You probably know about the big beer brands in Ireland – Guinness, Smithwick’s, etc., but did you also know that Ireland offers hundreds of delicious microbrews? As Irish beer goes, you’ll find an incredible array of tastes here.
Tenon’s Top 10 Favorite Irish Microbreweries:
In the heart of the Temple Bar area of Dublin, you’ll find Porterhouse Bar. One of three (there’s a branch in New York and London), they brew 11 yummy ales.
I’d like to offer a tip of the hat to the only female brewer in Ireland. Grainne left her IT job in 2011 to start producing what she calls authentic Irish beers. She’s only offered in a few pubs, so review the Metalman Brewing site to find one.
If you like food with your beer, Elbow Lane is the brand of beer for you. They’ve crafted several special varieties that pair well with, say, risotto and peas. Find them at Castle Lane or Market Lane cafes in County Cork (with Blackrock Castle as a backdrop. Sweet.)
Franciscan Well Brewery
They had me at banana and clove infused German wheat beer… but the digs are pretty cool, too. They are brewed on the site of an old Franciscan monastery in County Cork. Sorry, the magic well dated to 1219 that boasts curative powers isn’t available for tourists; you’ll have to drink beer.
Galway Bay Brewing
Buried at Sea is a milk chocolate stout that’s actually brewed with chocolate. What? Yup.
This is one of our favorite Irish microbreweries, founded in 2009 by husband and wife bar owners. It’s also the only craft brewery in Galway. If you don’t like stouts, try an IPA or red ale.
White Gypsy Brewery
Tipperary North has the most pubs serving brewmaster Cuilan Loughnane’s award-winning brews. The story goes that he became infatuated with microbrews when introduced to hand-pulled ales in Heathrow Airport. We suggest you drink the lager he’s famous for.
You’ll need to stop by Hilden House to sample the beers offered by the son of Victorian era linen magnates. Owen Scuillion brews 11 varieties, to be exact – and since the brewery opened in 2011, we feel safe ranking it among the top 10 Irish microbreweries.
Eight Degrees Brewing
Two kiwis (New Zealanders) founded this brewery. It’s one of very few brew brands in Ireland that you’ll be able to find in a six-pack. Contrary to US practices, beer isn’t bottled in Ireland. Everyone goes to a local pub for a pint instead.
Trouble Brewing Company
With standard lagers, ales and wheat beers, it was Guinness that inspired the stout they keep on tap. Their recipe boasts no barley and a snappy finish (in lieu of the smooth Guinness finish). Their cartoonish branding also gets the company quite a bit of attention.
In the midlands of Ireland, goes the story, there were no microbrews to be found. After creating a palatable lager for the locals, brewmaster Andy Horn is anxious to move into more adventurous ingredients like lime, chili and vanilla.
He’s so new to the beer scene, though, that his website is still under construction. Look for him in Banagher in County Ofaly. (Just until his major expansion takes hold this year.)
And if you’d like to taste some delicious beer all at once, you have two options: attend the Irish Craft Beer and Cider Festival September 4th to September 7th in Dublin. Over 100 vendors will gather to show off their best work, or take our Microbrewery Tour of Ireland! Want to meet me there?
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