Before we get started today I want to tell you about a couple of upcoming GBH events happening right here in London this September. First up, we’re incredibly excited to be bringing New Belgium’s wonderful sours to British shores for the first ever time, in an event called Into the Wild. They’ll be pouring their 2018 iterations of Le Terroir, Transatlantique Kriek and, of course, La Folie, alongside some incredible cheeses selected by Cheesemonger Ned Palmer, meats from The Charcuterie Board and sourdough from Bread by Bike.
We’ve also hand picked a small selection of brewers, cider makers and winemakers to pour alongside them, in an effort to showcase all things delicious and fermentation driven—and crucially—what they all have in common. Along with New Belgium themselves we’ll be joined by, Burning Sky, Cloudwater, Beavertown’s Tempus Project, Boundary, Oliver’s Cider and Perry and New Zealand’s Garage Project, who’ll be bringing natural wines from their Crushed series. It’s happening on September 5th at the Beer Merchants Tap in Hackney, and I hope to see some of you there.
We’re also busy prepping for this year’s Beavertown Extravaganza. We’ll be there again this year with two days worth of panel talks happening over the course of both sessions on the 7th and 8th of September. A few tickets are still available, but they’re selling fast, so head over to beavertownbrewery.co.uk to grab yours now, and we’ll see you there.
Now onto this week’s episode—an experiment of sorts that ended up being a lot of fun to record. A couple weeks back I travelled to Sligo, on the West Coast of Ireland to visit The White Hag brewery, which happened to be celebrating its fourth birthday with its annual Hagstravaganza Festival.
I can’t tell you how many emails and tweets I’ve had over the years from Irish beer lovers asking me when I was going to visit and experience the Emerald Isle’s thriving beer culture for myself. So, while at the festival, I tried to capture as much of that culture as possible in a series of shorter interviews. I hope you’ll agree that the passion, and enthusiasm for Irish beer is infectiously evident in each one of them.
Over the next couple of hours you’ll hear from The White Hag’s head brewer, Joe Kearns. Tom Delaney, head brewer at Galway Bay Brewery, and his own mixed-fermentation project Land and Labour. Cormac Wall, an Irishman working for Honest Brew in London, who also recently started contributing to GBH’s b-Roll blog. Wayne and Janice Dunne, who collectively as The Irish Beer Snobs author a blog, and host a podcast of their own. Mark Twig and Maurice Deasy of Canvas Brewery, and Francesca Slattery, of London’s Five Points Brewing Company, who lives in Dublin and works as the brewery’s rep out in Ireland.
The Irish beer market is a fascinating one, and also one not without its struggles. It’s an industry dominated by the giants of Heineken and Diageo via its Guinness Brand—the latter going as far as to serve as a core part of this nation’s identity for so many. However, what I found, was that if you scratch below the surface—even just a little—you’ll soon find a thriving set of young, entrepreneurial brewers, each one desperate to prove that the beer scene here is composed of far more than merely “the Black Stuff.”
A quick note—this episode was recorded at a working beer festival, so there is some noise. But hopefully that’ll convey how fantastic the atmosphere was at this event.