Musically inclined beer festivals, designer whiskey, sweet beet hummus & the GastroGays are all on this fortnight’s menu.
There’s a pronounced rock ‘n’ roll flavour to this year’s Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fair, which runs from February 23-25 in the Dublin Convention Centre and over its three days features the likes of Rackhouse Pilfer, Hermitage Green and Ryan Tubridy’s mates the Camembert Quartet.
On the beery/apply/grainy front, those taking part include Achill Island Brewery, Black Donkey, Blacks of Kinsale, Boyne Brewhouse, Galway Hooker, Eight Degrees, Dan Kelly’s Cider, Nephin Whiskey, Wicklow Wolf, St. Patrick’s Distillery, Rye River, Long Meadow Cider, The White Hag, 5 Lamps, Rascals, the Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company and lots, lots more!
Soakage will be provided by the likes of Barry John’s Sausages, Keogh’s Crisps, Mr. Donuts and Cornude Artisan Popcorn whose Mouthy Masala variety received a much-deserved 2016 Blas na nÉireann nod. Tickets are available from eventbrite.ie.
Meanwhile, those of the DIY persuasion have until April 21 to enter this year’s Smithwick’s Homebrew Challenge, which will earn the winners €1,000 in cash and their own tap in the Guinness Open Gate Brewery for a limited period.
“We’re looking for a summer fruit ale made with any fruit or combination of fruits – a pint you could enjoy with friends that would quench your thirst on a warm summer evening while the BBQ is on the go,” says Smithwicks Brewer Steve Gilsenan. Get the full lowdown at smithwicks.com/homebrew.
February 27 is a red-letter day in the foodie calendar as the Dine In Dublin Festival returns for a week of bargain feasting in some of the capital’s finest eateries. From Gino’s Gelato, The Saddle Room and Pitt Bros to Taco Taco, Dada and Jewel In The Crown, all tastes are catered for. dineindublin.ie.
Hot Flavours was delighted to make the acquaintance last week out at TV3 of the GastroGays, AKA Russell James Alford and Patrick Hanlon who met at DCU in 2010 and have been “inseparable and insufferable in equal quantities since.”
We didn’t think anybody could out-enthuse the Happy Pear twins, but these Duracell bunnies make David and Stephen seem positively sedate! Currently based in London but zipping back regularly for their The Six O’Clock Show appearances – last week Martin and Deirdre were treated to Chicken & Black Pudding En Croute – the duo’s gastrogays.com blog and snapchats always make for tasty reading and viewing.
They also pen a column for Gay Times in the UK, and will be in a state of mild hysteria in May when the Eurovision returns.
The honour of designing this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Jameson bottle falls to Steve McCarthy, a Dublin illustrator with a big, bold, humorous style.
His label incorporates both the ‘Sine Metu’ (‘Chance Your Arm’) motto that’s been at the heart of the company since 1780 and brand spanking new NFC technology.
Recently arrived in SuperValu, who do a great job of supporting artisan Irish producers, are the aforementioned Happy Pear’s Sweet Beet and Original Hummus pots, and the Black Castle range of sodas, which include Bramble Sting, Red Lemonade and a particularly wicked Ginger Beer. All of which, in case you’re watching your waistline, come in at way (or should that be weigh?) below 100 calories.
Finally, we are loving the new 41% Wild Botanical Gin from the good folk at Glendalough Distillery who recommend that you pair it with a Poachers Tonic.
Tipple of the Fortnight
ABV Pater Dubbel
It’s rare that we look beyond these shores for our drinks of quality and distinction, but LIDL have started stocking some extraordinary European beers at equally extraordinary prices.
Having never previously spotted it before in Ireland, we bagged ourselves a case of Abbaye de Vauclair, a 6.5% French Blonde with Caramel, which costs just €2.99 for a 75cl bottle.
Narrowly outpointing it, though, is this revival of a classic Belgian Dubbel that was first brewed by Flemish monks in the 1390s.
Dark mahogany in colour and boasting rich plum, fig, chocolate and brown sugar notes, it’s an absolute steal at €7.99 for a 33cl four-pack.
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