This weekend sees the European Beer Bloggers' Conference come to Dublin and I for one am very excited. It the first (of hopefully many) outside of the UK and though I've been to Dublin many times before, this is the first time I'll have more than a day to appreciate some of the gems of the nascent Irish beer scene as well as of course all of the interesting conference content.
I'm aiming to try as many native beers as possible over the weekend (though won't go so far as to say that's all I'll drink as I'm sure there will be some gems available) and with 51 breweries to choose from there should be no shortage. (I'm not going in unprepared, ratebeer allows me to print a hit-list of beers I've not yet had; so that should help out.)
The fun kicks off on the Thursday night with a pub meander ably led by my friend Reuben, who has had a big hand in the organisation of the conference this year. This will take us around 7 pubs showcasing the best Dublin has to offer, both in terms of beer and atmosphere. Here's what to look out for in each:
The Brew Dock - A Galway Bay Brewery pub often has a guest cask and experimental "Pilot" release available. For those feeling brave go straight for the big gun Of Foam and Fury DIPA, one of the best beers on the whole Island. (or leave it until later!)
J.W. Sweetman is currently Dublin's only brew pub. Their porter and pale ale are both excellent and there should be a seasonal available too their world cup beer marcana or a weiss. A tasting tray of five ales works out very reasonably and there are also 2litre growlers for takeaway. (consider joining Beoir to avail of discounted refills!*). Also look out for Barrel Head brewing beers, made by the brewer here and often available on cask.
Next up is the Palace Bar which is an opulent unspoilt drinking den over 190 years old. It may have a few craft beers on but most people in here will be on the black stuff. They also have their own 9 y/o single malt if you're that way inclined.
What is listed as Farringtons has now been renamed as the Norseman 1696 (its original name). There are two bars in here, often with different beers on. Whilst downstairs is often packed (especially when sports are on) the upstairs bar is a little more chilled out. Expect beers from Carlow and probably 6/7 other Irish brewers. Current tap list suggests Metalman pale, rascals ginger porter & Donegal Atlantic amber for starters.
A stalwart of Dublin's beer providers is Porterhouse, which has now spread out around the world. Hophead is the beer to plump for here but all of their dark beers are also well worth trying and a taster tray may be the way to go.
Following that is Dublin craft beer stalwart the Bull and Castle, 8 Degrees and Trouble Brewing.which has recently undergone a refit. head upstairs for the main Butchers bar area and another great selection, often including
We end the crawl as we have begun in a Galway Bay Pub, this time The Black Sheep. It often has the best cask beer selection in Dublin with exotic US imports regularly seen on keg.
Of course there are plenty of other pubs and, for those of you who still have suitcase space bottleshops, available to visit. Some of my favourites are L.Mulligan Grocer which does excellent food and often has Brown Paper Bag Project beers available and also opposite Drinkstore. Against the Grain is another Glway Bay pub and will also be my local for the weekend, being just a stumble away from where I'm staying. A short Luas hop from there will take you to Ranleagh and Redmonds off licence (I plan to pop in on Friday morning if anyone fancies a trip out). I hope to also make it to the newly opened 57 the Headline and newly re-opened WJ Kavanagh.
I'll post again later in the week with what I'm looking forward to during the conference proper. Hope to see as many of you as possible on the thursday night. Its not just for conference attendees; so if you're in town come along and say hello. I'll be the one drinking halves! If you can't make it along follow #TheTrailOfTheAle to see what's going on.
All photos used from pub websites.
*Beoir is the Irish Craft Beer Consumers organisation and plays a similar role to CAMRA but without the hang-up on dispense. Membership costs €10 a year and the handiest way to join is by direct debit via Paypal. You can also hand your dues in person to any Beoir member (there's a few of us at the conference). Membership will give you discount vouchers for 50c off a pint of Galway Bay beers, 10% discount at Drinkstore and discounted refills at J.W. Sweetman. Even if you're only down for the weekend you could make your money back but more importantly you're helping to fund the promotion of Irish craft beer and proving to potential new breweries that there are plenty of interested drinkers out there!