Ireland: 5 Day Craft Beer Tour
Seamus O’Hara serving group tastings after the brewery tour
Depart Dublin and visit O’Hara’s family owned brewery and one of the longest established independent craft breweries in the country. Founded in 1996 and located in Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow, the heart of Ireland’s historical hop and malt growing ‘Barrow Valley’ region. The local water supply is particularly suited to brewing stouts and ales which O’ Hara’s do extremely well. O’Hara’s export extensively and one of their best known and acclaimed beers is Leann Follain, a full bodied Irish Extra Stout. We will taste the O’ Hara’s range in conjunction with cheeses from Knockadrinna, a local artisan cheese maker who have recently launched a new cheese called Brewer’s Gold, the rind washed in beers and ales.
After lunch, we enjoy a scenic drive in the Comeragh Mountains taking a walk with the mountain sheep to Mahon Falls, an 80m waterfall nestled between the valleys. Great photo opportunities from up high out to the Copper Coast and the Atlantic Ocean. We will tour the Dungarvan Brewery which specialises in producing a range of bottle and cask conditioned beers. This means that a natural carbonation process occurs within the bottle which eliminates the need for the addition of further gasses to the beers
Breweries : O’Hara’s Carlow Brewing Company
Producers of: O’ Hara’s Irish Pale Ale, O’ Hara’s Irish Red, O’ Hara’s Irish Stout, Curim Gold (Wheat Beer), Leann Follain (Extra Stout)
Breweries: Dungarvan Brewing Company
Producers of: Black Rock Irish Stout, Copper Coast Red Ale, Helvick Gold Blond Ale, Mahon Falls Rye Pale Ale, Comeragh Challenger Bitter
Head for Ireland’s second city of Cork. Cork is full of history and has a laidback charm. Enjoy some free-time to explore the “rebel city” and the English Market, a roofed food market situated in the heart of Cork City which has been trading since 1788 making it one of the oldest municipal markets of it’s kind in the world.
In the afternoon we will visit Franciscan Well, once a monastery dating back to the year 1219 and now home to an award winning brewpub founded in 1998. During the 1940s the site was used to bottle Guinness for the people of Cork.
It’s a short hop to Kinsale, Co Cork where we will visit Black’s Kinsale Brewery. This is one of the newest breweries on the Irish craft beer scene brewery with Sam Black at the helm. Sam is full of passion and enthusiasm and the success of his venture seems assured if the quality of the ale he is producing is anything to go by.
Breweries: Franciscan Well Brewery, Cork City
Producers of: Blarney Blonde, Rebel Red Ale, Shandon Stout, Friar Weisse (Wheat beer)
Breweries: Black’s Kinsale, Kinsale Co Cork
Producers of: Kinsale Pale Ale, Kinsale Red Ale, Kinsale Stout
The cliffs of Moher, Co Clare
The first stop of the day is at Eight Degrees Brewing Co in Mitchelstown. This brewery began in 2011 when an Aussie and Kiwi duo arrived in Ireland demanding more adventurous beer! 4 years later they have expanded their brewery hugely and produce a wide range of exciting beers . Scott and Cam are constantly innovating with new products and won a Bronze medal for their beer Amber-Ella at the World Beer Cup in Denver in 2014.
Drive through the countryside of Co Limerick, visit the largest stone circle in Ireland at Lough Gur. Stop off at the famous Durty Nelly’s pub in Bunratty for lunch.
We travel to Lisdoonvarna to visit an impressive duo of neighbouring businesses. Firstly, we will visit the Burren Smokehouse run by Birgitta Curtin for a tour and tastings of a variety of salmon smoked on site before proceeding to well known local character Peter Curtin’s Roadside Tavern & Brewery. This traditional pub has been run by several generations of the same family since 1893 and Peter recently started brewing their own range of beer in the same room above the pub in which he was born! After a tour and tastings, you can return to the Roadside Tavern for good pub grub, pints of Peter’s craft beers and live traditional music.
We will overnight in Lisdoonvarna which also happens to be the match making capital of Ireland and hosts an annual Match-making festival every September.
Breweries: Eight Degrees Brewing, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork
Producers of: Howling Gale Ale (Pale ale), Sunburnt Irish Red, Knockmealdown Porter, Barefoot Bohemian Pilsner
Breweries: Roadside Tavern, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare
Producers of: Burren Red Ale, Burren Gold, Burren Stout
A trip to Clare would not be complete without a visit to the Cliffs of Moher. Standing 214m (702 feet) high, the cliffs stretch for 8 kms (5 miles) along the Atlantic coast. O Brien’s Tower has served as a viewing point for hundreds of years. Travel through the unique Burren region, a limestone karst landscape which was formed 350 million years ago. This protected landscape is the only example of it’s kind in Western Europe and is of great interest to geologists and botanists alike as its unique soil and climate allow Alpine, Arctic and Mediterranean plants to grow side by side.
Onto the city of Galway, a vibrant and bustling city known for its festivals. You can enjoy a stroll through the pedestrianised compact centre of town before visiting Galway Bay brewery situated on the coast in Salthill. Here, Chris will talk us through how he brews a wide variety of beers, both kegged and bottled for the 9 pubs in the Galway Bay group. This brewery has been in existence since 2009 and has recently undergone a major expansion to keep up with a growing demand for their tasty beers especially Of Foam and Fury which won the Beoir Beer of the Year Award in 2014. Overnight in Galway to enjoy the atmosphere in the many pubs and restaurants available.
Breweries: Galway Bay Brewing, Salthill, Galway
Producers of: Full Sail IPA, Stormy Port Porter, Bay Ale Red Ale, Buried at Sea Milk Stout,
Of foam and fury
On our last day, we will be treated to a fabulous artisan lunch at White Gypsy brewery in Co Tipperary combining local meats, salads and cheeses with the beers. Cuilan the owner & brewer at White Gypsy is one of the early pioneers of Irish brewing and has built up a great reputation for his quality beers recently bottling for the restaurant trade. He will talk us through his unique style over lunch and a tour of his state of the art brewery. White Gypsy pride themselves on sourcing as many ingredients as possible for their delicious craft beers locally, even testing the Irish climate by trying to grow their own hops. It is one of Ireland’s most progressive breweries and are at the forefront of the country’s brewing renaissance.
Breweries: White Gypsy, Templemore, County Tipperary
Producers of: Red Oak Ale, Belgian Blond Ale, Emerald Ale
Bottled: American Pale Ale, German Doppelbock, Russian Imperial Stout, Belgian Dubbel.