Whats New? 2015 edition

2015 brought us another bumper crop of new breweries (see last years round up here), though there are a few that have fallen by the wayside (I had a chance to try most of what I'd missed last year but West Cork still eludes me!). We hit the major milestone of 100 brewers on the island, with a near doubling of outfits in NI; I've covered the new arrivals below:
Barrahooley have a trio of beers including probably NIs first black IPA, which I found to be rather tasty. Sadly yet to come across their other beers.

Boundary burst on to the scene after a highly successful crowd funding round (they're raising money again now). Whilst the core range in general doesn't quite do it for me its the specials which really excite, with the excellent Berliner Vice series and recent Filthy Animal chipotle Porter both ones to try. There's also a series of mid-strength IPAs (push and pull) that has throw up some interesting results. They rightfully took best new opening in my Irish #GoldenPints

Brewbot are known for their app controlled nanobrewery kits & delighted the Belfast beer scene with the launch of their bar; but they also brew beers of their own. They're occasionally on draught in the bar; but I've yet to come across any.

Nightcap brew a golden ale which I've not yet found in the shops

Lacada are another co-operative, this tame based in Portrush. They have a core range of a golden ale (needs work) session IPA (lovely when dry hopped on cask) and a porter (excellent - came runner up in my Golden Pints). They've only recently launched; so expect to find bottles covering the province in 2016.

When We Are Giants appear to be a contract operation, making an an irish ale a pale and a lager. The red actually had some leafy hopping and malt complexity to it which made it a cut above many others.

O'Connor have just a single golden ale so far; decent enough but not exactly filling a gap in the market.

Mourne Mountains wheat beer was very promising on keg at ABV but disappointing in bottle, as were the other two core beers. Both seasonals I've had have been enjoyable though, in particular the pumpkin porter which was luxuriant without overdoing the cakey spices. Also really like the thought that's gone in to their logo design.

Walled City actually arrived in the tail end of 2014; but as they weren't serving until May this year I'll include them here. Last month we popped along to the taproom, which has a tasty menu of tapas and larger plates, but more importantly a number of their own beers on draught. All were solid takes on classic styles with the Boom Derry Pale particularly enjoyable - ones to watch in 2016 for sure.

Knockout are another outfit who actually began in the tail end of 2014. A decent core range, the APA is actually hoppier than IPA and my pic of the bunch.

Edit: Maltmeister have recently launched, taking the NI total to 11. They have a wheat ale and a spiced seasonal ale, keep your eyes peeled!

If I've counted correctly there were 24 new outfits starting in 2015 in the south (I'm sure Andrew will correct me!)

Arthurstown brewed two beers in the Kevin Dundon range a standard golden and red ale one-two. Yet to try them but not overly bothered if I don't.

Boyne currently contract brew at White Gypsy and both the dortmunder and pale went down well at ABV fest; looking forward to trying others.

Brewtonic have contracted a couple of brews with Rascals to stock in their Dublin venues. I've not tried them but The Beer Nut has.

Connemara are a new Mayo outfit, just a golden ale thus far and we've not crossed paths.

Corrib brew the Wild Bat range and have only recently launched - I'll hopefully come across them in 2016.

Craftworks are a "Brew your own" facility but also brew their own range under the Postcard label. Their two lagers did nothing for me but I also have their (pricey) tripel which I'll crack open when I have someone to share it with.

A Kerry crowd called Crafty Divils make an amber ale under the name of King Puck.

A gluten free outfit called Desmond and Son has also a trio of beers I've some en route; so stay tuned for an update(if they're any good!)

Drew Fox brews the Cleverman range, fairly standard except for their smoked ale which is rather tasty.

Comedy? troupe Hardy Bucks have a lager contract brewed for them at Rye River...its apparently not worth parting with your pennies for though.

Hope are another Craftworks dwelling outfit, with their initial trio rough round the edges but showing some promise. The exotically spiced saison was rather interesting and would make for a decent pairing with well-spiced dishes particularly a thai green curry.

James Brown has brewed a chocolate Orange Stout and a rhubarb IPA, neither of which have the headline ingredients  particularly discernible which is somewhat disappointing. Having said that the stout is decent enough and picked up first best Irish beer at Killarney this year; so worth picking up if you see it.

We called in to Killarney brew co for an impromptu tour whilst waiting for proceedings to begin at the festival. Its an impressive set up, with obviously no shortage of cash from the outset which will always give a competitive advantage. Of course the best equipment counts for nowt if the brewer isn't up to scratch, but they've done well on that count too, with four decent beers with the (ruby) IPA and helles able to stand their ground against some of the more established players.

Ó Cléirigh in Cavan have been quite quiet thus far with just a ginger ale to their names. Correction: They produce an APA, IPA, a BestBitter & a Kölsch but I've yet to come across them. Look out for the Kölsch on draught in the Beer Market, Dublin.

Radikale is a new gypsy outfit brewing left of centre beers with both the rubanesque and hopster somewhat lacking in hops in bottle - disappointing given the reputation of the brewer.

Raven Brew are based at the Old Schoolhouse in Swords. I hope to make it to the pub next year as there have been good reports on their stout.

Rising Sons are a brewpub based in Cork, opening at the turn of the year. Its the new home of the excellent Mi Dazza stout formerly brewed at franciscan Well. They brew a core range and regular seasonal specials and their pizzas are pretty special too. If I'd been able to visit more than once they'd have been contender for best new opening

Simon Lambert and Sons impressed the Beoir cohort with their Yellowbelly on their recent trip, but I'm yet to come across them in the wild. 

Benwiskin started off at Craftworks with a competent Irish Red Ale and have now moved to Bru and are expanding their range.

Third Circle are also at craftworks with an Irish Red and a saison. Both have gotten off to an okay start but need dialling in somewhat. I wish that red ales weren't so ubiquitous though!

Torc are another Killarney outfit with a less common core range including a wheat beer and a dark ale (basically a mild) which were both pretty tasty on keg and cask respectively.

Another Wicklow outfit, bagging the name Wicklow Brewery based at Mickey Finn's pub but not tried yet.

Wood Key also began at Craftworks but now brew at Independent. Their red ale the Pilgrim encroaches on porter territory and is thus rather more enjoyable than the majority of reds on these shores. Their IPA is currently sat in a box shortly to be in my possession.

Edit: As pointed out below Carlingford Brewing  have also launched in Louth with a red ale and a pale.

So that's yer lot for 2015 (and at a total of 34 3620% 25%more than last year - though a lot are contracted), I didn't seem to do as well tracking them down this year as last (did have 200-odd all told though!); but that's perhaps a sign that newcomers are focussing on local markets first and are perhaps draught only. It does also suggest that their may now be a fight for space on already crowded independent bottle shops' shelves and this squeeze can only continue in 2016.

1 comment:

  1. One more for the Southern list: Carlingford Brewing Company. A Blonde & a Red.