26 27 28 new breweries this year its been hard to keep on top of all the beers coming out; but I'll try my best to summarize where we're at. My new "Irish beers to look out for" post will be up in the next few days. As always, your results may vary.
The first beers I tried from independent (pale and gold) were solid enough but didn't blow me away, but the mlk stout is a different kettle of fish and really stood out as a highlight of the beer filled weekend which was #EBBC14 in Dublin this summer. They've also released a barrel aged version (I had it on keg in RDS, great stuff) and out now in bottles. More dark beers please guys!
Sarah really impressed with her complete ingredient life cycle planning, using spent grains to make granola for example, but here beers also stack up well too. A personal favourite is the oatmeal stout with a lovely mouthfeel and plenty of flavour, especially on cask!
yet to try these guys!
My new opening of the year for doing something a bit different with Belgian styles the stout and red tripel being particular highlights.
Only one beer so far, their Stag Ban is a decent enough APA, look forward to more from them.
Black Donkey (Roscommon)
Also just the one beer from Richard et al, but what a beer it is! Decent midstrength saison suited just fine in summer.
I personally wasn't keen on their Ruby IPA (too much caramalt for my liking!) but looking forward to trying the fiery (jalapeno+ginger!) porter when I can get it!
I wasn't particularly keen on their pilsner at the RDS this year but the Smiggy Amber is a decent hoppy amber.
Is it fair to judge a brewery on a lone bottle? Probably not but wasn't keen on the Justice I picked up earlier this year (diacetyl butterbomb). Will look out for others next year.
The controversial opening of the year. Launching with some borderline xenophobic "character"(McGargles) beers was always going to raise a few eyebrows, then there was the question of it being brewed in the UK whilst they were awaiting a brewery, the link of some of the owners to big beer and the plain fact that most of the beers just weren't very nice. They're now brewing in their own (top of the range) facility and the COusin Rosie I tried at 57 The Headline was at least finishable. A few supermarket own brand ranges haven't been met wth much enthusiasm either, but perhaps something aimed more at beer enjoyers rather than drinkers will coem around next year...if not, well there are plenty of other options in the market now!
A solid (unusual) core range of lager, pale and brown ale. Look forward to more in 2015.
Perhaps the most hyped brewery launch of the year when White Hag arrived with 8 keglines of all new beers at the RDS. Of course publicity was helped around the Fleadh fiasco. I stupidly didn't try all of them and it now seems a hefty chunk of production is export only. Of those I have tried (IPA,Wheat and octoberfest) nothing really stood out but the Black Boar is a decent big beer and certainly not one for sessioning. I also enjoyed the Yule beer with a combination of ginger and fresh cascade dryhopped by the bucketload presenting a really zesty yuzu flavour. Certainly haven't hit on the good stuff yet but I've no doubt it'll come
12th Abbey (Trim)
Recently picked up their three beers, a solid range that would do very well in cask, the IPA (more of an APA really) being the most enjoyable.
A fairly anoymous concern up here in the North. Their lager is iindistinguishable from most macrobrews and indeed could have been a rebadge to begin with. Their Belfast Pale Ale on cask at Belfast was an interesting choice but seemed like Yardsman in cask form and was fairly flabby and unimpressive.
Hurler is a typical Irish red malt profile with some nettley hops.
A decent holy trinity with a twist (heather in the IPA). Stout decent, the other two not so much.
Have been a bit difficult to get hold of. Their horny bull "12%" stout appeared in The Vineyard. Good stuff but doesn't seem anywhere near its declared strength. No reply from the brewery to my questions.
JJs (Ballyagran, Limerick)
Yet to track this one down so no idea on their Hugos Pils yet! (also their facebook is MIA)
Brehon (Carickmacross, Monaghan)
Bottles en route but yet to try. Beer Nut's thoughts here!
A decent fruity Irish red, one of the better ones of this ubiquitous style.
Two beers, neither very nice.
Another one I have coming in my next delivery. I've tried the amber so far, but that wasn't much to right home about; so again will reserve judgement until 2015!
A final handful have launched in the last few months; they're on my "to try" list for 2015!
Glens of Antrim (Ballycastle,Antrim)
Edit, whoops, missed Reel Deel & 12 Acres, sorry!
Reel Deel (Crossmolina,Mayo)