Craft Delight With 13 Brewers At Franciscan Well Easter Fest
|Busy days for Sean at the Black's of Kinsale taps.
A baker’s dozen of Ireland’s craft breweries set up camp at the Franciscan Well and turned their well and truly revived Easter Beer Fest into a convivial carnival featuring the best of craft over the holiday weekend. Hard to resist some of the stars here, some beautiful pours over the two days, including a debut for the delicious Locavore Spring 2023, a Honey Hefeweizen, by Wicklow Wolf.
I did have a Plan A when I arrived in the busy venue on Saturday afternoon but that didn't last long. Nor did Plan B or indeed any notion of a plan. No seat available but I did get my aging back up against a solid object and relaxed.
|Spot the difference? One of these is a lager, one's a stout. Answer at end.
Lots of chats too of course, none of it too serious. We were here for the craft and the craic. Actually, black (rhymes with craic!) was on Plan A and I did get a couple in. Had a good chat with Sean from Black’s of Kinsale. I was familiar with all three of his taps, including the marvellous Red Rye Redemption.
My eyes wandered to his right and I spotted a dark lager at Lineman. Enjoyed their Schwarzbier last year so I tried the Undertone - a Czech Dark Lager (4.5%), dark with hints of red in the depths, smooth caramel, a touch of toast but all smooth and clean just like a lager should be! The Undertone, a little less roasty than a Schwarzbier, is making a return to the Lineman portfolio and is sure to get a terrific welcome.
That goes on to my shopping list for Bradley’s. In fact, all the beers mentioned here will be going on to that list. Some good weeks ahead then!
My first real black came from Phil, at the Kinnegar stand. He poured me a glass of their long-standing favourite Yannaroddy (4.8%). Long-standing maybe but you never get tired of class and this rich and creamy porter, made with love, has Donegal expertise in every sip.
|Keith McCarthy at the Wicklow Wolf taps and his Lough Gill colleagues.
My second black came later on, the Chocolate Truffle Stout from Porterhouse. This limited edition (4.2%) surprised me - I’m always a little suspicious of nitro - but very few can say no to chocolate. Very smooth of course and delicious but not too sweet at all.
More potential sweetness next, but very well balanced. Wicklow Wolf tell us their Locavore Spring 2023 is “a Honey Hefeweizen brewed with heather honey supplied by our friends at @openhivehoney. The bees worked hard in the Wicklow mountains to gather the nectar to make beautiful heather honey for this brew.” Their 2022 edition, a barrel aged ale, was one of my beers of the year and, being a big honey fan anyhow, I’ll be looking at this one more closely soon! ABV is 6.0%.
|Original 7 Red
While looking forward to that, I absolutely enjoyed their Wonderland Red Ale. Quite a mix here, according to their notes - caramel, blackcurrant, raspberry and cherry - but a well judged balance and a lovely red and a truly session-able beer with an IBU of 22 and 4.2% ABV.
So we moved from Keith (at the Wolf stand) to Simon at Galway Bay. Started with their classic Helles, the Slow Lives (5%). Next from the west was the Sister Cities (6.2%), a Sour IPA with citrus, apple, a touch of elderflower and a balancing acidity. Very drinkable indeed and looking forward to a few in a the garden in the better days ahead! Thanks Simon! And thanks to all the people we met and sorry we missed out on a few. Next time!
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Picture quiz above: stout (Porterhouse) is on the left, Lineman is the lager.