Its been a while since I've featured Irish beers on this blog; so hopefully this post goes some way to redressing that omission. As I mentioned in my post earlier this year, Carlow were the first brewery in Ireland to collaborate with an international brewer (to my knowledge!) with Lublin to Dublin, an oatmeal stout brewed with Pinta last year ( which was very well received, coming in as 4th best Irish beer on RateBeer). I've just received a bottle of this year's release sticking to similar themes but as a milk stout this time around. Last year Polish hops were used, I'm not sure what they brought to the party this time as it was again brewed at Carlow.
So how does this years stack up? In my mind it betters even last years excellent release, with a full bodied chocolatey slightly milky mocha taste. This is no sickly sweet dessert beer however, being a proper robust porter first and foremost with the lactose accentuating rather than dominating the flavour profile. Seems the Beer Nut agrees with me.

Carlow also teamed up with American brewer Starr Hill to brew foreign affair, a red IPA. Of course IPA these days is a catch all term and often the beer is very different from even the modern reinterpretation of India Pale Ales. Colour aside, this one makes a good fist at the style being both hoppy and bitter thanks to the Falconners flight hop blend employed; though perhaps a little excessively due to an ABV on the low side at 4.8%. I'm a big fan of hoppy amber ales and there's much to like however with a decent level of carbonation, Big body for its strength and fresh hoppiness with red berry notes. but there's something in this one that doesn't sit right for me with a savoury almost meaty quality that jars somewhat with a tannic nettley bitterness.

Carlow also sent me a cider and hop adventure sorachi ace which I'd previously tried with my own coin. The former I found to be an entry level dryish uncomplex affair but rather enjoyed the latter, the malt bill allowing sorachi ace hops to work their magic - but very much an acquired taste. I'm looking forward to seeing more collaborations with from Carlow, particularly the promised Beoir beer. I also hope to hear whether they decided to use blogger input they gleaned from the conference in Dublin last year to inspire any of their beers.

Thank you to Carlow for sending me the samples, all the beers featured in this post are available bottled from all the usual suspects.


Dear Old Donegal

By local artist Barry Britton
This coming weekend sees the sophomore edition of the Wild Atlantic Craft beer festival hosted at Dicey O'Reilly's in Ballyshannon, Donegal (home of Donegal Brewing). Last year's event was a roaring success by all accounts with a number of new beers launched and hoards of punters' thirsts satiated. This year should be no different with an expanded programme of meet the brewer events, fresh cooked curries and beers pouring from at least thirteen breweries* including seven beers from the hosts (a new mild amongst them!);  with plenty of other beers available in bottled format from the well-stocked Dicey's off-licence.

Alongside the beer is a packed schedule of live music with styles to suit all tastes and with the Folk Festival happening in town at the same time plenty to maintain your interest if beer isn't enough to drag you out of your living rooms (why not?!)

Crowds enjoying the sun last August
Local beer festivals like this are an area where there's massive potential for growth in Ireland, but particularly in these parts, where the beer event calendar is fairly thin on the ground (of course bolstered this year by the ABV fest in Belfast). If you have a licensed premises why not consider running an event of your own? By my reckoning there are at least 48 weekends to choose from!

If you fancy popping along to the festival doors open 7PM on Friday 31st July and from 2PM Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd August. Kick out time is 2AM each day; so plenty of time to sample everything. You can also call in for a tour of the brewery to find out where the beer is made and drink it at source. Brewer Brendan looks forward to seeing you all!

Find out more:
(00353) 086 2836914

Friday 7pm: Beerhall Opens
7pm: The Beer Garden Folk/Trad. Session
10pm:  Night Time Trad/Folk Session

Saturday: 2pm: Beer Hall Opens
4pm: The Early Session
5pm: Chandpur Indian Food – Beerhall
5pm Meet The Brewer Session with
Richard from Black Donkey
7pm: The Tea Time Session
8pm: Meet the Brewer Session
with David from Northbound
11pm: The BIG Saturday Night
“Busy Fools”

Sunday: 2pm: Beerhall opens
5pm: Chandpur Indian Food – Beerhall
5pm: Lazy Afternoon Bluegrass Session
5pm: Meet the Brewer Session with
Gordy from Inismacsaint Brewery
 8pm: The Last Trad Hooley
10pm: Festival Farewell Gig

*Current beer list
Eight Degrees Nelson Saison
Eight Degrees Full Irish
Trouble Brewing Simcoe Smash
Saltaire Kola Black IPA
To oL Friends with benefits
Chimay White
Wicklow Wolf IPA
Black Donkey Sheep Stealer
Brooklyn Lager
Thornbridge Jaipur
Donegal Porter
Beavertown Neck Oil IPA
 Laguntias Pale Ale
Metalman Windjammer
Donegal Session IPA
Donegal Pale Ale
Donegal Atlantic Amber
Donegal Mild Ale
Donegal Blonde


What's Lego-ing on?

Far too often beer reviews can be staid an boring (perhaps I've been guilty of that too?); so its always nice to come across and interesting and refreshing take that's a bit more fun too. Pottering around Facebook t'other day I came across a page called Beer Farts. Being a bit puerile I clicked on and found the page to be full of well-taken pictures of beer - but with a twist; every beer is paired with a Lego character. I also like that there's usually a short topical comment linking beer with current affairs in beer and wider world. Being a fan of both Lego and beer I got in touch with the creator to find out a bit more.

Who is behind beer farts and where did the name come from?
Hi, I'm Tom, based in London and I take the photos (and drink the beers !). When brewers etc meet me they always say ‘oh, you’re not what I was expecting’. They may be expecting some strange guy that plays with Lego but I am normal. I promise! 
I toyed with a few names but once I landed on Beer Farts it stuck. It seemed to catch people’s eye and make them laugh.  

Punk IPA
How did you come up with the idea to use Lego?
I was given a Lego set as a gift after seeing the Lego movie last year. I was already posting photos of my favourite beers and decided to include the Lego in one. It turned out to be quite popular and at all started from there. 

What comes first , the beer or the Lego?
The beer is always first. I just then try to work the appropriate Lego in with the beer. That can be difficult if I cannot get the Lego man I want. I've had to hold out for weeks to try a beer because I wanted the right figure for the photo. A little sad I know.

 Where did you get such an array of figures; do you have to carry them all around with you?
I am always buying new ones from local toy shops, online and even charity shops. Sadly, yes I do carry some with me almost everywhere. I don’t want to miss a shot! Planning ahead can be tricky though.

Beavertown Honest Pale
What is your favourite Lego set/ character; are there any that don't exist which you'd like to see?
My favourite set is the Back to the Future set. I love the movies so I love this set too. The hotdog mini figure still makes me laugh though, he is a great one.
After the success of The Simpsons two series I’d love Lego to make a Family Guy series. I think that would work great. I’m also excited for the release of the Big Bang Theory set that is coming out soon.

What has been your favourite review?
One of my recent favourites is the post for Beavertown’s Skull King. Not only is the beer great but their can designs are always so crazy. I’m always happy when I can make a character to match those on the can design. The can designs alone make for great photos.

What do you enjoy most about using Lego alongside words to convey your thoughts on beers?
It makes people laugh and beer is meant to be fun after all. Lots of people post photos of beers; I find the Lego men are a great way of making my posts stand out. I hope people see the photos and then are interested to read what I’ve said about the beer.
Do you have a favourite beer style and is there a beer you'd really like to review using Lego?
My favourite style has to be IPA, whether it’s traditional British style or West Coast. I’d really like to try and review Heady Topper as I hear so many good things about it. I’m sure I could find a good Lego to go with that!

Which beer so far has been most enjoyable?
This is almost impossible to answer. I’ve had so many good ones. Some of my favourites include; Firestone Walker’s Union Jack IPA, Camden Town’s IHL, The Kernel’s IPA, Russian River’s Pliny The Elder, Meantime IPA, Ballast Point Sculpin' and Stone’s Japanese Green Tea IPA. 

What character would you choose for the following "whale" beers:
·        Pliny the Elder – I have a Roman Emperor that could play Pliny
·        Three Floyds Dark Lord -  A medieval knight would work great here I think.
·        Old Chimneys King Henry – The King from the latest series looks like a young King Henry VIII. He works very well for any ‘King’ named beer.  
·        Cantillon Blaeber – The cowboy would be perfect for this.

Thank you to Tom for taking the time to answer my questions, hopefully you check out his work, its good fun!
Beer Farts is on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and also has a few blog posts here.


Whisky cocktails

Its been a while since I've had a chance to participate in one of Steve @TheWhiskyWire's organised TweetTastings (and even longer since I've written one up!); so I jumped at the chance when the opportunity arose. Even better was that this time the tasting would include three cocktails by White Lyan (2014 best newcomer cocktail bar in world) which means Daisy would also be able to join in.

 We kicked off with with Cutty Sark 33y/o blend (a limited whisky available for the princely sum of £650 a bottle). On the nose its a lot of caramel and butterscotch which would be off-putting in a beer (a sign of diacetyl, usually indicating the beer wasn't given long enough in the fermenter) but in a whisky indicates time spent in bourbon barrels. I described it last night as "woody Werthers Originals". Alongside that is obviously lashings of vanilla (another bourbon wood - American Oak - characteristic), the furniture polish that often crops up in a venerable dram like this and an underlying stewed pears sweetness likely from esters in one (or more) of the component parts, of which there are almost 50 from 9 distilleries!
As it opens up on the nose I got a touch of cola and fruity rosso vermouth, which carries on into the taste quite sweet too, vanilla first and foremost, then caramel and then some whisky warmth. Its truly a lovely blend toasted marshmallow jelly belly bean and butterscotch all appear as it develops in the mouth finishing really smoothly. Even Daisy didn't struggle to drink it, though still to boozy as a neat spirit for her.

After clearing our palates we moved on to the first of three cocktails produced by White Lyan. White Lyan batch up all of their cocktails themselves, which ensures consistency and speed of service on busy evenings in the bar, they also sell some of their most popular tipples through Selfridge's. We were instructed to chill our glasses but refrain from using ice. They don't use ice in any of their drinks, instead using technical wizardry to get all of their drinks to the correct dilution ratio. Their brief was Art Deco inspired cocktails; so they've dug deep into the recipe books and came out with three drinks, all with White Lyan twist of course!

Our first drink is an Artist's Special made with Olorosso sherry, an interpretation of lemon juice and of course Cutty Sark whisky. It offers up sweet red apple e & caramel on the nose but to drink its all about the sherry, rich fruitcake and raisins a plenty.  I'd perhaps have liked the balance more towards the sour side and the sherry dominates over the whisky but its certainly easy drinking finishing with a rich sherried note.

Cocktail #2 is called Seelbach, named for the hotel where it was created in 1917. We had to add our own soda water to a blend of whisky, bitters, distilled champagne and triple sec. I was pretty chuffed to pick up that both Angostura and Peychaud's had been used, though scaled back from the original 7 dashes of each! On the nose there's the rich orangey triple sec plus whisky vanilla notes giving something reminiscent of Campari. Its bubbley, warming and a fruity orange, clove and nutmeg to taste reminiscent of some Caribbean rum punches  or even mulled Gluhwein. A refreshing cocktail that I'll certainly look to replicate in the future.

An Old Fashioned is a classic drink that everyone should have in their repertoire, but this being a White Lyan tasting its obviously been mixed around a bit. Instead of simple syrup the whisky is washed through beeswax, picking up some honey sweetness and also removing some of the larger aroma/ flavour compounds smoothing out the edges to give a rich and luxurious finish. They also added gold flakes - just because they can I guess! What we're left with is the obviously named Beeswax Old Fashioned which really does smell of beeswax candles but also hints at cheese rinds. Taste wise its a little on the sweet side but it really does allow the complexity of the whisky to shine through.

We enjoyed all three cocktails; though the Seelbach was our joint favourite. Would certainly urge you to try recreating these at home! And if you're feeling flush; the whisky is certainly very nice but a little steep for our budget. Its been great to get the opportunity to try these and we're now determined to visit White Lyan on our next trip to London. Massive thanks as  usual to Steve for organising the whole thing and Cutty Sark and White Lyan for providing the drinks and tasting company, Slainté!


On Unusual Ingredients in Beer

I've been sitting on this post for far too long, having previously intended to publish it as a #beerylongread but then Boak and Bailey published a very similar analysis as I was planning. I have promised the lovely Natalia a write-up; so its about time I moved this from draft to published...

The use of "non-beer" ingredients is often frowned upon in some beer circles, particularly those who cite beers conforming to the Reinheitsgebot as the pinnacle of barley beverage perfection. Others deride brewers for bunging in any old ingredient for the sake of it, often ending up with something far removed from beer. Whilst I agree that it does go on (and I've tasted my fair share of poorly-conceived or barely masked poor brews) I think that when done well additional ingredients can enhance a beer and bring something different - and lets face it we all like to experience different flavours. At its best novel ingredients can give lift a beer to new heights or even spawn a whole new style. It can also work well to differentiate a beer from similar competing products and give beer a sense of place by tying it to its region regardless of whether or not the bulk of the ingredients are locally sourced.
One brewery making good use of indigenous ingredients are Amazon Beer, based in Campia Belem in Brazil (that's in the North of Brazil, just inland from the coast and on the edge of the Amazon rainforest.)They use ingredients from Brazil to enhance the beers they brew and introduce people to Brazilian flavours. A lot of the ingredients are popular within Brazil but largely unknown outside the country; so now they're beginning to export they're raising the profile of Brazilian ingredients around the world. The process for designing the beers varies; sometimes the brewer decides on a certain style then selects an ingredient to complement the style. On other occasions the inverse is true Caio (brewery sommelier) brings a potential ingredient to his father (Armindo)and a beer is designed to bring out the best in it - both methods are valid as far as I'm concerned. They're also happy to work with others to exchange ideas and even produce collaboration brews.

I (and a few others it seems) was sent some bottles to try (all the way from Brazil). Whilst I'd heard of a few of the ingredients, the majority were new to me; so to keep things interesting I refrained Wkipedia-ing until after I'd tried them!

First up was Forest Bacuri a 3.8% pale golden ale. It had a Koelsch like nose, fruity strawberry with a touch of diacetyl, steady stream of bubbles, pillowy white head collapsing to lacing.In the mouth its more like a helles, fairly clean with Zippy carbonation, fairly sweet with peach and glucose, ends slightly thin with a touch of damp cardboard but pleasant enough, akin to a cheaper helles. Not really sure I could detect anything out of the ordinary here but quite enjoyed the beer. Bacuri allegedly is both sweet and sour and I certainly picked up on the sweetness but can't say it really enhanced my drinking experience.

 I did however find Cumaru IPA (5.7%) quite intriguing, with preserved lemon and ginger sponge becoming reminiscent of fresh apple strudel on warming. Full bodied with a gentle carbonation, cinnamon, herbal hops & sultana bagel. It reminded me somewhat of Windsor and Eton's Kohinoor IPA with cardamom and jaggery. Turns out Cumaru is another name for the tonka bean, a trendy (and cheaper) alternative to vanilla. Its certainly produced an interesting beer on this occasion and I'd certainly enjoy it again.

The red ale, Priprioca  is a heady 6% and slightly hazy chestnut with caramel and red apple on nose and tasting like toffee apple stuck in a sponge cake with a lasting fruitiness. Again, I couldn't really draw distinction between the flavours expected from malt in the style and the added ingredient (apparently a kind of root) but it probably does contribute to the complexity. Its not really the kind of beer I'd buy anyway but quite liked it.

Both the witbier and a bottle of pilsner (I bought the latter myself, pleased to find it in my local offy) were disappointing. Whilst the pilsner was a generic lager with no stand out features or ingredients to recommended it, the former seemed infected

My favourite of the bunch was the Acai stout, 7.2% - this really showcases what an added ingredient can bring to a beer. Pouring dark brown with pale tan head and slightly lactic fruity sultanas and prunes on the nose like an over-aged Christmas cake. To taste its fairly complex with mixed fruits, dry berries and a mint note which helps to tie everything together. Being an ingredient I was familiar with (through its addition in various foodstuffs as a "super ingredient") I'm pretty sure I was able to pick out the Acai berry but it was well integrated and complemented the style well. I'd certainly recommend buying a few bottles of this one if you see it.


So what did we learn here about added ingredients? Nothing profound really, sometimes it can enhance a beer's flavour and others its not really detectable. It can be a fun way to get a beer noticed however and done well produce tasty results. Speaking to Natalia Amazon are currently working on a porter made with cupulate - a chocolate made from Cupuaçu seed which is certainly one I'd be looking out for, being a big fan of porters. A big thank-you for the opportunity to try the beers and being so patient with waiting for my thoughts!  I'll certainly continue to try beers with added ingredients as they often do throw up some gems -I'd urge you not to write them off either.

Amazon Beer


Beyond The Boundary

With the first batch of bottles rushing off the shelves faster than they could be stocked and the entire first batches sold out within days I knew I needed to get hold of Boundary's new beers before it was too late. Luckily i managed to snaffle a few bottles of each via my usual purveyor of libations, The Vineyard. But before I let myself sample my illicit gains I thought I'd better call in on Matt at the Brewery...

Matt and his new brewery!
Calling the PortView trade centre home since February Boundary have been busy making Unit A5 ship shape and ready for action for most of that period. Simultaneously they begun brewing their first batches of beer, bottles from which I will be reviewing below. Arriving in to the brewery on a miserable Wednesday lunchtime I'm greeted by bright lights, gleaming steel and the sound of high pressure water circulating post caustic-rinse. Matt stands beaming and hirsute amongst his newly acquired equipment, "I've just taken samples of the beers, would you like to try them?" Not one to offend I of course jump at the opportunity to sample the three beers in the core range and not one but two collaboration specials with Galway Bay (both of the latter are to be barrel aged; but you'll need to wait for ABV fest to find out what they are!)

Galway Bay collabs sleeping soundly in warm conditioning
Matt shows me around the brewery, pointing out the freezer (essential for hop life), pest proofed grain store and conditioning room replete with barrels "I bought 20 but only 6 are for us, the rest are already accounted for". Of course there has been teething problems, for example some of the fermenters don't seal correctly and there was no way to recirculate the wort, but these have now been Heath-Robinsoned out. With all vessels currently filled there will soon be a need to buy more. There's plenty of space within the brewery but Matt has his sights set on the unit next door "Its still unoccupied and I could use a space for a barrel store..."

Pallets of stock and the three label designs
The first event was held in the brewery last Saturday, managing to squeeze 80 people in for a cheese and beer tasting. There's also an artist studio where the resident label designer has already been hard at work but will also be available for the local community to rent. Being a part of the community is very important for the team and is why the brewery was set up as a co-operative. This has of course ppaid dividends in the form of a market thirsty for their beers!

The three "core" beers
"So what of the beers?", I hear you ask, alright I'm getting to it! There are 3 in the core range an APA at 3.8 %, an IPA at 7% and rounded out by an export stout also at 7% ABV. They're all bottle conditioned too, which should please the real ale fans though Matt says he's had to bring forward plans to keg the beer as bottled product just doesn't get the exposure in pubs in Belfast.

I sampled the APA first, a sensible plan given the jump in ABV of the next two! Priced very fairly at £2.09 it certainly drinks as a session beer. peach tea and mango on nose. Decent level of body for its diminutive ABV, light carbonation, gentle bitterness, red berries and some biscuit. Very sessionable indeed and would sing on cask. If anything I'd prefer a 500ml bottle to really get to know it, ah well I'll have to make do with a second 330ml...

The IPA certainly seems related to the APA but with a different hop bill Matt assures me. Its pretty boisterous on the nose with a mess of yeast esters interfering with what is obviously an exiting aroma - a base note of orange bitters jus makes its through. Super pithy grapefruit peel with herbal sage and pine notes, heavy body, super bitter, a little sticky with a dry finish, its not boozy per say but doesn't have the cleanliness of Kernel or Beavertown. Not how I enjoy my IPAs but will probably have plenty of fans and certainly the highest perceived bitterness of any beer on the IRish market to my knowledge! (In fact it reminds me of some of the Evil Twin/ Mikkeller efforts brewed at De Proef.)

I finished things off with the Export Stout, which is much more up my street. Daisy tasted it too; she thought [that it] "smells metallic, coffee, marmite chocolate and peanut...mocha chocolatey coffee. Mouthfeel is good, quite bitter 'Steve will like it' really smooth but tongue filling bitterness, touch of sweetness, lots of dark coffee flavour, should be called espresso stout. Actually its not really marmitey and its less bitter when you return to it" 
I picked up rich roast barley with chocolate coffee and a touch of mint on the nose. Its full bodied but smooth with light carbonation preventing it from becoming too heavy. Its roasty burnt toast with a touch of liquorice and quite brief in finishing with a touch of sweetness but not overly complex. It picked up a touch of burnt rasin/blackcurrant after allowing it to sit a while but overall  Iid have liked a few more hops to balance the malt and provide some lift.

So whilst I thought all three beers were well brewed (and amazingly so given how new the setup is!) it was the APA that I really enjoyed and will certainly be drinking again. The Export Stout would make a good base to a black and tan (The mixed drink, not the uniform!) but the IPA in its current guise just isn't my thing. There are still bottles in local off-licences and pubs; so go and try them for yourselves!


Finally getting decent beer in Belfast

I've been a bit lax with posting recently and this blog is perhaps a month past when it should have been posted, better late than never they say! A lot going on beer wise in NI at the mo, hopefully do a few posts in coming weeks to catch up a bit, not least on new breweries and beer venues in our capital.

Perhaps helped by the appearance of some craft-styled breweries in the North and the resurgence of good beer on the island of Ireland as a whole Belfast will host a new beer festival this Spring bank holiday (May 22nd-23rd). Set 6months apart and serving mostly from keg and bottle this will be a completely different affair to the November CAMRA cask festival held in the Ulster hall.

The listed and atmospheric Titanic Drawing Offices
ABVFest (for that is its name) has been organised by four disparate beer enthusiasts who have come together to bring decent beer to our shores.
Darren met Felicia at a beer tasting event at the National last year and she began to distribute his (Pokertree) beers through her business (Prohibition NI). Whilst they both love the Ulster Hall festival it doesn't reflect where good beer is in Ireland right now and wanted to run an event focussing on quality of beer, regardless of format where a group of enthusiasts could come together and enjoy beers in a more relaxed environment. When Boundary's Matt and Michael came along it turned out they were planning a festival on similar lines; so four people came together with the idea of putting on something a bit different in Belfast, modelled on the likes of Indy Man beer con. This is not least reflected in the choice of venue, wrangled somehow by Matt and Michael is the use of the formerly bustling now decrepit Titanic Drawing Offices. The festival will be the final event there before it becomes a boutique hotel. Of course this does mean if the event is successful they'll need a new venue next year, which is all part of the ethos says Darren!

All four are from different backgrounds and each contributed their own take on what they want from a festival, it really will be a reflection on four people's tastes. Michael's creative eye (he's a photographer by trade) has helped design the style of the festival and as the only non-beer-trade organiser he acts as a proxy for all 1200 attendees to ensure the festival caters for the geeks as well as the brewers!

A Boundary and Galway Collab Brewday
Photo courtesy of Tom Delaney
Each session will be fairly small with 400 people, allowing for conviviality rather than hubbub sometimes seenthe attendees reading like a who's who of the best our islands (and the worldwide brewing community) have to offer. Felicia's extensive list of contacts and good will built among brewers in the few short years Prohibition has been operating has resulted in an astonishing array of beers, the like of which have never before been seen on our shores including a number of festival specials and one-offs (currently held tightly underwraps) plus the official launch of newest Belfast brewery Boundary with their AGM being held on Saturday morning. It will also serve as a showcase for Northern Ireland brewers; all were invited and most were excited to attend, though Darren was at pains to stress that this is not "The Good Food show NI for beer" its a celebration of beer first and foremost, with of course a chance for enthusiasts to put the faces to the brewsters and brewers whose wares they so enjoy. Felicia said "we wanted to create an experience and not just a drinking session,  a festival that could allow people to taste some of the best beers that are available." In that respect ABV will be completely different to anything seen in Northern Ireland to date

And there will be a number of those purveyors of beers present at the event, behind the bar chatting all things beer, ably assisted by a posse of volunteers (including yours truly; who has volunteered to manage a bar for all three sessions). Most of these beers will be served on keg, 40 at one time across two bars, supplemented by a fistful of bottles. A lot will be a single keg only, meaning you'll have to make do with what's on during your session, but working out what's on is all part of the fun! There will also be some ciders for those of the fermented apple beverage persuasion and of course with decent drink must come decent food and a number of proper street food trucks will be in attendance.

Michael said "We've planned a festival that we know we'd love ourselves and I can't wait to enjoy it." He's particularly looking forward to a few "dark beasts" with more details to be released in the coming weeks @ABVFest.Felicia is also looking forward to seeing others getting pleasure from the beers, finding out "how fun and interesting beer can be, trying beers they have maybe never tried before and having a bit of craic." This sharing aspect will be cultured by some special tastings on the day.

Could this vial hold a clue?
I'm most looking forward to trying the Boundary Beers on draught (including some of those aforementioned collaborations)* and meeting a lot of those people who help keep our beer community lubricated plus of course catching up with old friends from around the UK. And for the team behind the festival its all a bit overwhelming but of course very exciting, "it's amazing how many hundreds of people have been so quick to buy tickets and support our efforts to do something different". The Friday, Saturday evening and weekend passes had already sold out one month before hand; so you'll need to act fast to get one of the last tickets for a Saturday lunchtime session (12-5)  and the final Saturday day session tickets sold out shortly afterwards. There is a waiting list, so try your luck on the website, hope to see you there!

*I'll hopefully bring you an update of these as soon as I hear about them!