Tag Archives: Irish


Last month, I enjoyed a family vacation in Ireland. We spent two weeks roaming the island, giving me lots of time to explore friendly little pubs, tour breweries, and sample a lot of great beer. Here are my favourites from the trip. You’ll have to be pretty lucky to find most of them in Canada but if you ever visit Ireland, seek them out. Irish craft beers in general are fantastic and these are some of the best I’ve had.
Cousin Rosie’s Pale Ale by McGargles Irish Family Brewers in Celbridge, Ireland

About 90 minutes after my feet touched Irish soil, we discovered the Patriots Inn, which instantly became our Dublin base of operations. It required a little negotiation to make the bartender understand that Guinness isn’t mandatory for tourists. Once we got that sorted, she poured this textbook APA: hoppy, crisp, quaffable—just the beer to start our explorations. Older versions of this got brutal online reviews; either McGargles has improved its game, or those reviewers need to chill.


Bay Ale by Galway Bay Brewery in Galway, Ireland

I ordered this beer because it was the only thing in the restaurant that wasn’t a Heineken product, and I cringed when it turned out to be a copper ale—a style that I usually dislike. Imagine my delight when it turned out to be aggressively hopped, vigorously carbonated, and surprisingly tasty.


Yannaroddy by Kinnegar Brewing in Rathmullan, Ireland

At 4.8% ABV, this coconut porter is an easy sipper. Light but velvety, it’s faintly sweet but not cloying, with a nice dark-malt balance. Well rounded and smooth; beautifully crafted, in an unshowy way. Pairs nicely with a big ol’ pub steak.


Maggie’s Leap by Whitewater Brewery in Kilkeel, Northern Ireland

There are so many India Session Ales in the world, and so many of them are thin, fizzy, and tasteless. This one, on the other hand, was hugely hopped, offering a floral nose and big citrus-zest punch in the taste buds. Combines the drinkability of a session ale with the big flavours of a double IPA.


Tom Crean’s Irish Lager by Dingle Brewing Company in Dingle, Ireland

This is the only beer this little historic brewery makes, so I expected it to be pretty much perfect, and they didn’t let me down. Light, faintly sweet, and malt-forward. The German-style yeast gives it an unmistakably Bavarian quality. One of my favourite lagers ever.


The Sinner by O Brother Brewing in Kilcoole, Ireland

Even in this land of stouts and reds, one sometimes needs a classic American IPA. The Sinner satisfies the craving nicely. It’s carbonated with gusto which, combined with the predominant zesty citrus hops, made it a wonderful quencher after an afternoon of exploring Dublin.


Wrasslers XXXX by The Porterhouse Brewing Co. in Dublin, Ireland

Before the trip, I asked folks on Twitter to recommend a must-visit brewery, and the majority picked the Porterhouse brewpub. They didn’t steer me wrong; I tried two flights and every single beer could have made this list. Black as night, with a thick pearl head and lacing for days, this is a classic Irish stout; lip-smackingly dry with lingering black-coffee bitterness.


Regular contributor and guest reviewer Trevor J. Adams is senior editor with Metro Guide Publishing and the editor of Halifax Magazine. In 2012, he published his first solo book, Long Shots: The Curious Story of the Four Maritime Teams That Played for the Stanley Cup (Nimbus Publishing). You can see what Trevor is drinking on Untappd and follow him on Twitter.


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Magners – Pear Cider (Perry)

20140619-182817-66497912.jpgMagners Irish Cider is a producer of ciders, not just from apples, but a variety of fruits, including pears. Magners is owned by C&C Group, owner of several brands of cider and beer.

From the brewery: “The only fruit we use in Magners Pear Cider is pear. The best quality pears are ripened, carefully selected and then slowly fermented and cold filtered to provide a distinctive character and a delicately refreshing taste.”

And what did I think?

Appearance: Pale yellow in colour, white wine like and very clear. Well carbonated with a bit of head that disappears very quickly.

Aroma: The aroma is fairly light with notes of apple, pear, and grape. There is a little funk.

Taste: The flavour is somewhat wine-like with a fair bit of the pear flavour coming through. A bit on the sweet side of balanced, carbonation keeps the balance from being too sweet. Fairly light and refreshing.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall: Okay, this is not beer, but sometimes its nice to step outside the six-pack box. Perry is a growing trend and because it is refreshing and balanced I can see why. The would be a nice summertime drink for a hot day. On ice, it becomes super smooth and not hard to drink at all. A bit warmer, theres a bit more body and flavour.


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A Little Bit of Irish For You

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, we start to think of some rather dark ale to celebrate with – most commonly the one with a harp on the bottle. When Arthur Guinness set up his brewery in 1759 he was brewing standard ale of the day, but it was when he switched to Porter production that things took off. But what about other Irish beers to celebrate ol’ St. Patrick?


imageBeamish Stout

Dark and bitter, this stout is one of the big three in Ireland, being brewed since 1792. Long lasting head, lots of roast, and coffee. An excellent beer.


Murphy’s Irish Stout

Nuttier and more chocolatey than other stouts, this dark drink with hints of espresso would be great as desert or any other time.



Kilkenny Irish Cream All

Bright redish-brown with a beige head, this ale is smooth and well balanced. Easy drinking and a treat to have.




Murphy’s Irish Red

Bronze in colour with fruity and carmel notes, this red ale finishes crips and dry. Best followed by another.



Smithwick’s Irish Ale

Brewed on the site of an Abbey, this beautifully amber ale is balanced smooth and refreshing.




O’Hara’s Celtic Stout

Brewed in an ancient Celtic tradition with only barley, water, yeast, and hops it pours dark burgundy and is roasty and creamy.