Being the fourth biggest beer drinkers in Europe, and home to the world-famous Guinness brand, we Irish know a thing or two about beer! It’s no surprise then that the beer scene here is thriving - particularly in the Craft Brewery arena, with new micro-breweries and beers appearing all the time.
Here’s our list of five of the country’s best breweries and micro-breweries that are an absolute must for the beer connoisseur.
Opened in 1996 as Dublin's first pub-brewery, The Porterhouse claim their success lies in the naming of their first brew: Weiserbuddy (you'd be a wiser buddy to drink this beer!). Shirking ‘mainstream’ beer, the Porterhouse serves a mix of home-brews along with Ireland’s largest selection of world classic beers.
Choose from a range of ales, lagers and stouts along with seasonal brews and ‘Speciality’ beers including the interesting ‘Chocolate Truffle Stout’ based on the Porterhouse’s award-winning Plain Stout. Mix that with live music nightly and traditional sessions at weekends, good pub grub and a location in Dublin’s Cultural Quarter; it should be the first ‘port’ of call for beer lovers in Dublin!
The Porterhouse also have bars in Cork, Wicklow, London and New York.
The Oslo Bar, home to the Galway Bay Brewery, is Galway’s first and only micro-brewery. Here you can enjoy brilliantly named (and flavoured) brews such as ‘Buried at Sea’, ‘Full Sail’ and the Beoir ‘Beer of the Year’ 2014 winner, ‘Of Foam and Fury’; along with international beers, a varied menu and Galway's largest screen for sporting events.
The Brewery Company have big plans of expansion over the coming year and are hoping to offer brewery tours and talks on the craft of brewing with the Brewer himself; along with stocking their products in local restaurants. They also run two other pubs in Galway along with six in Dublin - meaning you’re never too far from a bottle of ‘Stormy Port’.
Thirty-four years in the making, Hilden is the oldest independent brewery in Ireland. All of their beers are available on draught at different times of the year - from the full-bodied Hilden Irish Stout to the Headless Dog, a pale hoppy ale; or the Belfast Blonde, a light and crisp beer.
Enjoy their brews in the surrounds of the Tap Room, Hilden's working brewery and restaurant in the beautiful and historic Georgian setting at Hilden House. If in Belfast City, make sure to head to Molly’s Yard - an unpretentious restaurant serving Hilden Brews along with great-quality modern Irish cuisine - a must-visit for all craft beer enthusiasts!
Set in a handsome building at the end of Oliver Plunkett Street in Cork City, this ‘nano-brewery’ abides by German Purity Laws, using only four ingredients in their beers. Their Smokehouse Restaurant also has a small but superb menu - featuring dishes like Spiced Fried Chickpeas; Slow Smoked Baby Back Ribs; and Seared Scallops - which perfectly complement their beers. Try their Angel Stout, Wisdom Ale or Liberty Porter, or opt for a tasting tray of three or four house beers!
Elbow Lane also run three other Cork City restaurants - one of which is located in the Blackrock Castle Observatory - each stocking their carefully crafted brews.
While certainly not a micro-brewery, no list of Irish Breweries would be complete without mentioning Guinness - the world’s largest brewer of stout. Take a tour of the Storehouse in Dublin, where the rich heritage of Guinness is brought to life. The experience starts by standing at the bottom of the world's largest pint glass, which rises up through the centre of the seven storey building.
Follow the Master Brewer, Fergal Murray, as he guides you step-by-step through the brewing process. Discover how just four ingredients are combined, using age old traditions and state of the art modern technology, to craft the perfect pint of Guinness - and of course visitors will get to sample ‘the Black Stuff’ in the Taste Experience, before heading to the rooftop bar with panoramic views of Dublin.
For more details and great-value tickets, see here.
What are your favourite Beers and Breweries in Ireland? We'd love to hear from you!
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