegar's Winning Team. A Squad for all Saisons.

Kinnegar's Winning Team. 
A Squad for all Saisons.

Libby and yours truly in K2



Hard work. Attention to detail. That’s what we saw when we took up an invitation from Libby and Rachel to visit the Kinnegar Brewery in Letterkenny. Libby was on hand to show us around and introduced us to Rick and some of the brewers. 

Hard work? You have to be willing to put your shoulder to the wheel here, well not exactly the wheel but those bags of malt come in 25 kgs size and quite a few need to be regularly hefted to where they’re needed!

Attention to detail? Success in many fields is built on this and Kinnegar is no different. Take a look at a notice of work for one area on the day: clean general; arrange utility room; order boiler diaphragms (steam jacket); hops racking. David is a master of detail. He joined the brewery early on as a JobBridge intern. A quick trainer, he is now of four brewers here and was working on K1 as we arrived.

Better explain. K1 is the small brewery from their farmhouse days in nearby Rathmullan and the name Kinnegar comes from the nearby beach of that name. We are in K2, huge by comparison, a magnificent illustration of how far this enterprising brewery has come in a six year span.
K1

K1 (10 hectalitres) has been brought here and given its own space in Letterkenny. Dwarfed by K2 (35hls), it will have a special place and will be used to try out innovative beers for many years to come, thanks in large measure to David who was close to completing the re-assembly here. Indeed K1 looks brand new. They will also bring in and use their first brewery, a 0.5hl unit, now known as K0.

Links with Rathmullan are still strong thanks mainly to Libby’s mother Margaret, 80 years of age and still working on the brewery books, happy to do so in the quiet of the countryside.

With the opening of the new state-of-the-art facility K2, the clinking of bottles coming off the line no longer mingles with the bleating of sheep from the surrounding fields. Yet “the farmhouse ethos at the core of what we do however remains the same”.

While I expected to see a spanking new brewery, my jaw dropped on entering the unit. It is huge, at least to my eyes, and of course, it was a huge investment leap for Libby, Rick and Rachel when they ordered the gear from Slovenia. But so far so good. So very good.
Rachel in the brewhouse


I reckon I was one of the first to sing the praises of Kinnegar beer as I came across them in various places around Downings in June 2013. One of the places was the Cove in Port na Blagh where I worked my way through the ales, the Limeburner Pale Ale, the Scraggy Bay India Pale Ale and the Devil’s Backbone Amber Ale. Thought all three were excellent.  My number one went to the IPA while CL picked the Limeburner, the same two beers that we enjoyed this time around.

We had no problem finding them this time, in bars, in cafés such as Buffers, in restaurants like Grape and Grain, in the splendid country house Castle Grove and in the Rosapenna Hotel. Enjoyed Scraggy Bay India Pale Ale (me) and Limeburner Pale Ale (CL) in particular. These two, along with Devil’s Backbone (Amber Ale), Rustbucket Rye Ale, Yannaroddy Porter, and Crossroads American Style IPA, form their core range.

And they do specials. Lots of them! Hard to keep up. Just a few to note that I’ve liked: the Merry Tiller Dry-hopped Saison, Bucket & Spade Session Rye IPA and the Black Bucket Black Rye IPA. 
 Black Bucket Black Rye IPA, Gold Medal at 2018 Brussels Beer Challenge

Balance is a feature of Kinnegar beers and that Black Rye IPA is a great illustration, hoppy, citrus flavours, quite intense (it is the big brother of the original Black Bucket!), quite superb.

Hadn’t come across the Kumpelnest Pilsner (5%) until this trip. Wasn’t expecting too much but reckon me and this one could be the best of buddies. Nothing dominant or over the top about it but with its persistent and pleasantly moderate aromas making an excellent first impression, we were on the right hop from the off. And those first fruity flavours are also persistent as my new buddy shows staying power. Good finish too. Buddy sure won’t let you down as you can see from the illustration on the can, he has lots of friends!

And speaking of friends, how did Kinnegar come together? Libby had her own graphic design company (and those skills would come in handy) but it was Rick who had an interest in craft brewing and spotted the new wave coming. Rachel was a pro in the world of horse; there was a bit of a downturn in that line and she was looking for something with a scientific angle as that was her long time interest and, having worked with horses, she had no problems with taking her turn at the physical side either. The timing was so right for them and Kinnegar was the vehicle to take them (and their now ten permanent staff) upwards and onwards.
This canning line will stretch you mentally!

Nowadays, everyone contributes to the ongoing development though Rick is the leader on the beer recipe side. By the way, they don’t filter or pasteurise, and let their industrious little friends, the yeast, carbonate the beer naturally during fermentation.

Libby told us that Kinnegar are that bit different to other breweries in that they built their business on bottles and cans rather than draught (they do draught of course). Their bottling line is a Meheen, “one of the two busiest in Europe” while their own canning line is a Wild Goose. 

Bet you didn’t know this. Working these two lines requires different responses from the operator. Libby explained that the bottling line is more physically demanding while the canning operation taxes the mental side more! Different strokes for different folks or vice versa. Just goes to show the value of teamwork and Kinnegar have quite a squad in place in Letterkenny.

Also on this trip: Mary T. From Mallow to Donegal's Castle Grove
Something fishy going on in Donegal
Superb Day Out at Oakfield Park & Buffers Bistro
Malin Head, Fanad and Rosguill Peninsulas
Downings. A Great Base for Donegal Visit

Thursday, January 17, 2019

CorkBilly’s Drinks & Social Digest. Wines, Spirits and Beers

CorkBilly’s Drinks & Social Digest
Wines, Spirits and Beers

27 Tastes of Brazil at The Friary
Happy New Year and welcome/bem vindos to the first 27 Tastes of Brazil of 2019!! :)

Brilliant Brazilian tunes by DJ Danilo, tasty Baião de Dois by Luciane Viana, and of course Caipirinhas and Caipiroskas to tickle your taste buds made by The Friary staff  :D 

Kicking off at 2:30 next Sunday, join us for a great afternoon! :)  Details 

Next month at The Friary,they move from Brazil to Brittany!
From Caipirinhas to Cider

 Let's all celebrate Brittany once again. Sat Feb 9th - 6.00pm! Details 
In a galaxy, not so far away, there is a country, proud and full of culture.
For one night, let's celebrate this wonderful land… Brittany! 

Gorgeous single estate cider and apple liqueur imported directly from Château de Lézergué, delicious salty and sweet crêpes made by the “bretonniest” of the bretons Cyril Kerboul, all of this wrapped with the best music that Bretagne can offer (and obviously with no partiality at all). [*edit DJ Arbraz*: extreme partiality intensifies]

Kentoc'h mervel eget bezan saotret…
Breizh da viken!*
Let's all celebrate Brittany once again.

The Bridge Bar for Thursday Tasting (24th)
Our tasting sessions are back @TheBridge and January is kicking off with Kinnegar Brewery on Thursday 24th January, close enough to finish up with Dry January. 

Small Brewery, Big Beers
At Kinnegar we pair brewing tradition with a contemporary sense of adventure to produce clean, crisp, full-flavoured farmhouse beers. The brewery is named after the nearby Kinnegar Beach just north of Rathmullan in County Donegal. Details here 

Kinnegar Sponsor White Horse Trad Sessions
Traditional Irish Music sessions taking place in the main bar at The White Horse from Wednesday 23rd January to Sunday 27th January, sponsored by Kinnegar Brewing, as part of The Ballincollig Winter Music Festival 2019.

23/1/2019
WEDNESDAY
Traditional Session 6,30 to 9.30 Conor O Sullivan & friends





L’Atitude WINTER WINE SERIES
MOUNTAINS, ISLANDS,
VOLCANOES & COASTS
 
Thurs Feb 7th 7.00pm
VOLCANOES

The Winter Wine Series focuses on the landscape around where grapes are grown and how it influences wine style. In this second tasting we will look at volcanoes and how volcanic soil structure creates a unique environment that influences grapes. There are many examples of interesting wines produced on volcanic soils – ranging from Etna to Santorini, Tenerife, Chile, Oregon and Madeira, to name but a few. We will present a selection we think really reflect their volcanic origin.

Join us and Pascal Rossignol of Le Caveau , Kilkenny as we taste our way though our selection of favourite “Volcanic” wines.

Tickets €20. Booking Essential



Spanish Wine Faces Up To Brexit
Some believe that Brexit might be a golden opportunity for English wine, especially after research conducted by polling firm YouGov revealed that wine has become the country’s preferred alcoholic drink. Currently, 99% of the wine consumed in the UK is imported. Read the Spanish view here https://www.spanishwinelover.com/find-356-what-could-brexit-mean-for-spanish-wine 


Richy’s BYO Offer
Clonakilty restaurant Richy’s are offering a helping hand when dining out. “Feeling the crunch after Christmas? Why not save some dosh by bringing your own wine to Richy’s! T&C's apply. Available 14th Jan - 28th Feb 2019. Corkage €5.”
Franciscan Well’s Cask Ales and Strange Brew Fest
Our favourite festival of the year....The Cask Ales and Extraordinary Brew Festival running from Jan 31st to Feb 2nd. Yellow Belly, Rising Suns, Metalman and West Cork Brewing are just some of the brewers at the festival and will compete in the Beoir Cask Competition to see who can come up with the most extraordinary beer under categories: Best lager, best "pale', best stout and best specialty. Judged by The national Beer enthusiasts club, winners will be announced on the Saturday of the festival. Live music, performances & Pompeii pizza! Admission is free

  

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Four Beers. Two Comparisons. Two Aces. Festival News


Four Beers. Two Comparisons. Two Favourites.

Table Beers

I bought four beers in Bradley’s of Cork the other day, for comparison purposes, two table beers and two with a large lemon element.

So lets start with the pair of Table Beers, better known to me as Saisons. White Hag, who produced the No. 40 in collaboration with Brew by Numbers, helpfully give a definition of the style on the can.

No. 40 is a true farmhouse saison, it represents a beer style that would have been produced all around the world to quench the thirst of farm-hands, and new-world settlers alike. It is produced from the second runnings of a much stronger beer, that would have been reserved in casks for consumption in the dearth months of sustenance. The table beer was just that, a beer for the table, consumed instead of raw water to ensure health. Light in alcohol, it could be consumed by everyone without fear of inebriation and dehydration.

I’m sure you’ll find definitions with more technical clarity but there you have the gist of it.


White Hag No.40 Table Saison, 2.6% abv , 440ml can

White Hag: Superb collaborative brew with Brew By Numbers. This Table Saison is a classic farmhouse beer in true old world style but with all the frills and fair that modern brewing has to offer. An absolute delight in the sunshine.

An absolute delight in the sunshine, they say, but the sun had gone by the time I got to drinking this very pale yellow cloudy beer with light citrus aromas. That light citrus continues onto the palate and there is a fair bit of cutting on the finish. Didn’t make a great impression though. One can would be my max and then time to move on to something like the Kinnegar below.

Kinnegar Skinny Legs Table Beer 3.5%abv, 440ml can

This new Skinny Legs, “the 3.5% table beer we made together with the participants of our first K2 brewing academy, is rolling off the canning line with a smile on its face”.

Colour is a healthy looking mid amber. Moderately fruity aromas. Maybe not fully powered up on alcohol but much more flavour here. If I were a labourer after a hard day’s work, reckon I’d much prefer to be coming back to this saison rather than to the Hag. No contest. 

Kinnegar have announced that from now on “our new beers will come under the 'Brewers at Play' banner. Because that's what they're really all about — giving the brewers and our customers a bit of variety and allowing us to test new ideas and trends. If we (and you!) like it enough, the beer will eventually get a label all of its own.” Go for it lads!

When Life Sends You Lemons… 

Whiplash Sunshine Under Ground Lemon Smoothie Pale Ale, 5.4%, 440ml can
Colour: Cloudy mid yellow, unfiltered and unpasteurised. Lots of lemon in the ingredients and on the palate. This has notes of Lemon Meringue. Silky and smooth, with a touch of creamy sweetness and a zesty finalé. I rather like this one!

It is brewed "for Whiplash by Whiplash at Larkin’s Brewery in County Wicklow" and is their response to the long-lasting scorcher we had here in Ireland. Of course, when I get my hands on it, the scorcher has retreated. Still, no need to deprive myself of enjoying this beauty.

Techie bits: 
Sunshine Under Ground focuses on Pilsner, Raw Wheat, Oats and sweet, sweet Lactose for its base before getting an addition of Cascade, Lemondrop and natural lemon zests in the whirlpool. Fermented on our house English Ale Yeast, it’s then ‘double dry-zested’ (DDZ?) using more and more of those beautiful lemon zests building and building to 10g/L of zesty fucking madness. The eye-catching artwork on the can is by Sophie Devere.

White Hag The Púca Dry Hopped Lemon Sour (Lime, Mint and Matcha), 3.5, 330ml can
Fairly pale lime colour on this new beer, launched at Hagstravaganza. If you like pure lemon juice, you may well enjoy this. While the Whiplash is a sweet-ish lemon then this is bitterly sour. Tart and refreshing? Well the first part is true. Might well be a thirst quencher. But not my style, at all.

Coming up:
Sourfest at The Bierhaus Cork from Thursday 2nd to Monday 6th. "Huge selection of Sour Beers on Tap!". Plus food, music and tastings.

August 10th and 11th: Bands, Breweries, Speakers, Discussions as Franciscan Well Celebrates Women in Beer 

16-19 August 2018 | No shortage of good beer at Big Grill Fest, Ireland’s only International BBQ Festival | Food | Fire | Smoke | Craft Beer | Music | Herbert Park, Dublin



Wednesday, July 4, 2018

More from the dark side.


More from the dark side

It may be summertime, with a vengeance, but here are a few beers that you can enjoy anytime, even if they are on the dark side.

White Gypsy Dark Lady, 5.2%, 500ml bottle


“Follow the Hops” say Kinnegar on their bottle (below) while Tipperary’s White Gypsy says “Follow your Fortune”. You won't go far wrong if you follow White Gypsy and this particular lady, a brew that contains Bohemian and Munich malts, roasted barley, Saaz hops, and Czech yeast.

A dark brown colour conceals this European lady who turns out to be a lager; as the bottle says “don't be afraid of the dark”. The Dark Lady also turns out to be well-made, well mannered. Nothing sinister here, just an interesting beer from Templemore, not for the first time. The notes from the roasted barley are a prominent feature though, in fairness, it has an excellent rounded flavour all the way through to a very satisfying finish.




Kinnegar Black Bucket “Black Rye IPA”, 6.5%, 440ml can

Don’t think I've ever met anyone from Kinnegar Brewing but I do get on very well with their products, right since I first tasted them in The Cove Restaurant in Port na Blagh in June 2013. Enjoyed three that evening: the Limeburner Pale Ale, the Scraggy Bay India Pale Ale and the Devil’s Backbone Amber Ale.

And now this one is added to my favourites. They call it “the bigger darker brother” to their popular Rustbucket Rye. It balances rye and roasted malts with fresh hop aromas and flavours and is unfiltered. 

This special beer comes in a long black robe but no disguising this is an IPA and one out to make a name for itself. Hop aromas and flavours, along with coffee notes, combine to make this an outstanding drop.



West Kerry brewery “Carraig Dubh” Porter, 6%, 500ml bottle
This is the real black, that of traditional porter, and the ingredients are malted barley, hops, yeast, and water from their own well. It has a lacy head that doesn’t linger, persistent aromas of toffee and caramel. Flavours follow through in this smooth porter and then there’s a lip smacking finish.

So black is back but was it ever away? Not for those of us who saved the hay or gathered to help at a threshing, a heavy glass bottle of porter in your hand at the end of a hard day.

It also reminds me of going into Kelly’s in Belderrig (on the north coast of Mayo) and the lady behind the counter grabbing a chipped enamel jug and ducking down and coming up with it full before pouring my black pint. No head, of course.

Fancy another from the dark side? Check out West Cork Brewery's Roaring Ruby Red Ale, yesterday's Taste of the Week.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Taste of the Week. Kinnegar’s Crossroads American Style IPA

Taste of the Week
Kinnegar’s Crossroads American Style IPA

Had a bit of an American IPA duel recently with Kinnegar's Crossroad and California’s Lagunitas (lag-goo-KNEE-tus) the protagonists, both bought from Bradley’s of Cork. 

Thanks to the US guys for the pronunciation guide. Their Indian Pale Ale was superb as was indeed their 12th of Never Pale Ale.

There were two rounds, both level going into the second. I had brought in one of Donegal diaspora for this one but my islander couldn't split them. 

That left it up to me and I gave the nod to the aromatic citrusy crisp Crossroads, our Taste of the Week, and its nicely bittered finish. Close-run thing tough. Might have to call for a replay! 

K2, Ballyraine Industrial Estate,

 Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

Friday, June 14, 2013

Supreme of Food at the Cove and superb Kinnegar Ales

John Dory at The Cove
We enjoyed the best of food this evening in the Cove at Port na Blagh. And the beer, all ales by the local Kinnegar Brewery, weren’t half bad either!

Peter and Siobhan’s Cove is a well respected restaurant in these parts and we were shown why this evening. Made our choices in the very comfortable upstairs bar. 
And here I was delighted to see the Kinnegar selection on the menu. During the evening, worked my way through the ales, the Limeburner Pale Ale, the Scraggy Bay India Pale Ale and the Devil’s Backbone Amber Ale. Thought all three were excellent.  My number one went to the IPA while CL picked the Limeburner.

The food was something else. CL enjoyed, without reservation,  her Donegal Crab and Smoked Salmon Paupiettes while my Roasted Fresh Figs, filled with Cashel Blue cheese and Parma ham, was an exquisite dish.

Good food policy!
My lips just lick themselves once I think of my mains: Classic Cassoulet, a rich casserole of confit duck, Toulouse sausage, smoked bacon and Cannellini beans, slow cooked in red wine. C’est super! And CL’s was delicate and gorgeous. It was one of the Fish of the Day specials: John Dory with lightly curried leeks. Both came with a choice of side dishes. 

Not too much room for desert but we did share the Chocolate Pot with Raspberries with which I sipped a Macchiato. There is a long summer ahead. So do get to the Cove if you can at all. Highly recommended!

With a decision made to return to Donegal and check out the southern half, there was no need to go long distance today. But we did head over the Mulroy Bay Bridge for a second time to drive a small stretch of the Fanad peninsula that we had missed. Main town on the way was Kerrykeel (also spelt Carrowkeel). Amazing how much fish-farming is going on in the waters of the bay.


Headed back to Carrigart and had a lovely coffee break at Caife na Sráide, run by the McClaffertys. There is a welcoming warm atmosphere and a menu to suit all ages and outdoor seating if the weather is kind. The village also boasts a smashing little public park down by the water.

So an easy going day ahead of check out tomorrow morning. But which bed to sleep in? The box bed by the Aga or the 4 Poster upstairs?

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