Best Irish Cask Beer – Farmageddon Mosaic IPA
Cask is a rarity in Ireland, north and south. The best tasting cask beer I experienced this year was at the Belfast Beer and Cider Festival in November and goes to Farmageddon’s Mosaic IPA. A cracker of a beer, fresh, crisp, fruity and one of the few beers I tried more than thrice, ahem.
Best Irish Keg Beer – O Brother Brewing Brutus
Best Irish Bottled/Canned Beer – Galway Bay 200 Fathoms
A Teeling Whiskey barrel aged imperial stout is right up my street. Their chocolate milk stout Buried At Sea is also high up the list as is O’Haras Leann Folláin.
Loch Ness’ 10%abv Double Cask Prince is fantastically smooth but it is pipped to the top spot by the 11%abv Williams Bros Froach 22, a heather ale matured in ex-sherry casks which were previously used to mature Auchentoshan single malt (it just sounds good!)
The two top spots here go to Beavertown from that there London town with the American pale ale Gamma Ray coming 1st. Also look out for their stunning triple IPA Power of the Voodoo, it’s a beezer.
Another winner for Galway Bay. Brewed in collab with Begyle Brewing from Chicago, it’s a hoppy oatmeal IPA.
I’ve been dreading this category…but had to narrow it down to about 5. And then 3.
Best Branding – 8 Degrees
Respect is paid to Northern Ireland’s two new publicly owned co-ops, Lacada and Boundary for having something different but the boys at 8 Degrees take the crown.
Small brewer Red Hand pale ale from Co Tyrone – a child’s hand. So simple.
Another one for the GB massive. Although 8 Degrees and O Brother did run them close.
Hmmm… Loch Ness, Isle of Skye and Brewdog are right up there but again it goes daaaaan saaaaf to that Landan taaaan brewery Beavertown.
I thought I’d venture out of a city and award this to a cracking wee bar with a really good range of bottles in a town not overly known for its craft beer selection. Plus it shows football on tv. Well done Kris and the team.
Although it opened in December 2014, it’s a winner here. Regular meet the brewer events, great rotating taps and a fantastic food selection to boot!
Despite being involved in the Belfast Beer and Cider Festival my favourite festival of the year was the ICBF in the RDS in Dublin last August. So many brewers selling their Irish beer, so many great food stalls out the back with ample seating and a good DJ doing his thang..
A lot of them are still quite rubbish so I’ll pass on this until (some chance) they reach somewhere near the level of independents.
Within 10 miles of Belfast, it’s this fantastic place in Whiteabbey. Also great to see others like The Vineyard, Gap Wines, Lavery’s, Wineworks and Neill Wines have a wide ranging selection too.
I’ve used a few but the winner is Drinkstore, primarily for their discount policy!