As countries go, Ireland is a fairly beer centric place. The pub is an integral part of Irish society — the capital city of Dublin is a place of so many pubs that in his 1922 opus Ulysses, James Joyce mused that "a good puzzle would be to cross Dublin without passing a pub". And in those pubs today, as in Joyce's time, one out of every three pints ordered is a thick, malty, lovely Guinness. But a batch of brave new microbrewers across Ireland are looking to change that.
These modern brewers are building on history — at one time, Ireland had a vibrant regional beer industry, with each town or county proudly drinking the local product. This tradition died out in the 20th century as larger brewers grew and smaller independents faltered. The micro-brewery movement that swept the US and the UK over the past few decades never fully took root in Ireland but new tax laws and an increased interest has led to a bevy of small brewers making some eclectic and flavorful beers. Here are five of our favorites, let us know yours.
Dungarvan Brewing Company, has a core range of three beers - the chocolate and anise Black Rock Irish Stout, a smooth and fruity Copper Coast Red Ale and the bright and dry Helvick Gold Blonde Ale. The range is supplemented by seasonal selections, like a coffee and oatmeal stout with full flavor and a dry chocolatey mouthfeel. Dungarvan's beers are traditionally brewed and bottled on-site in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford made using only four ingredients – barley, hops, yeast and water. The brews are unfiltered, unpasteurised and vegan-friendly.
The Galway Hooker Brewery in Roscommon in the West of Ireland believes that when it comes to beer, like other food, the fresher the better. All of their beers, like the flagship bitter and biscuity Galway Hooker Irish Pale Aleare unpasteurized and devoid of any chemicals.
Carlow Brewing, also known as O'Hara's Brewery makes two stouts — the smoky, chocolate, and coffee flavored Leann Follain and a robust almost licorice tasting Irish Stout. Their Curim Gold Celtic wheat beer takes its name from an old Celtic word for beer and is refreshing and slightly fruity.
The Porterhouse Brewing Company makes Wrasslers Irish Stout . With an appealing almost burned and chocolate taste, Wrasslers is made from an recipe dating back to "Deasy's of West Cork" who made this local stout through the 1930s. It was said to be the favorite tipple of Irish Patriot Michael Collins. The Porterhouse range also stretches to a coppery An Brain Blasta ale and Temple Brau, a clean cut Pilsner with a redolent hoppy scent.
Trouble Brewing in Co. Kildare makes the refreshing and hoppy Ór Golden Ale from a mixture of traditional English and modern American hops. They also produce a deep, dark, unfiltered Dark Arts porter.