You walk into the office on Monday morning, grab yourself a coffee and exchange small talk with your co-workers. It’s generally not the most exciting part of your week, unless you had gone to the Alltech Craft Brews and Food fair over the weekend. If you were one of the lucky 10,000 attendees that descended on the Convention Centre, chances are you have some stories to regale your co-workers with. Guinness World Records were smashed, some of Ireland’s finest brews and food were consumed, and the 6 Nations Rugby was watched on screens best described as “enormous”. It sure did beat staying at home out of the rain and watching the rugby on the telly!
They say to “Go big or go home” and that’s exactly what Alltech did when they opened the fair on Friday. 729 craft beer fans from all over the world simultaneously tasted three beers, narrowly beating the previous Guinness World Record of 714 people in Mexico. Alltech Founder and President Dr. Pearse Lyons felt it was the perfect way to kick off a 3 day fair of the best beers, spirits, cider and food.
The fair also celebrated the fine work of beer and cider makers with the “Dublin Craft Beer and Cider Cups”. 350 entries competed to win this prestigious competition. McGargles from Kildare won the beer cup with their Francis’ Big Banging IPA, beating fierce competition from N17 with their chilli porter, Kinnegar Brewing with their foreign export stout, and White Hag’s barrel aged black boar imperial oatmeal stout. While Orpens from Ireland won the cider cup with their fresh pressed apple cider, beating the likes of MacIvors and LeFevre Cidre.
With over 70 exhibitors showcasing their offerings, it was tricky trying to eat and drink everything in the Convention Centre. Kinnegar’s brightly coloured labels featuring bunnies did catch the eye as we entered and their new beer “Flying Saucer” sounded very tasty, making it the first drink to cross our lips. It was a 7% Foreign Export Stout, full of coffee and chocolate flavours. The stout had a rich creamy full bodied feel to it, we had to resist the urge to park ourselves at the Kinnegar bar and drink this beer the whole night, it was that good! They also had a new beer called “High Glen” at the festival, which was a citrus kettle sour. This style of beer is becoming more and more common, and is ideal for those who like a bit of sour flavour without the mouth puckering tartness. It had lemony and grapefruit flavours, making it another good addition from Kinnegar.
A craft beer fair wouldn’t be complete without Eight Degrees Brewing from Cork. They had some of their usual favourites to go along with Vic Secret Black IPA, Snow Eater red IPA, and their 9% Double Irish imperial IPA. All great beers and ideal for hop lovers! Belgian beer lovers were also catered for with the likes of Gulden Draak, Delirium Tremens, and Lindemans Kriek which were all on tap.
Irish breweries really went all out for this weekend. Blacks of Kinsale impressed all with their “World’s End” 8.5% chocolate vanilla imperial stout. It was like drinking a malted vanilla milkshake that had been mixed together with caramel, espresso and dark chocolate. Beautiful! 5 Lamps Brewery had a double IPA on offer, while Trouble Brewing collaborated with OBrother Brewing to make a blood orange black IPA. White Hag from Sligo even had a keg of their barrel aged “Black Boar”, a big 10% smokey flavoured imperial oatmeal stout. Beer lovers were absolutely spoilt for choice!
Gearoid Cahill, the European Director of brewing science for Alltech talked about how the excitement and passion for the craft beverage industry has reached new heights in Ireland. 10,000 Alltech attendees would agree with this view, and will be patiently waiting for next years fair!
Let us know what breweries and distilleries amazed you at Alltech!