Every year, Owen Ogletree of Brewtopia Events organizes a special trip comprised of Craft Beer Professionals and enthusiasts. While this has been a tradition for quite sometime, I have only been privy to these heavenly getaways for the last two years.
The goal is to explore the craft beer culture of another country. It’s a way to see how each place is making it their own. On these trips, it has truly been exciting to venture into different brew houses, pubs & bars and seeing how craft beer is both universal yet unique to its surroundings.
These trips make it apparent that the United States is a leader in the craft beer industry. Being such a young country, we can’t say that about many things but it’s undeniable that brewers in America have been studious in resurrecting and perfecting long forgotten styles as well as with being adventurous with new ones.
For instance, last year’s trip was to Italy. It was fascinating to be in a country that has trumped the United States in so many areas; art, culture, industry (to be fair, they have a few thousand years on us) yet when it came to Craft Beer they were behind us by at least a decade. That’s not to say that the beer wasn’t fantastic just that they are still figuring things out and have only recently developed the loyal followers that we’ve been enjoying for quite some time.
This year, our group was lucky enough to explore the beautiful island of Ireland. Along with amazing craft beer, we also toured a few distilleries. I thought it’d be fun to recap the trip here as a way to reminisce as well as share the experience with my readers.
The first day of any trip is pretty laid back. People are jetlagged and running on adrenaline, which tends to wear thin pretty quick.
The group met in the lobby of our hotel in Dublin before walking to Teeling Distillery for a tour. I know, a whiskey tour on a beer trip? Crazy! However, keep in mind that with barrel aging becoming more and more popular in craft beer there are many intersections of beer and whisky (as well as wine, sherry and bourbon) so it’s all good. I for one will never turn my nose to anything that been fermented for my enjoyment.
The Teeling Distillery opened in 2015 and is the only operational distillery in the city. On the tour, you learn about the Teeling family and their history with whiskey along with the distilling process. As a beer nerd it’s always fun to compare and contrast brewing beer and distilling spirits.
Owen does a great job at providing an extensive list of the best beer bars wherever we go and it’s common to break off into groups to explore them. Later in the day, a few of us decided to grab a few drinks at The Long Hall. This is one of the oldest pubs in Dublin and is like taking a trip back in time. Pints of Guinness, settling and waiting for a second fill, line the bar as patrons squeeze in to made room for one another. You’re sure to make a friend here.
Our first group dinner was at Galway Bay’s Alfie Byrnes where we enjoyed even more pints. Being the first day of the trip, the meal was short for many as we slowly began breaking away to get back to the hotel and sleep.
Day one was the perfect prelude to what was sure to be an exciting romp through Ireland’s craft beer scene.
Check out the photo gallery below. Disclaimer: The first day was not well documented and all pictures are from my iPhone. It gets better, I promise!
If you’d like to go on a super cool beer adventure led by the one and only Owen Ogletree then find out how here.