Craft Beer in Ireland
Beer in Ireland traces back to 3000 BC, and its Irish word for beer coirn, derives from the celtic word used for cereal. Even Irish legendary patron, St Patrick had his own brewer—Mescan—, and ale was brewed in monasteries throughout the country. Up to the 18th century, ales were produces in small local breweries caled alehouse, that were run by women also known as alewives. The most common style was what is now known as Irish Red Ale. It was also in the 18th century, when Arthur Guiness bought a small brewery in Kildare, that would later become the world famous Guiness Brewery, that started to brew Porter in 1799, and later would create their famous Foreign Extra Stout. But with industrialization, the variety slowly started to decline, going down from 200 breweries in the 19th century, to just 12 in 2007, after the first signs of the craft brewing movement emerged in Ireland, with new breweries as Galway Bay, O Brother or Whiplash.
Irish beer brands
Whiplash is a brewery founded in Dublin (Ireland) in 2016 by Alex Lawes and Alan Wolfe. Both met when working for another Irish craft brewery, Rye River Brewing Company. They decided to start Whiplash as a side project, producing their first beers as a gypsy brewery. They well soon recognized with several prizes from public and beer bloggers, so in 2017, they decided to quit their jobs and dedicate full time in 2017, and in 2019 they opened their own brewery in Ballyfermot, in the outskirts of Dublin. They brewed one of the best Irish IPAs, Let It Happen, and have brewed in collab with breweries like Garage Beer or Barrier Brewing.
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Galway Bay is an Irish brewery founded in 2009 by Niall Walsh and Jason O’Connell. They have previously started a gourmet pizza delivery company called Pizza Eile. They later pivoted to the burger business and after moving to a bigger venue called the Oslo, where they started to brew their own beers. Even though they were not initially planning to make their living out of beer, soon they saw the demand was booming and they founded the brewery. They recently moved to a new brewery in the outskirts of Galway, where they plan to expand until 40.000 Hl a year, and hired a new head brewer, Will Avery.
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Kinnegar Brewing is an Irish brewery from Rathmulan, in Ulster (Ireland) founded in 2013 by Rick LeVert and Libby Carton. Both knew each other in New York, then moved to Germany and came back to Rick's hometown. In 2017 they opened a new brewery in Letterkenny while still keeping the old one for their sour beer production. Their name comes from a nearby beach, known for its rabbit colony, and their beers are all named after local toponyms and traditions.
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O Brother is an Irish brewery founded in 2014 by three brothers, Barry, Brian, and Paddy O’Neill. In December 2014, they decided to give up their former jobs, and jumped into creating their own brewery, based in Kilcoole (Ireland). When looking for second hand brewing equipment, they casually met Iain Masson, former head brewer at Green King. Iain soon also joined the team and they started brewing in 2015. In 2016 they were also joined by Rich Barrett, former brewer at the California craft beer scene. They are one of the most promising new Irish brewing, excelling with IPAs like The Dreamcatcher.
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Dot Brew is an Irish brewery founded in 2016 by Shane Kelly, with their friends Peter and Mikey, with whom he already had experiences as homebrewers. They are focused in hoppy IPAs that they brew in different microbreweries all along Dublin and then they barrel-age in their own facilities.
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Land & Labour
Land & Labour is a side project from Galway Bay Brewery head brewer, Tom Delaney, focused in sour and wild beers. Their aim is to create mixed fermentation beers with Bretts and wild yeasts, without reaching a high acidity. They have created a separated environment for this side project, and imported aged foeders from Italy, France or Switzerland. It was started in 2018, and their first available references where presented in 2020, featuring Saison de Coupage and Screaming Trees.
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