Showing posts with label NeighbourFood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NeighbourFood. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 24, 2022


press release


“Even though challenges are daunting, having a challenge is a great thing for anyone” - Yasmin Hyde on growing Ballymaloe Foods

The founder of Ballymaloe Foods says there is a very thin line between success and failure. Yasmin Hyde was speaking during the first ever live NeighbourFood Podcast held as part of the Cork on a Fork Food Festival. She encouraged anyone thinking of setting up a business to start small and to accept any help you can get along the way. 

Yasmin Hyde, the daughter of Myrtle Allen, told the audience at the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork City about how she began producing Ballymaloe Relish in her kitchen using her mother’s recipe. She started Ballymaloe Foods in 1990 and the business continues to grow and now produces a range of relishes, sauces and pickles in their purpose built kitchens located in Little Island, County Cork.

For the first five years, Yasmin worked out of a portacabin in her back garden, and drove around in a hand-me-down Lada delivering the relish to various supermarkets. Ballymaloe Foods now employs 35 people, including Yasmin’s three children and her daughter in law.

Yasmin said, “There is a very thin line between success and failure so any little bit of help is wonderful. The local enterprise office was wonderful, we now work with Enterprise Ireland. I was confident too that I had a good product and if you start small you can find your way along.” 

Reminiscing on one of her earliest food memories, Yasmin remarked eating fresh mackerel the day it was caught. Her mother had taught her that quality ingredients make delicious foods. When asked about what philosophies she has followed throughout her lifetime, it was “attention to detail and trying to do everything right to the best you can”. Yasmin also learned from Myrtle that treating your staff well is crucial. When Myrtle was opening up the restaurant at Ballymaloe House, Hyde recalls that she “didn’t want to bring in trained chefs as they would only want to do it their own way, while she wanted them to do it her way!”.

Aside from the relish, Yasmin is most proud of the Ballymaloe pickled beetroot, as it is the only 100% Irish locally produced beetroot available nationwide. The idea stemmed from passing a farmer at a local supermarket. Without knowing the size of his land, she handed him her business card, and he began growing beetroot for her. 

Yasmin explained, “We were losing industries in Ireland, you used to be able to buy glass, vinegar and sugar in Ireland. I asked what can we grow here and came up with beetroot. I was going in the back door of Supervalu when I met a farmer with beautiful vegetables. He grew beetroot for five years for us, it was washed and picked by hand. Now we’ve moved to a larger farm. The beetroot is selling very well and is taking on all the imported products.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has been the most challenging issue the business has faced, as they lost their food service business overnight, however, their retail business grew substantially. Having thanked her staff for rising to the challenge, she commented that, “Even though challenges are daunting, having a challenge is a great thing for anyone.” 

The full podcast is available to listen here: 


Thursday, June 9, 2022

Taste of the Week. Jack McCarthy's Ham and Outregious Lettuce

Taste of the Week

Jack McCarthy's Ham and Outregious Lettuce 

We doubled up for this Taste of the Week. Well more than just two elements, but Jack McCarthy's cooked ham via On the Pig's Back in Neighbourfood and the well named Outregious Lettuce from Brown Envelope Seeds (via the Roof Top Farm Shop) were the stars on the plate.

Jack's ham is free range. The Kanturk butcher then delivers to On the Pig's Back in Douglas and there it is "cooked in our kitchen with onions, peppers, cloves and bay and finished off with a honey and whole-grain Dijon mustard". It is a lovely ham and can be enjoyed on its own.

Jack's Ham!

But we made up a salad with various leaves from the garden, tomatoes and hard-boiled eggs. One of the lettuces was the Outregious, described by Brown Envelope as "an upright salad variety which forms a loose head. An outrage of red in the salad bed". And very nice on the plate and palate as well. It certainly grew well for us.

Lots of variety in our Taste of the Week!

Monday, May 23, 2022

Taste of the Week. Cully & Sully's Tempting Tomato Risotto

Taste of the Week

Cully & Sully's Tempting Tomato Risotto

Lots of good things to eat at the weekend's Ballymaloe Grainstore's May Fair. No surprise with that and no surprise either that we found our current Taste of the Week at the Cully & Sully stall.

Of course, they had their famous soups on display but we were directed, in the best possible manner, to try their range of risottos: Tempting Tomato, Charming Chicken and Moreish Mushroom.

To make a long story short, we arrived home with a bagful and, having tasted a couple in Ballymaloe, were keen to try one in earnest and in full. 

We had eaten well around the Fair so didn't need a full dinner. So we made the Tempting Tomato the centrepiece of our supper, adding a variety of leaves from the garden, some artichoke globe quarters container bought from Olives West Cork via Neighbourfood, and some superb sourdough from the Grumpy Bakers (also bought at the May Fair). Some EVOO was added as was some of Hegarty's new Ballinvarrig cheese (we had no Parmesan in the house!) was grated (very finely) on top.

As expected, the Risotto was a winner and instantly declared our Taste of the Week. Now looking forward to trying out the Mushroom and Chicken.

Lots more info and recipes from Cully & Sully here.

* One pack of the risotto makes a meal for one, or if shared, a meal for two with the addition of other bits and pieces such as detailed above.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Taste of the Week. Ardsallagh Goat's Cheese - Phantom Pyramid

Taste of the Week.

Ardsallagh Goat's Cheese - Phantom Pyramid

The Ardsallagh Goats Cheese Phantom Pyramid, inspired by the French 'Pyramide de Pouligny', is made with Pasteurised Milk in East Cork.  It is a most delicious semi-soft cheese with an irresistible creamy texture inside and lightly ash-ed on the outside which develops a white bloomy rind. It is our Taste of the Week, bought from On The Pigs Back via Neighbourfood.

It is very versatile indeed, so you won't have to confine yourself to the usual beetroot combinations but don't neglect them either as the two are a classic combination and available in many restaurants. You could, for a change, try an Oven Roasted Beetroot Salad with Candied Walnuts, and Rocket leaves with this cheese.

It can be the main piece of many a salad and you'll see it served with thinly sliced pears. We tried it with those very pleasing Medjool dates (chopped) and it worked a treat, especially with Marques De Poley Oloroso Montilla-Moriles (O'Briens Wine).

Here's another simple one: the cheese, tomatoes thinly sliced, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle this, or indeed similar salads, with the Big Red Kitchen's Spiced Plum & Port Jam (I got mine from Roughty Fruity in English Market but it is widely available).

And another: the cheese, chopped Medjools, some sliced grapes, and add as much as you like of the Ballymaloe Cranberry and Mór Wild Berry Gin Sauce. Delicious, especially so with a glass of Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2021 (at O'Briens Wine).

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Taste of the Week. Sage Lentil Dhal Hot Pot

Taste of the Week 

Sage Lentil Dhal Hot Pot

Necessity may be the mother of invention and Kevin Aherne of Sage may well be the father. Recently honoured by the Georgina Campbell Awards for his sure touch as a master of the pivot, a pivot enforced by Covid and its restrictions.

The chef quickly shifted focus from the restaurant to the retail side and soon had many restaurant quality products available and on sale in food shelves all over the city and county.

I quickly cottoned on to his hot pots and pies and found quite a few gems including his Pork Pot (slow-cooked pork, stroganoff style with Lemon and Sage) and the Vegan Pot (red dhal with lentils, chickpeas, potatoes, cumin and coriander).

I hit the jackpot again this week with his Lentil Dhal Hot Pot (pulses, grains, veggies, herbs, slow-cooked in rich stock of tomatoes and spices with coconut, red chilli and lime leaves). By the way, you'll know all the high quality ingredients, no unpronounceable ingredients or strange numbers.

It is very versatile. Delicious on its own, with boiled rice and flatbread, great with grilled halloumi or salmon. We added the salmon on this occasion and it turned out great, a smashing Taste of the Week.

Sage Midleton

Monday, August 30, 2021

Taste of the Week. Ardsallagh Goats Cheese

Taste of the Week. 

Ardsallagh Goats Cheese

A totally unexpected gift from a travelling salesman started Jane Murphy’s long term love of goats and led to the beautiful Ardsallagh cheese that so many people know and love today.

Back in the late 70s, that insurance salesman in County Carlow wasn’t getting the best of receptions from Jane. During the conversation, he noticed, “couldn't help but notice”, that her children had eczema and said that goats milk would be a help. Jane said thanks very much for the tip and sent him on his way.

An hour or so later, she sighed as he returned. This time with a gift. He lifted a goat out of the boot, presented her to Jane and carried on his way. She never saw that salesman again but the goat led to greater things.

For a start, the eczema cleared up and "since then we have always had goats in the garden and following years of experimenting this has grown into something wonderfully and tasty." Ardsallagh has now been making cheese for over 20 years.

Ardsallagh cheese keeps popping up on restaurant menus and not just in Cork. It is one of the most popular and one of the very best goats cheeses in the country. It is widely stocked in shops and supermarkets, various farmers markets and in delis such as On the Pig's Back. I got this particular piece via On the Pig's Back on Neighbourfood.

Ardsallagh soft goats cheese is a white cheese with a creamy texture. This cheese has a gentle flavour as it is made daily from fresh goats milk. It is delicious and very handy these warm days as a lunchtime treat. I just added some beetroot from the garden (not a great crop this year), a few juicy cherry tomatoes, also via Neighbourfood, and a few leaves of basil.

* Luke was one of her toddlers with the eczema and he is now the Dairy Manager at Ardsallagh.

Read all about Ardsallagh Goats Cheese.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Taste of the Week. St Tola Goats Greek Style Cheese

Taste of the Week

St Tola Goats Greek Style Cheese

To give it its full title our Taste of the Week is St Tola Gold with Newgrange Chili and Garlic Rapeseed oil. They also add peppers and dried thyme. This delicious new product is, like all their cheeses, produced from the pasteurised milk of their renowned herd of goats looked after on their Inagh farm in County Clare.

I spotted it on the extensive cheese offering from On The Pig's Back as detailed on the Neighbourfood site and got it in last week's delivery. So what would I do with it? Just thought of checking their website and they had a few answers: Great as a pizza topping, in salad or just straight from the jar!

As it turned out, pizza was on the menu. We made up the dough from the regular Gozney recipe and the first addition was the outstanding pizza sauce from the West Cork Food Company. Some Kalamata olives and semi sun-dried tomatoes were then added before the chunks of the St Tola were generously scattered around.

A few minutes later, we were tucking into a couple of superb pizzas, our Taste of the Week playing a starring role. We haven't made that many yet on the Gozney but, as novices, we were extremely happy with this one, with its combination of outstanding flavours, and the recipe will be repeated!

As it happened, there was still some left in theSt Tol jar and that went down well with a salad on the following day.

St Tola Irish Goat Cheese

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Taste of the Week. On The Double. Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms: Garlic Scape Pesto & Wild Irish Samphire

Taste of the Week.


Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms' Garlic Scape Pesto

Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms' Irish Marsh Samphire

Always worth taking a punt on Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms, even when it's not a mushroom on offer. These two terrific recent examples are very highly recommended indeed.

First up is their seasonal Garlic Scape Pesto produced with "Ireland's finest garlic scapes" that they source from @westcorkgarlic. The scape is the long flower stem from bulb garlic. We bought a little jar through Neighbourfood and the flavour packed in there is amazing, really gets those taste buds up and running. We tried it in a ham and salad sandwich on the local Arbutus sourdough. Leaves and onions from the garden, the ham from Supervalu's signature range plus this superb pesto.

Garlic scapes. WikimediaImages via Pixabay 

Look out for the pesto on your local Neighbourfood or at markets where Ballyhoura trade such as the Milk Market and Mahon Point. They are very happy with it themselves: "a Garlic Pesto more akin to a tapenade made with Ireland's Finest Garlic Scapes".

The Irish Marsh Samphire is another seasonal gem - no air miles attached - and again I bought a box of it via Neighbourfood. Ballyhoura say: Delicious salty and succulent seasonal Wild Irish Samphire aka sea asparagus. Delicious with any fish dish, mushrooms, potatoes, or simply sautéed in butter."

Tried it with a nice piece of salmon and new potatoes, butter and not a whole pile more. Superb. There's certainly a salty tang from it but there is something clean and fresh about it, not as sharp as your normal salt. Another local product well worth a try!

Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms

Monday, June 7, 2021

Taste of the Week. A Local Salad, Boy

Taste of the Week.

A Local Salad, Boy

The sun may not be as constant as we would like, but these are certainly salad days. And it so easy to put a good one together, just like this very local combination, our Taste of the Week.

The main player here is perhaps the Ardsallagh Goats Cheese, a renowned East Cork product that is readily available. Also in there is a terrific Spiced Apple and Carrot Chutney from On The Pig's Back. And those tasty little red salad onions come from Kilbrack Farm in North Cork. The leaves and radishes from the back garden!

As you know, I'm a big fan of Neighbourfood and virtually everything (cheese, onions, chutney, tomatoes) above came through my delivery so that made it even easier for me! 

Enjoy and continue to support local.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Taste of the Week. On The Pig's Back Couscous Salad

Taste of the Week

On The Pig's Back Couscous Salad

Couscous has become very well-known here over the past few decades. You can use it as an accompaniment to meat dishes. Tagine is a regular example.Or you may enjoy it as a standalone salad.

Either way, you'll find it hard to top the fresh and spicy Couscous salad with carrots, peppers, raisins and almonds, and Moroccan spices that On The Pig's Back produce. It is our current Taste of the Week.

We ordered it (€5.50) via Neighbourfood and paired it with those very tasty Skeaghanore duck confit legs (widely available, including via Neighbourfood). A superb result!

On The Pig's Back


Sunday, May 9, 2021

Roughty Foodie - K. O’Connell Fish - Izz Cafe - Bradleys - Neighbourfood - Dungarvan Brewing. Supporting Local. Make It A DailyHabit

Roughty Foodie - K. O’Connell Fish - Izz Cafe - Bradleys - Neighbourfood - Dungarvan Brewing

Supporting Local. Make It A Daily Habit!

Lots of us are on Click and Collect these days, supporting our local restaurant, grocer, baker and supermarket. It’s easy to do once you have the hang of the technology or a son or daughter or grandchild to help out.

But it doesn’t always have to be a “big meal” at home. Budgets have to be met. In a city like Cork, well served by the English Market, various farmers markets and a string of independent grocers, it is easy enough to vary the offering, leaving room for the odd treat and still not break the bank. There is a bit of legwork involved of course but that has the benefit of meeting people and enjoying the conversations, even through the mask.

I know you each have your preferences (and particular treats) but this is what I did last Thursday and Friday. No walks involved with the first dish as the Musakhan was delivered via Neighbourfood on Wednesday evening. The Musakhan? You may well ask.

Well it is a dish from the Palestinian Izz Café on Georges Quay, consisting of local fresh Irish chicken breast, cooked with cardamom, red onions and Palestinian sumac in extra Virgil olive oil. They bake the vibrant mix on traditional dough. It is garnished with pomegranate seeds and served with a delicious yogurt dip. It is a delicious meal all round. One costs €10.50 and we shared it at lunch on Thursday. And there’s a lot more to be explored on the Izz menu!

Friday morning, we were in the English Market, heading for the O’Connell fish stall. We were in good form, lining up a treat for ourselves. John Dory, known as St Peter’s Fish around Venice (though you’ll get a different species, called Tilapia if you ask for St Peter’s Fish in Galilee). They had some on the counter and fourteen euro later we had our catch.

But what would we use with it? Minutes after, while chatting to Margo Ann at the Roughty Foodie, I saw the answer: a three euro bundle of fresh asparagus! The vegetable (I'm not sprayed!) and superbly fresh and flavoursome fish went down a treat at dinner.

On up to Bradleys then for bread and jam and a few other basics. I was primarily on the lookout though for the newly canned beers from Dungarvan Brewery and scored the full hat trick here. Looking forward to trying them very soon!

Friday, April 30, 2021

Taste of the Week. Izz Café's Medjool Stuffed Coated Dates

Taste of the Week 

Medjool Stuffed Coated Dates

The Izz Cafe's bowl of three jumbo sized Medjool dates, stuffed with almonds and coated with chocolate and coconut or pistachio, is our Taste of the Week. 
Medjool dates are widely acknowledged as the best of dates. Here, enhanced by the additions of the Izz Cafe, they are even better.
I got mine via NeighbourFood where the café has a large selection of it sweet and savoury offerings available. Well worth checking out!
Find out more about the Izz Café here.
* By the way, if you do get your hands on some "plain" Medjool dates, they make a terrific match with blue cheese, especially Wicklow Blue; both are available via Neighbourfood, the dates from Olives West Cork, the cheese from On The Pig's Back.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Taste of the Week. Treble by Hederman, ORSO and Riceflour GF Bakery.

Taste of the Week.

Treble by Hederman, ORSO and Riceflour GF Bakery

I've regularly thought I could get a delicious 3-course dinner from the big box that arrives when Neighbourfood delivers here. Made a deliberate attempt as I ordered it this week and hit the jackpot, on the treble.

Starter was Portuguese Fritters by Frank Hederman, mains a Chicken Borek Pie from ORSO, while the dessert was a well-named Sweet Tooth Meringue Cake by Riceflour.

Hederman's Portuguese Fritters with Hot Smoked Salmon and Tartar sauce. Frank himself calls them "dreamy light pillows of hot smoked salmon, potato, parsley, garlic and smoked chillies, bound with beaten egg and rolled in Panko bread crumbs". And they are a delicious dream and, something else, that tartar sauce is also a champion. 

But don't take my word for it. Here's what Michelin Chef Miyazaki wrote on Twitter on Thursday (yesterday): “Fritters are amazing, very tasty!! Tartar sauce is nice with it also .. fritters texture reminds me of when my mother used to make crab cream croquettes when I was child. Amazing”.

We shared the four that came in the packet as a starter with a salad, the leaves from Purple Squirrel Farm. They may also be used as a main course. Lots of suggestions for using this and other Hederman products on their website. Colm O'Gorman is a regular contributor to Hederman and he created these beauties.

We were in for another very pleasant surprise with our main course: ORSO Chicken Borek Pie. Borek is a family of baked filled pastries made of a thin flaky dough such as phyllo or yufka, typically filled with meat. It is a Turkish word and the pie or versions of it are found in many neighbouring countries.

Our filling was Chicken, Apricot, Sage, Onion, Barley, Nutmeg, Sesame, Oregano, Sumac, Salt and Chilli. It turned out to be a very harmonious combination, with the chicken and apricot the leading duo. Again, you could try one of these and divide between two for a very tasty lunch! The picture above has a complete pie on the bottom with an open half of another on top.

And the pleasant surprises continued with the dessert: the Sweet Tooth Meringue Cake by Riceflour. Layers of luscious sweetness, yum from top to bottom, from first to last.

And, another surprise, at least for me! Riceflour, a gluten free bakery, is run by Spanish sisters Silvia and Olga, who you may remember from farmers markets and food festivals of a few years back. I often wondered had they returned to Spain but here they are now and I'm sure  your sweet-tooth will join with mine in welcoming this lively duo back to the food stage.

Think I'll let them have the last word on our dessert: "Sweet Tooth treat is a stunning creation which boasts decadent swathes of a whipped consistency of meringue with numerous layers of our crisp puffy pastry in the outside. Available in individual portions or as a full cake for any occasion." See their other products here.


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Taste of the Week. The Big Cork Salad with Jack McCarthy, ORSO, Olives West Cork, Purple Squirrel, On the Pig's Back, Neighbourfood.

Taste of the Week. 

The Big Cork Salad.

Salad with Jack McCarthy, ORSO, Olives West Cork, Purple Squirrel, On the Pig's Back, Neighbourfood.

How many hands does it take to make a lively tasty salad at the start of spring. Quite a few as it turned out last weekend. But it turned out very well indeed. Quite a Taste of the Week!

The leaves, a lovely mix, came from Purple Squirrel Farm. There was Sweet Pickled Onion from ORSO, adding a delicious kick. From Olives West Cork came Freshly Marinated Koroneiki Olives (big plump and superb) and Semi Sundried Tomatoes (big juicy Sicilians that had to be cut down to size with a scissors). 

The main star of the dish was Jack McCarthy's Pastrami (left), all the way from Kanturk, and supplied to Neighbourfood via On the Pig's Back. Indeed all the ingredients came via Neighbourfood, illustrating once again how this organisation is helping small producers and at the same time giving customers the chance to taste the very best around.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Taste of the Week. Irish Pie's Smoked Bacon and Colcannon Pie

Taste of the Week 
Irish Pies Smoked Bacon and Colcannon Pie


Up to a few weeks back, I'd never heard of the company called Irish Pies. But then they, like many more excellent producers, popped up on the NeighbourFood offerings. I ordered the Smoked Bacon and Colcannon Pie.

They described it as "A delicious creamy pie filled with smoked bacon, cabbage, leeks and cheddar cheese". Quite an accurate account as it turned out and we enjoyed our new Taste of the Week no end. Every last bite, including those delicious bacon chunks, vanished. Now I need to look up the other choices which include Chicken & Mushroom Pie, Beef & Stout Pie and Vegetable Pie. Each, aside from Veggie (7.00), costs eight euro. Well worth it!

Irish pies are a Cork based food company. "We dedicate ourselves to producing artisan savoury pies for food markets in the Munster area. Our focus is on Irish cookery and we use recipes that date back generations to produce a home cooked pie just like mammy would make.
All our pies can be frozen. This is a large meal for one person and very satisfying! Our ingredients are kept local, just like our pies."

As always, I'm very happy to support local!

Irish Pies


Tel: 0899532807

Friday, February 12, 2021

Taste of the Week. Spiced Apple & Carrot Chutney by On The Pig's Back

Taste of the Week

Spiced Apple & Carrot Chutney

by On The Pig's Back

The quality of the produce available from On The Pig's Back - Cheese, Meat, Deli, Pantry, Wine - is consistently good. Always worth a gamble, though in truth, it is never a risk. This is underlined with their Spiced Apple and Carrot Chutney, our current Taste of the Week.

We got it in one of our Neighbourfood orders and soon found it does what it says on the tin, and so much more.  Over a couple of lunches we paired it with local cheeses and it enhanced them each time. Shouldn't be surprised really as everything that we've tasted from their kitchen, has always been premier class. So there you are, another one for your shopping list.

On The Pig's Back

Unit 26, St Patrick's Mill Douglas, Cork, T12 E952
Tel: 021 4617832
Andd, of course, you'll also find them in the English Market.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Taste of the Week. Hederman's Smoked Haddock Chowder

 Taste of the Week

 Hederman's Smoked Haddock Chowder

with Garam Masala & Black pepper

The stallholders of English Market in Cork are well-known for their ability to chat and Frank Hederman (the ace of fish-smokers) is one of them. So no surprise that his chowder has quite the title: Hederman's Smoked Haddock Chowder with Garam Masala & Black pepper. It is also our Taste of the Week.

The Hederman kitchen has long known that curry spices work really well with smoked haddock (in dishes such as Kedigree) and so the Garam Masala and Black pepper were added. And the combination worked superbly. The chowder is packed full of texture and flavour and a treat on a cold day. Totally delicious.

It comes in a 400gr pot and the contents make a main dish for one or two (large) cups for two. Well worth checking out. You may get it at The English Market or, as I did, via Neighbourfood.

Frank Hederman
Belvelly Smokehouse
Co. Cork

Thursday, January 21, 2021

A Quart of Ale± #31. Moving on over to craft with Stout & Porter. Elbow Lane - Whiplash - Eight Degrees - Cloudwater.


Scaldy Artwork by Sophie De Veres

A Quart of Ale± #31

Moving on over to craft. 

Stout/Porter. Elbow Lane - Whiplash - Eight Degrees - Cloudwater.

What's the difference between stout and porter?

I think Beer FAQ (Jeff Cioletti) sums it up pretty well. Porter is a very close cousin to stout... aficionados are hard-pressed to describe the exact differences between the two. Generally, porters are a bit lighter in body and a little less opaque than stouts...

... Stouts are very roast-forward and coffee-like and have even more variations than porter.

Elbow Lane “Liberty” Porter 4.8%, 500ml bottle via NeighbourFood

This "robust" Cork porter is black as a blacksmith’s hands and the soft coffee coloured head soon is just a thin trace across the surface. The aromas are fresh, chocolate and toffee off the roasted malts. The hops in the kettle are Pilgrim and Fuggles and then the dry-hopping in the cellar tank with “Styrian Dragon” emphasise the hoppy aroma and also ensures a dry hoppy finish.

Quite an amazing porter, one that makes me reconsider my long held opinion that stout is best. If you are inclined at all towards the black stuff, then do please give this one a try and let me know what you think.

Elbow Lane say it pairs nicely with richer warming dishes like roast or smoked meats and stews or strong cheeses. And they should know as all their beers here are crafted to go well with the food they serve in the company’s various restaurants that now include the original Market Lane, Castle Cafe, Orso, Elbow Lane and, most recently, Goldie’s. “This beer for these strange times is aptly named after Liberty Street in Cork city.” And, if you like the porter, you’ll also enjoy their Angel Lane stout. All their beers are named after lanes in the city (some of which no longer exist, though their names endure via plaques on the footpath surface of various streets - you’ll see quite a few in North Main Street).

Whiplash “Scaldy” Robust Porter 5.5%, 400ml can via Bradley’s

Black is the colour of my scaldy porter from Whiplash. Scaldy? You may well ask. Well Scaldy is that baldy crank sitting on the high stool by the bar counter. You’re hoping he doesn’t notice you, that you just might get away to the far corner with your pint of porter without a word from yer man. But he’s on guard, looking for an opening to start an argument.

Best avoided. But no need to avoid this fine porter with its dense black colour and its fast-fading head. I’ve always, rightly or wrongly, associated fast-fading heads or virtually no head at all with porter. 

Goes back to the very early 60s in Kelly’s pub/grocery in Belderrig on the north coast of Mayo. You asked for a pint. The lady behind the counter grabbed the white jug, cracked enamel and all, ducked down behind the counter and rose up to fill your glass with the black stuff and nary a sign of a head. You didn’t complain then - she still had that big jug in her hand! 

Strong coffee in the Scaldy aromas and also on the palate, milky chocolate too and sweet toffee also, not a million kilometres from a pint of Beamish. Dry on the lips and a touch of smokiness in the mix as well.  Smooth, soft and malty, thanks to no less than seven malts. Dry too in the long finish.

They say: Scaldy Porter is an old homebrewing recipe and has been a favourite amongst the scaldys for some years now. A porter that doesn’t give a shite about what abv you reckon it should be, its focus is on pushing a big malt bill to your nose and bringing you back to your scaldy days if you’ve settled down by now. 


ABV – 5.5%

 IBU’s – 61

330ml bottle

Artwork by Sophie De Veres

Malts: Pale, Munich, Brown, Smoked, Chocolate, Columbus, WLP007. 

Must admit the positive verdict wasn’t unanimous here. Offered a taste to CL and this was the response: “I’d take the pledge if that’s all I had to drink.” Scaldy, the adjective, came to mind but I didn’t dare voice it.

Eight Degrees Knockmealdown Irish Stout 6.0%

Black is the colour and the head - won’t be there for long - is like my wet suede shoes (they didn’t last too long either). Aromas speak of chocolate powder, rather loudly. On the palate, it is smooth and rich, full of the expected coffee, chocolate and caramel. Smooth and rich as in the traditional style and the finish is dry with enough bitterness to keep the pleasing balance.

They say: Like tackling the Knockmealdowns in a blizzard, this beer is not for wimps. A robust malt-driven ale, this is our evolution of a traditional Irish stout. Makes a beef stew taste that bit beefier, contrasts beautifully with blue cheese or go sweet and enjoy with an intense chocolate cake.  

Food is never faraway from Eight Degrees and here’s the detailed advice on this one: For something completely different, hang on to the stout for the end of the meal; bold chocolate and espresso flavours make it a good accompaniment to a dense, dark chocolate cake or contrast the sweetness of the stout with the saltiness of our local Cashel Blue cheese. Well worth trying in a chocolate cake or these Double Chocolate Knockmealdown Irish Stout Brownies.


Style: Dry Irish stout
Malt: Pale ale malt, chocolate malt, wheat malt, roast barley and Crisp 400.
Hops: Nugget.
Strength: 6% ABV
Bitterness: 24 IBUs

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Cloudwater and Rock Leopard “Step Up”  Stout 5.0%, 440 via Bradley’s

Colour’s black as can be with a flimsy head. The brewers give the aromas as roasted malt, coffee and light smoke - no problem agreeing with that.  And you get more of the same on the palate with caramel and some fruit flavour thrown in. Decent enough, it is easy-drinking all the way with this medium bodied beer, finishing dry with more of that coffee and caramel.

They say: Cloudwater and Rock Leopard combined for this one, stepping up to help charity with 5% of the takings donated to help. An easy-drinking delicious stout for chilling together, hanging out, great food, good times.