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Don't worry be hoppy
Without in any way having to compromise on quality, this was the year when craft ales, lagers, stouts, porters, and – well, whatever you’re having yourself! – hit the mainstream and proved that we truly are a nation of beer lovers.
Stuart Clark, 24 Oct 2012
The many success stories include Franciscan Well, the Cork brewery that’s been fighting the good fight for the past 14 years and, thanks to a major new contract with an American importer, is poised for a 1,000% increase in output over the next 12 months.
While this will involve the building of a new brewery somewhere in the People’s Republic, the flagship Franciscan Well brewpub will still be on The Mall where you can sample their full-range of tipples including Friar Weisse, Blarney Blonde, Rebel Red, Rebel Lager, Shandon Stout and Shandon Export, which was recently adjudged to be ‘Best Dry Stout in Europe’ at the World Beer Awards.
Increasingly this year, you’ve been able to find the Franciscan Well’s fine beers in like-minded pubs and off-licences nationwide – something that will become even more common in 2013 as they go from micro- to macro-brewery. From October 26 to 28, you’ll be able to enjoy their annual October Beer Festival, admission to which is free. (The Mall, Cork. Tel: (021) 421 0130, franciscanwellbrewery.com).
Not only is it one of the capital’s oldest bars – thirsts have been quenched there since the 1830s – but Messrs. Maguire (Burgh Quay, Dublin 2. Tel: (01) 670 5777, messrsmaguire.ie) is also the only Dublin gastropub with its own brewery. From its two beautiful copper vessels spring a Haus Lager, Rusty Red Ale, Plain Stout, Weiss Beer and American Pale Ale, which have won numerous awards and are the perfect accompaniment to their classic Dublin coddle, bacon & cabbage and – be still our beating hearts! – beef & stout pie.
If the agony of choice is just too much, try the great value tasting tray, which includes samples of all their beers.
Messrs. Maguire are equally as serious about their whiskey, with Kilbeggan, Greenore Single Grain and Connemara Peated Single Malt top of the Hot Press ‘recommended’ list.
Forget mince pies ‘n’ mistletoe, the reason Team Hot Press is counting the days to Christmas is the return of Dungarvan Brewing Company’s Coffee & Oatmeal Stout, a 4.5% ABV seasonal sipper guaranteed to warm even the coldest of winter cockles.