This time last year I was in the middle of an ill advised beer-free (but not booze-free) period when I attended the Beer and Cider fest. That time, all I drank was cider. This time I wanted to drink all the beer. Alas, the only night I could go was Thursday, and I had work the next day and a stag in Killarney to deal with the following night, so moderation was required.
Me and m'colleague NP, arrived early at 5-30 and had the run of the place for a while. We did a circuit of the stands and had lots of interesting chats with the various punters manning the pumps, apart from one, but more of that anon.
I kept a record of the ales sampled but not any tasting notes so the following is from memory...
1. McGraths IPA
Lovely hoppy ale, well balanced.
2.Galway Bay Voyager IPA
Tasty and strong as balls. Didn't try the Full Sail on draught unfortunately, as I love it in bottles.
3. Kentucky IPA
Had it once before on draught and it was super this time too. Tasted the bourbon ale but found it a little sweet for my palate.
4. Kinnegar Devil's Backbone Amber Ale
Had a nice chat with the lovely people here and decided on the amber ale as a break from the IPAs. Very smooth and easy drinking. NP had the Rustbucket Rye Ale, which I also sampled, and it was fantastic - I love this style of ale.
5. Trouble Brewing Deception Golden Ale
An old favourite of mine, yummy on draught. They had various funky beers but I wimped out and played it safe.
6. Franciscan Well IPA
A 7.5% beast, I left it 'til last on purpose. Big, hoppy, and the last nail in my coffin.
The only disappointment of the night was that we didn't manage to sample any of the 8 Degrees brewing beers. I particularly wanted to try the Cyclone IPA on draught and the limited edition Amber Ella. However, on our first circuit of the hall, we waited in vain to be noticed at the 8 Degrees taps for a few minutes and eventually left thirsty. We returned during the evening not once, not twice but three times. However on each occasion we were roundly ignored by the gentlemen behind the stand, who on at least two of the four visits appeared to be chatting idly with a single individual. Perhaps it was because he was on his own, or perhaps because he didn't like the look of us (he wouldn't be the first), who knows? At every other stand we were received graciously, and they patiently listened to my inane, and frequently ill-informed opinions on their proudly produced ales, and were offered many samples and tasters.
I thought perhaps I was being paranoid, but after I left NP stayed on and returned a fifth time to the 8 Degrees stand. Still no dice, (or beer). It's a pity, as I really like their beers and would have liked to sample them on draught.
Next year, I'm not going to plan any other events on this weekend and I'm going to literally drink all the beers. By the way, I'm sure the ciders were fab, they were great last year but I had to narrow my focus.