Showing posts with label Yellow Belly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yellow Belly. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Franciscan Well Easter Fest. Was 2019 the Best Yet?


Franciscan Well Easter Fest
Was 2019 the Best Yet?


Franciscan Well is located held its 20th annual Easter Festival at its North Mall location at the weekend. And, by all accounts, from the organisers, the visiting brewers and the customers, it was the best yet.

I met Franciscan Well Market Manager Kate Clancy when I called early on Sunday afternoon. She reported that the previous day was amazing. “Once we opened the doors at 1.00pm, the crowds just kept coming.”

"What a weekend we had! Beer, Easter eggs, beer out of Easter eggs, pizzas, live music and this crowd! Thanks to everyone for coming along and a huge thanks as always to our amazing staff & their hard work! 

And the brewers confirmed that. Many had run out of their headline beers which meant I didn’t get to taste Peaches and Cream by the Cotton Ball or the Witness Protection Belgian Wit by Wexford’s Yellow Belly. 
I got in before the crowd on Sunday.

It was much the same story at UCC. UCC? You might well ask. Well, yes, they have a research brewery and you’ll see them at various festivals. Like the other breweries, they ran out of certain lines and, just like the others, had to be nimble to keep the show on the road. And one I enjoyed there was Manneken Pis, named after the Belgian beer. Apparently, the Manneken Pis statue has on occasion been filled with beer and you were welcome to hold your cup up and get a fill.
No such shenanigans at Franciscan Well!

Yellow Belly's Seamus was one of the happy brewers here who also seen his stocks diminish more rapidly than expected. But I did get to sample a couple. Their Jack Bauer Power Shower, a 3.8% sour, was deliciously refreshing in the heat and CL quickly became a fan. The Wolf of Malt Street, a 6.2 per cent Black Forrest Stout, a collaboration between Yellow Belly and neighbours Wicklow Wolf, also went down well at our barrel - could have done with a seat in the heat!

I also enjoyed the Elevation Pale Ale from Wicklow Wolf, an American style Pale Ale brewed and dry hopped with Mosaic Hops. Not everyone likes the dry hop beers but it suits me fine! Great too to meet up with James Ward of Lough Gill Brewery whose Mac Nutty is one of my favourite brown beers. This time we tasted their Roller Coaster, a 4.6% Berliner Weisse, with Guava, Mango and Passionfruit. Delicious and, like the Jack Bauer, refreshing. Also met up, after a few years, from Richard from Roscommon’s Black Donkey but we were making out exit at that stage.

The Rising Sun’s Common Eileen, a California Common, was malty with a decent bitterness, with traditional old-style American Hops. Had been hoping to taste the Cotton Ball’s Peaches and Cream but Eoin reported it all sold out. Still, there was the considerable consolation of a glass of their excellent Another Bloody IPA. I hadn't tasted that with a long while and enjoyed renewing the acquaintance. Indeed, called to the Cotton itself for a small selection of bottles when we got home - the sun was still shining in the garden.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Lyrath Estate. Friendly Place. Friendly Faces


Lyrath Estate. 
Friendly Place. Friendly Faces  

Young Rudy
Ringo, Reilly, and Rudy will more than likely catch your eye during a  visit to Kilkenny’s spectacular Lyrath Estate Hotel. The hotel’s three Golden Retrievers pose in many hotel publicity shots and indeed you’ll see  them in guest wedding pics as well. But popular and all as the threesome are, it is the humans around here that you’ll rely on and, as we found out during a recent stay, they too are very friendly indeed.

Just one example. As we walked into the magnificent Yew Tree room for breakfast, we got the biggest smile and a lovely warm greeting from the lady on duty. It is not very unusual in Ireland but we were particularly delighted with it, as a week earlier, we got an unsmiling silent greeting (hardly a greeting at all) from a corresponding person in a Wexford hotel.
Front of the "old" house

Our initial greeting on arrival at Lyrath the previous day was warm as well and we got all the info we needed. Soon we were passing their very impressive Christmas decorations, all on a grand scale under the high ceiling, and heading off to our executive room. The 137 rooms are generally off from the central part of the hotel, itself based on the original mansion.

There are a number of room categories and Executive rooms offer more space for guests to enjoy and come with a king size bed. They include an entrance hallway, a walk-in wardrobe/dressing area and large bathroom with double basins, bath and separate walk in shower. Our room overlooked the estate. We certainly had all we needed with a separate toilet in the bathroom, TV of course and the WifI was perfect as well.

Head Chef: Kenneth Murphy
Lyrath has just appointed Kenneth Murphy as Head Chef. The much travelled Carlowman has a wealth of experience, worked extensively with the Virgin Limited Edition Group and, more recently, was also Executive Head Chef at Fota Island Resort.

O'Hara's ale
No doubt he’ll be putting his own stamp on the menus here in due course. There are two main dining rooms, the Yew Tree (open only on Fridays and Saturdays at present) and the very comfortable Grill and Bar, situated on the mezzanine over the entrance foyer.

We were there in midweek and our reservation was at the Grill. First we called to the bar there and again had a lovely chat with a young barman. He filled us in on what was available when we requested Gin and Tonic and we were glad to hear they had Dingle Gin. So we enjoyed those before strolling across the floor to the restaurant.
Twilight at Lyrath

Like the rest of the hotel, comfort and space are the main features. Soon we were seated in a lovely booth with the menus at hand and making our choices. 
Beetroot Tartarin
Also had a good look at the wine list, quite a quality one, and CL settled on a glass of their Sepp Moser Gruner Veltliner (11.50), fruity (citrus, apple) but with excellent acidity and well able to handle the food. I was glad to see they had quite a selection of the local O’Hara’s beers in bottle and even more so when I found out the Yellow Belly Citra Ale (6.00) was available on draught. “A pint, please,” I beamed.
Beef cheek

Soon we were enjoying our starters. Mine was Smoked Salmon with beetroot purée, cucumber, fennel and cress salad. CL’s was Beetroot Tartarin, the classic combination of goats cheese, beetroot (spiced in this version), pine nuts and horseradish. We enjoyed those two.

Grilled Atlantic Salmon was CL’s choice for the mains and that came with grilled asparagus spears and béarnaise and got the thumbs up. Mine was Slow-braised Hereford Beef cheek, quite a large portion, served with shallot purée, carrots and creamy mash. It was top notch, enhanced by a side of Steak chips, heartily recommended by our server!
Santa in the lobby

Dessert choices made us think before I plunged for my first slice of Christmas pudding of the season. It came with Brandy Anglaise and vanilla ice-cream. Pas Mal!

The main bar, Tupper's, is on the ground floor and has a club like atmosphere in its two rooms with an adjoining much brighter conservatory which overlooks Lady Charlotte Wheeler-Cuffe’s Victorian garden (now restored). More beer for me, a lovely glass of draught ale, this time by O’Hara’s, sipped in front of the open fire.

The breakfast in the spacious Yew Tree, with its views over the old garden, was excellent. Great buffet choices, juices, cereals, fruits, cheese, ham, and more. 

And the kitchen was in top form too and the stack of Hugh’s Pancakes with fresh blueberries and maple syrup, along with my server's suggestion of bacon, went down a treat. My starter here was a granola-topped pot of yogurt. All good, as Christmas music played gently in the background.
Breakfast

With the weather turning nasty we were’t able to take advantage of the walks around the 170 acre estate, one marked 2.5km, another 5.km. 

At other times of the year, you’ll have, among other things, falconry and archery available. And of course they have a spa and leisure centre (with 17 metre pool). And there is also a Conference Centre here. 

All within a couple of kilometres of the heart of medieval Kilkenny. You could spend well more than a day here and that is what I’d heartily recommend. And say hello to the dogs for me!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Friday Fuar Fliuch! Here’s the Fix! Bubbles. Burgers. Beers.

Friday Fuar Fliuch! Here’s the Fix! 
Bubbles. Burgers. Beers.

For burger lovers, Coqbull Cork seemed to be the place on Friday evening last. It was jammers, a great buzz, a lively racket really, music in there somewhere (I heard the odd thud, thud). 

They come in the front door. They come in the back door. And somehow they all get seated. 

No doubt, Friday is a busy evening here anyhow but the attendance and the atmosphere was enhanced by the Burger Festival (Jan 22nd to 28th). There was even a guy trying to demolish the six-burger record set earlier that day by Bandon man Colin Minihane who “who demolished 6 burgers, fries & a Coqshake in 10.32 mins yes that’s 10.32”.

One would be enough for me thanks! Coqbull provide the full experience here. You can have starters, desserts, craft beers (including their own lager), cocktails (or coqtails) and choose from a list of top gins.

Our starters were their tasty cool Nachos (with shredded beef added) and the Coqbull Wings with their Blas gold award winning Sticky Asian sauce, a delicious combination. We avoided the Hot Coq sauce though, too hot for chickens they said.

Sipping away at a glass of their lager (CL) and a can of the Metalman Wheat beer, we moved on to the main event. My choice was the most popular burger of the week, and likely to make it on to main menu sometime soon, the Bacon Bomb: double cheese, double beef bacon infused burger, caramelised onion & pickles wrapped in a potato bread bun...served with our FAT BASTARD WEDGES smothered in our new Coqbull secret seasoning. A mega feed for sure, great flavour, especially of the bacon, and that potato bread bun wasn't half-bad either.

CL’s choice was another festival favourite here, the Supreme Bull with blue cheese, bone marrow butter, portobello mushroom, truffle mayonnaise and rocket.

Another interesting one, especially on the Thursday when they had the Cork Whiskey Society in for a Scotch tasting, was The Sloppy Scot, made using the best of Haggis from Mc Carthy's of Kanturk, Beef, Ballymaloe Country Relish, rocket and a whiskey pepper sauce served with neeps and tatties. 

So that was the burger done. Earlier, we had the bubbles, as an aperitivo. Every Friday, L’Atitude 51 on Union Quay have a Friday Fizz between 4.00pm and 7.00pm, featuring a different fizz each time. Last Friday’s was La Jara Rosato Frizzante - a semi-sparkling wine made from red Raboso with a delicate pink colour and wonderfully fresh aromas of red apple and raspberry and juicy peach and pear flavours. It was every bit as delicious as they promised on Facebook, really good and good value too at €5.50 a glass. Watch out for future Fizz Fridays.

Indeed, if you like your bubbles, why not check out the Imperial Hotel too. In their Seventy Six Bar, they are offering a champagne flight, three Taittinger champagnes including a rosé, at a special price of fifteen euro.

After stuffing ourselves at Coqbull, we walked out into heavy rain, heavy enough to halt our planned walk to the beer festival at Franciscan Well. Instead we headed closer to home and, with the brolly up, made it to the new Bridge Bar in Bridge Street where the counter was full and there was live music from the O.C.D. trio. Food (charcuterie and cheese) also available here.

Great to see a long line-up of craft beers here, available on draft. We ended up comparing two ales, one from Yellow Belly, the other from Beavertown. Two excellent ales. The Wexford drink had attractive aromas and flavours and the expected hoppy finish. Beavertown is a London Brewery and their ale was possibly more focussed, a brewer’s beer maybe. Not much between them in any case. May have to go back for a replay.
Lager (left), Red Ale (right). But what's in the middle? The Bridge Bar.

May have to go back for a gin and tonic adventure too. That could take a while though. This is their long long list.

BLACKS OF KINSALE 7.25
BERTHAS REVENGE 6.50
MARTIN MILLERS 6.50
KINSALE GIN 6.70
BLACK WATER 6.10
MONKEY 47 10.10
QUINCE GIN 6.50
SHORTCROSS 6.80
BROCKMANS 6.80
GUNPOWDER 6.10
BEEFEATER 5.10
HENDRICKS 6.10
SIPSMITH 6.80
CORK DRY 4.80 
CAORUNN 7.00
BOMBAY 5.50
DINGLE 6.50
UNGAVA 6.50
JAWBOX 6.50
BLOOM 6.20
OPIHR 6.00