Ireland Beer Trip – Day 3 – Wexford, I hardly knew ya’!

Day 3 was pretty chill. This is the day that we left good ‘ole Dublin for greener pastures. We had our bags packed and were ready to board our bus at 8am. That’s where Barry (the bus driver) entered our lives and he’ll be a better man for it, I’m sure.

This bus is the coolest place you’ll ever experience for several reasons:

1) It is not uncommon to start popping bottles of delicious beer by 8:15 am

2) There is no class system on the bus. Unlike high school, everyone is cool

3) We’re got some pretty funny people so the laughter is boisterous and often.

Our first stop was Carlow Brewing Company, better known as O’Hara’s. This is a family owned brewery that opened in 1996 with the vision of brewing traditional Irish styles with quality ingredients. This isn’t a hard task as the brewery is located in the heart of Ireland’s malt and hop-growing “Barrow Valley” region.

The O’Hara’s team was extremely welcoming with a table of food and beer flowing freely from the taps. My favorite style was the Irish Red. The sweet caramel notes balanced nicely with the maltiness. At 4.3% ABV it’s an easy drinking beer with lots of flavor. A perfect combination! You can check out the complete O’Hara’s line-up here.

After about an hour of riding, we arrived in Wexford, Ireland. This small town is located in southeast Ireland, at the mouth of the River Slaney. We didn’t have much time to explore before dinner but I fell in love with its windy, cobblestone streets and vow to return one day.

Dinner was at Simon Lamert & Sons Pub and Brewery. This pub features its own beers, which are brewed on site. The brewery is called Yellowbelly and produces award-winning brews that can be found all over Ireland.

I had already tried several Yellowbelly beers at bars across Dublin and was an instant fan. I honestly had not had one beer of theirs that I didn’t like. My favorite was a Berliner Weisse called “Jack Bauer’s Power Shower” – aside from the awesome name this was a very mild, approachable sour with hints of orange peel. You can check out Yellowbelly’s full list of beers here.

After a delicious dinner and many beers, we took the bus to check out Yellowbelly’s brand spankin’ new brewery. Just a few minutes drive from the restaurant, the new digs were coming together nicely. They had yet to begin brewing so that “new brewery smell” was ever present with squeaky-clean fermenters and a canning line ready to be fired up.

They were scheduled to begin production shortly after our visit and I think I can speak for the entire group in saying that we wish them the best and hope everything is running smoothly.

Fun Fact: This month, Simon Lamber & Sons Brewpub was named “Pub of the Year 2017” for Co. Wexford at the Irish Restaurant Awards. Congrats!

With a full belly and heavy eyes, we headed to our hotel. The next day we were headed to Galway to see old friends and make new one’s. Stay tuned!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ireland Beer Trip – Day 1- Jet Lag, Whiskey & Booze

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.

Day 1

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.

 

 

I’ve Got The Post Trip Blues

 

meinireland
Me living it up in Ireland.

Cue the guitar cause I’ve got the blues.

I’m home after two wonderful weeks in Ireland and I’m a little bummed. This is normal, right?

When you’re planning a trip the anticipation is overwhelming. Anything is possible. Oh, the things you’ll do and see!

When you’re on the trip you’re blown away. Each day is packed with excitement. New places, new people, the food, the buildings; everything is magical.

And then it’s all over.

Sure, you have your memories but you also have spoiled milk and dirty laundry. You’re playing catch-up and fighting fatigue. You spend the first few days thinking about what time it is where you were and what you’d be doing if you were there now.

I’ve very fortunate to have been to so many awesome places and am sure that another adventure is right around the corner. Until then, excuse me while I load the washing machine……

Ha’penny Bridge – Dublin, Ireland

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I snapped a few pictures of the sights at Dublin’s Ha’penny Bridge.

Ha’penny Bridge was built in 1816 and crosses over the River Liffey. In years past, the bridge was covered in ‘love locks’. However, Dublin City Council began removing them in 2012 due to maintenance concerns. They asked people not to put locks on the bridge but as you can see, rebels persist.