Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Beer of the Week. Galway Bay Lush Extra Pale Ale

Beer of the Week

Galway Bay Lush Extra Pale Ale, 4.3% ABV, 

440 ml can Bradleys

This new Galway Bay beer has a beautiful gold colour with micro-bubbles racing towards the soft white head. Mosaic and Citra hops blend perfectly, creating a mixture of citrus notes, pine, and tropical flavours. 

Built on a light base of Marris Otter and Pale Malts, with a touch of wheat, the beer is well-balanced and easy to drink. The brewery has declared it as one of their core beers and a new permanent fixture in their range.

I had an initial wariness of the name Lush (I thought it may be too fruity), but the beer is crisp, citrusy, and hoppy, with subtle bitterness and juicy flavours. It falls between their West Coast and hazy beers and is a great session beer at 4.3%. 

Very Highly Recommended and my Beer of the Week.


Redbreast Cuatro Barriles Edition


Redbreast Irish Whiskey, produced by Irish Distillers at its world-renowned Midleton Distillery in Co. Cork, Ireland, proudly presents Redbreast Cuatro Barriles Edition. The extraordinary single pot still Irish whiskey has launched exclusively to Global Travel Retail available now at Dublin and Cork Duty Free, Ireland, at €108 RRP and forms part of the Redbreast Iberian Series.

This exceptional expression has been created by marrying together whiskey aged in four distinct cask types – American ex-bourbon, Spanish oloroso sherry butts, Portuguese tawny port hogsheads and European virgin oak casks. Featuring this unique and rare combination of casks, the whiskey offers extraordinary complexity, with waves of sweet spices, delicate wine tannins, generous dark berry notes and subtle oak tones. Redbreast Cuatro Barriles Edition embodies the symphony of flavours from each barrel, instantly transporting the consumer across the Bodegas of Spain and Portugal, to the bright warmth of the Iberian Peninsula with each sip.

Dublin International Airport, which welcomed almost 32 million travellers in 2023 and is connected to over 190 destinations worldwide, and Cork Airport, the international gateway to the South of Ireland, represent incredible launchpads for the exquisite new GTR exclusive from Redbreast in its flagship home, where the brand carries iconic status. Brought to life in the stunning retail environments, amongst so many prestigious brands, including local heroes, Redbreast Cuatro Barriles Edition is in truly excellent company.image.png
Following the 2023 limited-edition release of Redbreast Tawny Port Edition, Redbreast Cuatro Barriles Edition marks the fourth expression in the award-wining Redbreast Iberian Series, which is inspired by Redbreast’s long-standing connection to some of the Iberian Peninsula’s most celebrated cooperages and winemakers. Each release combines the craft and rich heritage of the region with the excellence of Midleton Distillery’s single pot still whiskeys to create expressions that are truly remarkable. 
Redbreast Cuatro Barriles Edition is a significant new chapter to the brand's portfolio, showcasing the brand’s commitment to the exploration of new flavour profiles, adding depth to Redbreast's celebrated line-up.

The use of Oloroso sherry butts and ex-bourbon barrels, synonymous with the renowned Redbreast Iberian Series, remain as a cornerstone for the expression. These barrels, integral to Redbreast's identity, pay homage to the brand’s legacy and ongoing success. The influence of the Oloroso sherry seasoning imparts notes of dried fruits, orange peel and nutty undertones, while the use of ex-bourbon barrels contribute aromas of sweet vanilla, toasted oak and dustings of nutmeg.  

Meanwhile, the use of the tawny port hogsheads and pristine European virgin oak casks add a new dimension to this storied blend. The inclusion of these two casks signifies a creative new chapter in Redbreast's journey, that began during the Midleton Distillery teams’ travels across the Iberian Peninsula. 
The delicately drying tannins from the virgin oak barrel add structure and body to the mouthfeel, magnifying the depth and complexity of this wonderfully balanced whiskey. The use of tawny port seasoned casks contributes delicate hints of smoked almonds, praline and dark berry fruits adding further complexity to the adventurous array of flavours in this new expression.

The dynamic quartet of barrels work in harmony, marrying together the core of Redbreast’s distinguished identity with a unique twist. The result is a whiskey that seamlessly weaves tradition with innovation, a testament to Redbreast's devotion to both its heritage and the pursuit of new and exciting taste experiences for its consumers.

Master Blender, Dave McCabe expands: “There's a profound joy in creating a whiskey that mirrors the vibrant journey taken to create it, so I am delighted that the flavour of the final liquid is reminiscent of our travels, encapsulating each encounter, all of which have played a pivotal role in shaping the Redbreast Iberian Series to this day. Redbreast Cuatro Barriles Edition is a harmonious whiskey, echoing the diversity and richness of the outstanding barrels we have found across the Iberian Peninsula, and I can’t wait for both enthusiasts and those new to the range to experience it first-hand.”

Redbreast Cuatro Barriles Edition invites the discerning traveller to explore the distinctive influence of each barrel and savour the combined story of craftsmanship and adventure. Redbreast Cuatro Barriles Edition is bottled at 46% ABV and is exclusively available now through Global Travel Retail at Dublin and Cork Duty Free at €108 RRP.

IG: @RedbreastIrishWhiskey        #RedbreastCuatroBarrilesEdition   #PassItOn
Link to purchase:

Whiskey Press Releases 


Born from an alchemy of four distinct barrels, the second permanent expression in Redbreast’s award-winning Iberian Series transports whiskey lovers to the sun-drenched corners of Spain and Portugal.

Tasting Notes:
Nose: Toasted wood with a decadent and enticing selection of fresh and dried fruits, including notes of freshly picked plums, raisins, fig, and orange peel. Aromas of sweet vanilla with light dustings of nutmeg are carefully balanced by nutty and herbal undertones, while the pot still spices enhance the overall body and complexity of this wonderfully balanced whiskey.

Taste: Rich with spices of cinnamon and nutmeg at first with delicately drying tannins thanks to the toasted oak and wine seasoning. The spices quickly subside to reveal generous waves of dark berry fruits with marzipan, smoked almonds and salted caramel.
Finish: Satisfyingly long. The pot still spices are the first to fade, while leaving the oak and fruits to continue lingering effortlessly until the very end.





Tuesday, March 26, 2024

A Sicilian gem by the dynamic Vesco family. Ciello Rosso ‘Nero d’Avola’

Ciello Rosso ‘Nero d’Avola’ Sicilia (DOP) 2022, 12.5% ABV

RRP: €14.50. Stockists include 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau 

A Sicilian gem by the dynamic Vesco family

This sprightly Sicilian red, crafted by the dynamic Vesco family, is fighting fit and full of freshness and vitality. Made from organically grown Nero d'Avola grapes, it boasts a  ruby hue (not quite the vino nero that it is often called) and an enticing bouquet of black plum, hints of coffee, and subtle chocolate notes. On the palate, the wine sings of the high hills with a pleasant spiciness and smooth dark fruit flavours.

Sustainable viticultural practices

Nearly two decades ago, the Vesco family took the helm at the winery, implementing sustainable viticultural practices and investing in cutting-edge technology. Their commitment to quality shines through in their organic vineyards perched high in the hills above Alcamo.

Ideal Terroir, Exceptional Results

Certified organic and planted on southeast-facing slopes with sandy soils (150-300 meters above sea level), the vineyards benefit from a climate perfectly suited for nurturing high-quality grapes.

Ciello Rosso's grapes are harvested earlier than many in the region, contributing to the wine's characteristically bright and fresh style. Night harvesting and modern temperature-controlled fermentation further ensure the vibrancy and freshness of the final product.

Stands out from the crowd

Ciello Rosso stands out from the crowd. Unlike some overripe styles, this Nero d'Avola offers a refreshing and contemporary expression of the grape. The result? A delightful and versatile wine, perfect for enjoying on its own or paired with food. See also our recent review of their matching white, the Ciello Blanco Cattarrato; both are terrific natural wines for everyday drinking, a pair perfect for conversation rather than meditation.

Naturally Nourished settling in well at North Point

 Naturally Nourished settling in well at North Point

Called out to North Point on the Mallow Road for lunch last week. This is the third outlet for Naturally Nourished who are already well-established in Mahon at City Gate and also in Penrose Dock. They were open for about a week when I dropped in and there was a steady stream of customers coming and going. Aside from sit-down meals, they also offer a takeout service and I managed to draw from both before the day was out.

Like their other premises, this one is bright and airy (after a ten-day revamp), lots of white paint used inside, to complement the light already coming through the existing "walls" of glass here. The menu boards (also white) are large and easily seen above the counters though the menu is not (yet) as expansive as that in Penrose Dock. If you know the place, you'll know that Lemon Pepper were the most recent occupiers and that Perry Street were also based here.

A blackboard on the ground just inside the door was dedicated to the specials and the main feature was a Katsu Curry; free-range breaded chicken, house Katsu Sauce, white basmati rice, Spring onion, sesame seeds, pickled onion, pickled Carrot (veggie option also available). The Soup of the Day was Leek and Potato with their own (excellent) stout bread.

Naturally Nourished are noted for their Warm Bowls and they were also tempting but we went for two dishes from the salad selection, each at €10.50. CL had missed out on their Goats Cheese in Penrose recently so she made up for it here with slightly "flamed" Chevre, mixed leaves, chopped beetroot, chopped dates, pink lady apple, lemon and bulgar wheat, roasted hazelnuts, honey and balsamic dressing. It was top-class!

My pick in North Point was the Buffalo Chicken Salad. This is made with free-range crispy breaded chicken, cos lettuce, spiced chickpeas, red onion, hot sauce and Cashel Blue cheese ranch. Another superb salad, every element playing a tasty part and I loved every bit from the crispy lettuce to the delicious chicken, not to mention the hot bits! I'm not surprised that it is the most popular salad on the menu! See more (a short in-house video) on it here.

Depending on your branch, you may get slightly different versions of a particular dish. Besides, since variety is the spice of life, th
ey regularly make little or big changes.

I was looking at the display of sandwiches as we made our way out and said to myself that one would come in handy later in the day! I must have been inspired as it was one of the best sandwiches ever. My baguette (well, a half) was rammed with amazing spiced beef, mature cheddar, a delicious crunchy coleslaw, fresh leaves and a marvellous mustard mayo. What a flavoursome feed for €7.50 approximately (can't remember the exact price!).

The North Point café is open Monday to Friday 8am-3:30pm, serving breakfast till 11am and lunch till 2.30pm. Free on-site parking. Service here is excellent, friendly and helpful, just as we found it in Penrose a few weeks back.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Recommended Craft Ales from Killarney Brewing, Hopfully and Wicklow Wolf

Recommended Craft Ales from Killarney Brewing, Hopfully and Wicklow Wolf 

Killarney Full Circle IPA, 5% ABV, 500 ml bottle, O’Donovan’s

The colour is close to amber, a little darker than you might expect. All American hops are used here and the aromas make that clear from the moment you flip the cap. 

The soft head collapses soon enough onto the slightly hazy body. The hops are not identified on the label but the ensemble brings quite a current of deep flavour with dry bitterness (IBU is 42) clearly displayed at the finalé. Easy to see why it is now part of their core range. No pairings seen but I found it very compatible with a mature cheddar.

Highly Recommended.

Full Circle? “Emigration has forever been at the heart of Irish history.  From the mid 1800’s onwards, generations left these shores destined for the land of opportunity.  Over a century on, life’s journey has come full circle and their progeny are returning home.  This is a story illustrated by our Head Brewer Mike, who with his wife and daughter, have brought back to Kerry this USA branch of their family tree.”

The big news though is that tours are now possible at the impressive new facility (brewery and distillery) out in Fossa. “The team are working hard .… As Tim O’D, one of our founders, would say, we haven’t been drinking a lot of beer, just a lot of coffee!’

The new building includes salvaged red brick imported directly from the Windy City of Chicago. If they could talk, no doubt an Irish accent could be heard in the original laying. They now take pride of place in the main stairwell of the new visitor centre.

Plan your visit and tour to Killarney Brewing & Distilling Co in Fossa, Ireland’s largest co-located and independently owned Brewery, Distillery and Visitor Centre. Visit the new brewery, learn how the beers are made, see the brewing team making the magic happen, enjoy the aromas of the day’s brew and finally visit the tasting room to sample the product. 

For groups of 10 or more please contact Otherwise, book here.  

The original and very popular Taproom on Muckross Road, quite close to the town centre, operates on a walk-in basis, Wednesday through Sunday, 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

Wicklow Wolf Sugarloaf Juicy IPA, 4.3% ABV, 440 ml can Bradleys

Wicklow Wolf commandeered a heavy-hitting quartet of tropical hops for their Sugarloaf (you’ll know where the name comes from). The tropical notes and flavours dominate though you’ll also notice citrus and pine in there. 

The colour of their new core beer is a hazy yellow and there’s a creamy mouthfeel, with a barely noticeable bitterness. But it is well-balanced and the tropical fruits are nicely rounded. Still, this is one for you if you’re a fruit head! Another well-made beer from the Wicklow aces and definitely one for your shortlist.

The relatively low ABV of 4.3% certainly puts this it into the Session category where it sits as an outstanding example. Highly Recommended.

Geek Bits

Hops - Idaho 7, Chinook, Sabro and Citra.

Malts - Pale, Wheat Malt, Oats, Cara Ruby

Hopfully Inside Out Pale Ale, 5.0% ABV, 440 ml can Bradley

In its early days, Hopfully was known as a gipsy or contract brewery, making beers wherever they were welcome to borrow an established brewery’s kit. Metalman in Waterford was one such “host” and nowadays, with the Deise brewers retired, you’ll find Hopfully fully at home in that very brewery.

Hopfully has been more than generous with the amounts of Mosaic and Strata hops used in the pale ale and they are very happy with the results: ”lovely notes of bright juicy tangerine, citrus, and pine aromas”.

It is a hazy yellow colour with the expected aromas. Mosaic was used in the whirlpool while the two hops were combined for the dry hopping. For all that, the bitterness level is modest and this smooth fruity beer proves an easy drinker.

It is an honest straightforward Pale Ale deserving of your attention. Highly Recommended.

Geek Bits

Hops - Mosaic & Strata.

Malts - Maris Otter, Flaked Oats, Wheat, Vienna & Dextrin

Art work - by Stasele Jakunskaite’

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Entries now open for Blas na hÉireann - the Irish Food Awards

Entries now open for Blas na hÉireann 

- the Irish Food Awards
Take time out to visit Slea Head on the stunning Dingle peninsula.

Entries for Blas na hÉireann 2024, the Irish Food Awards, are now open. Blas na hÉireann is the largest blind-tasted food awards on the island of Ireland, designed to recognise and celebrate the very best Irish food and drink. Entries are open to producers across all categories of food and drink with the early bird discounted rate for entries running until April 3rd. 

Entries will finally close for this year’s awards on May 16th, with judging happening over the summer months and the awards announced on Friday 4th of October. After a wonderfully successful year in Dingle in 2023 celebrating Irish food and drink producers, the excitement for the upcoming awards this October is already building. 

“The Cork City & County Local Enterprise Offices have always been champions of the local food & drinks sector and have been involved in providing a range of business, training, advisory and financial supports to the many food producers in Cork over the last 30 years.” said Deirdre O'Mahon of Cork LEO. “We are delighted to partner with Blas na hÉireann, the Irish food awards, the largest food awards on the island, which celebrates the range and quality of local food, to sponsor the Best in Cork award, and we would encourage all local Cork food & drinks businesses to enter the competition this year.”

“It’s hard to believe we are now in our 17th year running the awards,” says Artie Clifford, Blas na hÉireann Chairman. “Looking back to when we started and had just under 400 applications to where we are now with nearly 3,000 entries last year, it is testament not only to the fantastic food and drink producers of Ireland, but also to the measurable impact these awards have on small artisan businesses. Since creating the Blas village, we have seen even more momentum and opportunities for producers with high engagement between them and key industry buyers. We are very much looking forward to seeing what this year brings and welcoming new producers participating right across the island.”

Together with the Food Science Dept of UCC and the University of Copenhagen, the team at Blas na hÉireann have developed a blind-tasting judging system that is now recognised as an industry gold standard worldwide. 

Winners and finalists are always the best Blas ambassadors — something to which many hundreds of small producers, farmers, growers, bakers and artisan food makers who have won a Blas na hÉireann award and proudly put the winner’s sticker on their product can attest. Research has shown that the Blas na hÉireann accreditation has the highest recognition among Irish consumers and having the award logo on products encourages shoppers to buy – it is a recognised guarantee of a top-quality Irish product.

Entries for Blas na hÉireann 2024 are now open and there is an early bird fee of €70 (ex VAT) until 3rd April. For full rates and further details, please visit  

Friday, March 22, 2024

Ballymaloe House celebrates 60th anniversary with inaugural Ballymaloe Festival of Food, May 2024

press release

Inaugural Ballymaloe Festival of Food May 24. 

Will celebrate 60th anniversary of Ballymaloe House

Ballymaloe Festival of Food is a new three-day food festival that this year celebrates 60 years of Ballymaloe — six decades of good food and fine hospitality, renowned in Ireland and beyond — while also showcasing all that the Irish food and drinks community has to offer today. 

The Cove at Fota Island Resort hosts an exclusive evening showcasing the distinguished wines of Château Queyron Pindefleurs

press release 

The Cove at Fota Island Resort hosts an exclusive evening showcasing

the distinguished wines of Château Queyron Pindefleurs

The  Cove 



The Cove at Fota Island Resort is the resort’s intimate fine dining restaurant, quietly luxurious and elegant, where the food on the plate is a sophisticated bringing together of ancestral flavours, foraged elements and meticulous technique, in the heart of east Cork.


On Wednesday 17th April, The Cove hosts a special wine dinner with the charismatic couple responsible for the exceptional wines of Château Queyron Pindefleurs, Chantal and Peter Watts. They will be exquisitely partnering some of their wines with an intriguing seven-course menu designed by Tomasz Pawlak, Executive Head Chef at Fota Island Resort.


The vineyards of Château Queyron Pindefleurs are at the foot of the southern hills of the medieval city of Saint-Émilion in Bordeaux. The Fillon family has cultivated this terroir since 1937, producing acclaimed wines that are rich, balanced and harmonious. In 2010 Chantal Fillon and her Australian husband Peter took over the family property of 14 hectares, bringing a fresh approach to both viticulture and winemaking.

An opportunity to hear Chantal and Peter talk through their wine pairings with dinner in The Cove, this will include Château Queyron Pindefleurs Grand Cru 2016, described as “commanding” and “statuesque”, a wine with 97 Decanter points, and the only Bordeaux to make it through to Decanter’s Best In Show that year. The pairings will also include the aromatic and powerful Château Queyron Pindefleurs Grand Cru 2018, and the brilliant 100% Merlot Le Jardin de Queyron Pindefleurs from 2019.

The evening begins with canapés and champagne at 7pm, followed by dinner in The Cove at 7.30pm. Tickets are €120 per person with very limited availability. A luxurious stay on the night at five-star Fota Island Resort is €165 b&b for single occupancy or €185 for double occupancy. Book tickets via

For further information visit