Showing posts with label Stonewell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stonewell. Show all posts

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Stonewell Sting. Drink of the Week. Maybe drink of the summer!

Stonewell Sting. Maybe the drink of the summer!

Stonewell Sting Limited Edition Craft Cider, 5.50% ABV, Ballymaloe Food Festival

One of the most refreshing drinks of the summer.

I'm pretty sure I was the first person, aside from the Stonewall crew, to taste this exquisite cider, now our taste of the week. I got that first "sting" at their stall in the Ballymaloe Food Festival earlier this month.

Colour is pale gold, with a few

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Non-Alcoholic Cider Gems By Highbank and Stonewell

Non-Alcoholic Cider Gems 

By Highbank and Stonewell 

Two of the best non-alcoholic drinks, across cider, wine and beer, that you are likely to come across. 

Highbank Organic Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Drivers Cider, 0% ABV, 330 ml bottle, Ballymaloe Food Festival

Made with Organic Cider apples from the Highbank Farm in

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Cork's Stonewell win International Flavoured Cider Trophy, awarded "an esteemed accolade" at yesterday's Worldwide Brewers and Cidermakers Industry ‘Oscars’

 Worldwide Brewers and Cidermakers Taste Success at Industry ‘Oscars’

Cork's Stonewell win International Flavoured Cider Trophy and awarded "an esteemed accolade"  

Stonewell's Daniel Emerson raising his trophy! Pic by Simon Dewhurst

Of the 13 trophies awarded, six went to Europe, four awarded to Asia, two to North America, and one Australia

For the first time in the Awards’ 138-year history, two brewers were crowned trophy winners in The Smallpack Ale competition


Winners from across the globe have received

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Big congrats to Stonewell Ciders who have been awarded two Golds and a Silver at Cidermaking Industry ‘Oscars'

 Stonewell Cider Gains Global Recognition 

at Cidermaking Industry ‘Oscars’

Big congrats to all at Stonewell Ciders who have been awarded two Golds and a Silver in the Cider with Other Fruits & Flowers, the Open Class and the Modern Cider categories respectively at the International Brewing & Cider Awards 2024, specifically Rós (Rhubarb & Apple Cider), Tawny 10 and Stonewell Cider Medium Dry.

Following three days of deliberation from an international panel of 38 judges from around the world, 115 medals were awarded to beers and ciders including winners from Cambodia, China, Czech Republic, Ireland, Finland, Norway, Taiwan, Thailand, USA and the UK.  

For the first time in its 138-year history, Manchester hosted the brewing industry ‘Oscars’ which date back to 1886 and have a rich history championing the world’s best brewers and cider-makers.

The International Brewing & Cider Awards relocated to Depot Mayfield in Manchester this year and – in another first – was accompanied by a public festival. The two-day International Brewing & Cider Festival will provide a rare opportunity for the public to sample the range of beers and ciders entered into the competition, including the award-winners. 

Stonewell's Daniel Emerson tasting.
The judging for The International Brewing & Cider Awards took place over three days between 19th – 21st March and provided an unparalleled opportunity for brewers and cidermakers to have their products evaluated by internationally acclaimed, commercially practising international brewers and cidermakers, led by Chair of Beer Judging, Rob McCaig and Chair of Cider Judging, Gabe Cook. 

Ruth Evans MBE, Director of the International Brewing & Cider Awards, said: “It’s been an honour to recognise and celebrate the extraordinary beers and ciders across the world at our new home here in Manchester.

“We support the brewing and cidermaking industry on a not-for-profit basis, and the Awards has a long and rich history championing the best beers and ciders going into the market. 

“This week, we’ve had some of the best brewers and cidermakers in the world judge our prestigious competition and I’d like to personally thank all of them, as well as all the brewers and cidermakers who entered their products to make this year’s Awards one to remember. 

“We’re thrilled to be able to continue to provide a platform to reward the best beers and ciders with the recognition they so truly deserve. And for the first time ever expand to launch our Festival, providing the public a chance to sample these award-winning drinks from the most extensive collection of international beers and cider in Europe.”

Rob McCaig, Chair of Beer Judging, said: “We’ve had such an outstanding lineup of judges from all corners of the world, and they’ve all done a remarkable job tasting and evaluating some of the finest beers from around the globe. 

“This year proved to be one of the toughest yet to determine which of the beers were deserving of a medal. We had an exceptional amount of great quality beers enter this year, making the job of our judging panel extremely difficult. It’s a shame we couldn’t award more medals, as there were so many beers that were deserving of the accolade – some of which narrowly missed out. 

“We saw a significant increase in entries in the Non & Low Alcohol category, which reflects the growing demand in the industry, and also saw an influx of international brewers enter the Smallpack Ale category, which is very promising. Historically, this category has often been dominated by the UK, but this year saw the inclusion of breweries from Japan, North America and South America.”   

Gabe Cook, Chair of Cider Judging, said: “It has been a great pleasure once again to chair the world’s premier cider competition. This year has been the best calibre of judges we’ve ever had, coming from all over the world including Japan, Latvia, Norway, USA, Spain and the UK. 

A winner!

“The incredible global range has also been reflected in the cider entries, with entries arriving from Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America. 

“This has undoubtedly been the most difficult competition to judge – the quality of ciders has been truly, so high. It’s great to see that cidermakers have been upping their game on the quality, and those that were awarded a medal in their category is a recognition truly deserved. 

“We have seen a lot of fun and playful ciders being entered into the Open Class, which provides cidermakers with a bit of freedom to do something a little different, which is always nice to see.” 

The competition’s unique approach to the judging process sets it apart from other awards, which ensures each beer and cider is judged fairly and rigorously on its quality and commercial value. The 38-strong judging panel was chosen to reflect the current expertise in the tasting and commercial evaluation of beers and ciders going into the market and blind tasted hundreds of beers and ciders submitted by brewers and cidermakers from around the world. It is these values that has earnt it the reputation as the ‘Oscars of the brewing and cider world’.  

All the gold, silver and bronze medal winners announced at Depot Mayfield, Manchester will collect their medals at an official Awards Ceremony on 1st May 2024 at The Guildhall in London, when 12 trophy winners will also be announced.

A full list of all 2024 medal winners can be found on The International Brewing & Cider Awards’ website: 

The International Brewing & Cider Awards 2024 are supported by headline sponsors; Barth-Haas Group, Krones and Fermentis. Trophy sponsors include; drinktech + Marketing, The Morning Advertiser, Brauwelt, BFBI, All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, British Guild of Beer Writers, and Institute of Brewing & Distilling. 


Thursday, August 17, 2023

Electric's "Cork on a Fork Fest Menu" Highlights Local Producers

 Electric's "Cork on a Fork Fest Menu" Highlights Local Producers

Got ourselves an upstairs window table overlooking the river as we enjoyed the special Cork on a Fork Festival Menu at South Mall's Electric yesterday evening. We had a great view of the sunny scene and the outdoor tables by the boardwalk were packed. 

Local producers are highlighted on the menu including Ardsallagh Goats, Twomey's Butchers, Toons Bridge Dairy, Stonewell, Kinnegar, 9 White Deer, Franciscan Well and Beamish! The menu consists of three courses, costs €35.00 per person and runs until Saturday the 19th of August. There are choices under each course heading and some delicious surprises along the way, including that Beamish dessert! Check it all out here at Cork on a Fork or book direct at Electric.

Both of our starters were top drawer.
The Carpaccio of Twomey's Beef Fillet (above) came with wild mushrooms and shallot rings and was packed with flavour and also much more tender than most of the type, much closer to melt in the mouth, a million miles away from those tough and stringy examples you sometimes come across.

Our other starter (below) was Ballycotton Scallops with Two
mey's Black Pudding and shallot. This is a tried and tested combination enhanced here by quality ingredients.
The third starter on the menu was Ardsallagh Goats Cheese parcel with Blackberry & Apple Compote. Sounds good too!

Must say I was very happy indeed with my juicy cheesy mains, the Toons Bridge Mozzarella Moussaka with Grilled Aubergine, Courgette & Crushed Tomatoes (above). The vegetables, especially the tomatoes, were just superb.

Above, we have your classic fish and chips, another superb dish from the Electric kitchen described as Ballycotton Beer Battered Hake and Chips with minted pea purée, tempura. You had no bother finding the generous fish here as the batter was less than wafer thin.
The third mains available was Twomey's 6-oz sirloin steak with Mushrooms, Onion Rings, Goose Fat Chips and North Cork Garlic Butter

We enjoyed both desserts but the Beamish and Date Pudding with Beamish Caramel and Vanilla Ice Cream (below) got the nod as being the favourite on the night! Dangerously delicious! Not that there was anything amiss with the West Cork Strawberry Mille Feuille with the Strawberry and Prosecco Coulis. 

One for the road? This Stonewell is the one!

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Glass Curtain reveals its Cork on a Fork Fest Menu. Tried and tested last evening.

 Glass Curtain Reveals Its Cork on a Fork Fest Menu

The Glass Curtain was packed last evening as the popular Cork restaurant revealed its menu for the Cork on a Fork Fest that continues from today until Sunday with over 100 events scheduled. The good news is for the lucky punters who have booked as they will sample the Glass Curtain menu every evening with a booking between 5.00 and 6.00pm while the bad news for others is that the event has been booked out for every day.

The menu costs €38.00 for three courses (starter, main and dessert) but you can also treat yourself to a snack and also a special cocktail (both extra). And of course they have quite a wine list here also and I noted the Cotton Ball beers were going down well last evening. The restaurant supports local and that can also be seen in the menus.

Our starters last night were Skeaghanore duck terrine, house pickles, rhubarb relish (top) and Sticky beets, pistachio cream, Sobhriste cheese. The beets and cheese were probably my dish of the night. The cheese is a crumbly, younger, milled-curd style, like a Caerphilly/Lancashire. Sobhriste, meaning fragile or delicate, is aged for roughly 6 weeks. It has a subtle, slightly lactic flavour, with a crumbly texture and biscuity rind. Delicious. And the terrine was excellent also!


The Grilled mackerel, spicy padron broth, nasturtium was the third starter choice.

I was on a dry night, but that was no bother as I was able
 to enjoy a couple of bottles of Stonewell Non-Alcoholic
Cider. I reckon this is one of the best 
non-alcoholic drinks,
if not the best, in Ireland.

On to the mains now and CL was impressed with the BBQ cod, San Marzano tomato, courgette, and bouillabaisse sauce while I enjoyed my Lost Valley Dairy rare breed pork, grilled beans, rowan berry jus, cauliflower (especially the pork belly). Sides (optional) included Potato Terrine (pictured with pork), Summer Salad, and Greens.

The third choice in this section was the Grilled Peri Peri courgette, tempura courgette flower, pumpkin seeds, courgette.

Delighted to see the fabulous fruit of West Cork Bushbys featuring not once but twice in the desserts and that made the choosing easy. CL picked the Bushby's strawberry, ricotta ice cream, oat biscuit while my choice was the Milk chocolate crémeux, chocolate sablé, Bushby's raspberries, and yoghurt sorbet. No regrets there! Though I'm sure the Carraignamuc farmhouse cheese, honeycomb, and cheese biscuits would have been delicious as well.

A sweet end to a lovely buzzy evening of terrific food and service. 


Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Drinking Beer While Dining Out. Elbow Lane and Radisson Hotel. CorkBillyBeers #18: Craft Beer with Food!

CorkBillyBeers #18

Craft Beer with Food!

Drinking Beer While Dining Out

Elbow Lane and Radisson Hotel

Steak in the lane

If you like a beer when dining out, then it's hard to beat Cork’s Elbow Lane as it is both a smokehouse and a brewhouse.

Black Lager
And, unlike some brewhouses, Elbow Lane are always welcoming to new brews. Such was the case the other night. They even dropped their own fantastic stout in favour of the Ukrainian equivalent called Resist* on draught . 

And they also have the terrific Kolsch from 9 White Deer in bottle. We like our Kolsch around here and this one got an unsolicited ringing endorsement from a friend of ours who enjoyed it recently at a concert in the White Horse and said they thought they were back home in Germany.

Two of our party went for the host's Wisdom Ale, another for the Stonewell Cider. But the one I couldn’t resist was another guest in draught: the Schwarzbier  by the Dublin Brewery Hopburgh (a project of JW Sweetman’s).  A few Irish brewers, including Kinnegar, Whitefield, Whiplash and Lineman, have relatively recently brewed in this German style, essentially a black lager. 

The later history of this style goes back to the toppling of the Berlin Wall (according to World Atlas of Beer) and the re-unification of Germany. “What the five East German states brought back to the nation was Schwarzbier.” It had more or less died out in the west of the country. Those states also brought Angela Merkel of course!

Elbow Lane (pic by JR, one of our group).
Looks like 
the chef in action 
through right hand panel of door

The cool fermentation method used places these beers in the lager style and, as it is made from roasted malt, it has a dark colour and so some of flavours of stout. Quite a happy hybrid as far as I’m concerned.

The brewers say that long cold conditioning means the beer is crisp and clean but the use of toasted malts adds texture and a subtle richer flavour.

I can endorse that, a very enjoyable pint indeed, easy drinking - don’t be put off by the black colour. The ABV by the way is 5.2%. And I enjoyed the company so I wasn’t really taking notes. 

Also I enjoyed my terrific Wood-grilled Rib-eye with toasted Cascade butter, with a side salad and fries. Before that, the Smoked lamb sausage, grilled plum mustard, and brussel kraut, was easily dispatched. I think CL has become addicted to their Slow smoked baby back ribs, with that amazing house sauce.

Radisson Venison Hot Pot

A few days earlier, the four of us had been part of a larger group at a “reunion” dinner in the Radisson in Little Island. Lot of changes down there since I was a kid chasing rabbits around a very rural island indeed, the reward then a glass of lemonade at the Dew Drop Inn (now the Island Gate).

What I did notice in the hotel was that they had two taps, one selling Pale Ale and one Lager, and both badged as Hungry Hills. They say they are their own beers and as far as I know they are brewed locally - must check that out! In any case, I can recommended the Pale Ale.

And the food menu is pretty good here too. Watch out for dishes using Andarl Farm produce. This time though, I said I’d go for the seasonal Venison Hot Pot (Braised venison with bitter chocolate and chili seared potatoes) and it was terrific. Those that choose the Fish and Chips were quite happy as were those that had Salmon and also those on the Chicken Burger. 

Resist is loosely based on a recipe released by the Pravda brewery in Ukraine at the start of the conflict. They encouraged all brewers to produce it as a special as they were busy making Molotov cocktails, so our brewers  did. It is a full bodied stout with roasted malt and a kiss of beetroot and is, fittingly, courageously robust! Profits from it go to the International Red Cross.
** One other dining room I enjoy going into is the Mad Monk by Quinlans in Killarney. Here they have just two beers on draught, both from the local Killarney Brewery, the Golden Spear Blonde and, my favourite, the Casey Brothers Stout. Would love sometime to have a head to head between the Casey Brothers and the Angel Stout from Elbow Lane. No losers there, I'd say!
Smoked Lamb Sausage

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Long May Dede Reign In Baltimore

 Long May Dede Reign In Baltimore

Ottoman Spiced Firik Risotto

When I was growing up (in the middle of the last century), I was aware of three grain crops: barley, oats and wheat. I knew them well, from the time they broke ground to the time they were threshed (the workers enjoyed a bottle or two of the black stuff!). 

Later on, much later on, I became aware of other grains (rye, spelt) and, last weekend in Baltimore, Dede introduced us to another one or at least to another variation: Firik, an ancient grain from his Turkey.

Aged Striploin (Wagyu Dexter cross)

And there was much more from Ahmet Dede’s native country including mulberries, his spice mix, Turkish cold pressed olive oil. Indeed, he has some 50 different spices, oils, molasses, nuts, grains and more from Turkey.

Sourdough and glimpses of Stonewell Cider.

The restaurant in the local Customs House elaborates:  “Our spiced based Turkish fusion cuisine is created by using raw and fresh ingredients from West Cork… An emphasis on beautiful local produce married with Chef Ahmet Dede’s Turkish heritage…”. 

Turkish Delight

And then, to the premium inputs from Turkey and Ireland,  he and his team add amazing technical skills, precision and attention to detail.

We start our culinary trek, no cutlery required for this first step, with a couple of amazing snacks. One is based on a biscuit made from mushrooms, a toothsome squeeze of mature Coolea, then a sliver of onion, all crowned with a spicy crisp. The other was the dolma,  a top to bottom segment of poached onion stuffed with rice, topped with smoked yogurt and caviar, and decorated with chive flowers. 

Red Mulberry Vacherin

What a beginning! And it just got better. As we made our delightful way through the many courses, we said “that was the best” and repeated the phrase again when the next one came along.

But this next one was truly amazing, an illustration that this Irish-Turkish fusion was giving us the most amazing food. It was the Spiced Lobster Bisque, Brown Crab Manti and Caviar. The fish of course came from the waters around the nearby islands and the cape.


Around this point, he introduced us to his beautiful sourdough bread along with the Turkish olive oil and the Irish butter from Gloun Dairy. 

Now time for another gem: Langoustine, radish, pea, smoked Crème Fraiche, and spiced consommé. And it just got better with the Cod, Chicken, Butter, Grapefruit, Lobster, and Fermented Chili Oil. The cod is not a rare fish on Irish menus but rarely do you get it so pristine and beautiful as this, singing on the plate. Of course it had a classy chorus to accompany it.

Rice pudding tartlet

Course six was soon in front of us, the only meat of the day, a Wagyu and Dexter cross Aged Striploin, Ottoman Spiced Firik, Mint, Carrot, Kumquat and Isot. The meat, from Macroom, was excellent and yet it was that Firik that stole my taste buds, quite an amazing “risotto” with the grain looking like pearl barley but so much more flavoursome. In fairness, the grain and the meat together were quite the main course.

It was to be cheese and sweet all the way after that and so we switched from Stonewell Cider to Killahora Ice Wine, just as the Red Mulberry Vacherin (a soft cow’s cheese), pomegranate, wood sorrel, young meadowsweet, arrived on the table. It looked beautiful but, we were “ordered” to smash it with the spoon. And, having taken the photo of course, we did the vandal bit and then tucked in and enjoyed every large and little fragment.

Hazelnut Bon Bon

Next a trio of small sweets were introduced: Hazelnut Bon Bon, Blood Orange & Cardamom along with the best Turkish Delight I’ve ever tasted.

And yet one more treat before we made a leisurely farewell. As with all the previous courses, our friendly and efficient servers (and there were quite a few) gave us the details and, on this occasion, the chef showed amazing precision as he made the most flawless quinnelles to top the Sütlaç ‘Rice Pudding’ Tartlet.  

Killahora Ice Wine. Delicious

And that topped our memorable 10 course lunch at the Michelin Star restaurant. Thanks to Dede and Maria and to their lovely staff. Long may they reign in Baltimore.

Baltimore Video (short)

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Sunday Lunch at Ballymaloe House is one to experience time and again

Sunday Lunch at Ballymaloe House is one to experience time and again. 

Sweet Spots!

“This is not cheap food, it is food that has been loved and cared for by knowledgeable producers.  We think that it is Ireland's best.” Myrtle Allen. 

Sunday’s lunch in Ballymaloe House showed how well loved the local food produce is by the kitchen staff and by us, the customers. The food on the plate speaks for itself. It is indeed all on plates (no flowerpots), no nitro show, no foams, no coloured dots.

Beetroot starter

Still, the food here is very well presented. It looks appetising. And it is. That is soon confirmed. The experience - and even without the dots, the flowerpots, the nitro and the foams - this is quite the experience, aided in no small way by the culture of calm courtesy and quiet efficiency of the reception and serving staff.

So we are seated in one of the high-ceilinged rooms, not the only such room in use on the day. We have ordered. Soon, our server is back with an offering of delicious cheese croquettes (not mentioned on the menu!) which we enjoy while we wait for our starters.

Fritto Misto

And that’s when it began to get serious, seriously enjoyable. For this is a comfortable experience (not just the chair) - you won’t be left wondering what you have on your plate, nothing is deconstructed here.

My starter is Sesame Crusted Fritto Misto di Mare with Roast Garlic Aioli and Parsley oil while CL has the Ruby Beetroot Fritters with Preserved Lemon Salsa and Farm Yogurt. 


The fish (soft and white) on my plate are squid and ray wing, the aioli and oil a key part of a deftly crusted dish that you don’t come across everyday, really really excellent. And as is often the case it is the little things on the plate that can make the difference, that Salsa and Yogurt lifting the local beetroot to a different level.


Other starters available included Cannellini Bean & Chorizo Broth; Spinach Gnocchi with Roast Cherry Tomatoes; and Pâté Maison.

Virtually everything is local here, much of it ultra-local as it comes from their own walled garden and farm. 


They don’t have their own wine but they are trying! There is a quite a list presented to us and we pick the delicious Picpoul de Pinet, Château Petit Roubié,  one of the house whites, at €8.50 a glass or €30.00 a bottle, and one that we know and love from the Mary Pawle portfolio.While this list is quite large, there is also the fuller list, one that you may need to start studying before you travel! 

I did notice quite a few local drinks on the house drinks list, including their own gin, beers from the Cotton Ball and Blacks of Kinsale. As the designated driver, I was very happy to see the Stonewell Non Alcoholic available (€5.00 a bottle), one of the best of its type in the country and one that I enjoyed again.

Time now for the main event and soon CL was tucking into the Pan-seared Ballycotton Cod and Scallop with Bretonne Sauce and Braised Florence Fennel. A superb piece of well cooked fish, well teamed with the fennel and the Bretonne. Perfection on the plate.

I was every bit as pleased with the Roast East Cork Leg of Lamb with salsa verde and crushed Swede Turnips. Another highlight, again not mentioned on the menu, was the redcurrant jelly (that came in the most attractive spouted mini serving boat) and the jelly made the already toothsome lamb even more so. Our main courses were served with Scallion champ along with seasonal Roast Carrots and Parsnips.

Other choices on the day were Clancy’s free-range chicken with Tarragon stuffing, Kilmacahill Beef Cheeks Braised with shallots and Marsala jus, and Gently spiced aubergine, St Tola Cheese. 

Ballymaloe in January 2022

Over the decades, Ballymaloe has become loved for its ultra tempting Sweet Trolley, a tradition within the tradition of the house hospitality. Between us, we came close to getting a little bit of everything including individual Blackberry and Apple tarts, Raspberry Compote (perhaps my favourite), a power-packed Tiramisu, and other melt-in-the-mouth treats.

And still we weren’t finished. Ballymaloe Fudge, more melt-in-the-mouth, was served with Golden Bean Coffee (roasted just across the road that runs between the old house and Grainstore). Tea lovers had the pick of Herb Tea or Barry’s Tea.

A little “ramble”, past a few busy dining rooms, took us to the desk to pay up and, as is often the case here, another friendly chat. Never a rush in Ballymaloe House. After all, you are made to feel “at home” in this comfortable place with its engaging staff and magnificent food.