Beerista: ‘About 90% of brewing beer is cleaning’

O Brother in Wicklow is the latest Irish microbrewery to add cans to their line-up of beers

Brothers Paddy, Barry and Brian O’Neill who set up O Brother brewery 3½ years ago

Brothers Paddy, Barry and Brian O’Neill who set up O Brother brewery 3½ years ago

 

What’s the hardest thing about setting up a brewery? All the stuff that’s not about making beer, reckons Barry O’Neill of O Brother in Kilcoole, Co Wicklow. “About 90 per cent of brewing is cleaning,” says O’Neill, who set up the brewery 3½ years ago with his brothers, Paddy and Brian.

“It can be a bit thankless, starting your own business,” says O’Neill, who is the eldest of the three brothers. “But we’ve learnt a lot about ourselves and what we’re capable of – and as brothers that can be challenging but also rewarding.”

O Brother is the latest independent Irish brewery to add cans to their line-up. Though some drinkers still need a bit of persuading, says O’Neill: “People, particularly in Ireland, still have that association of cans with a more budget product.”

From a brewer’s perspective, cans have huge benefits because they keep the beer fresher and protected from light. “I think if you asked most brewers in Ireland they would – from a product quality point of view – love to switch to cans.” They’re also environmentally friendly, more efficient to transport, infinitely recyclable, you can bring them to festivals and they’re not a safety issue, he adds.

O Brother’s Madhatter double IPA their newest beer Whippersnapper, a light and fresh dry-hopped Berliner Weisse, with a summery 4% alcohol content

“We’ve done 25 beers since we’ve started,” says O’Neill, in a range of styles from porters to saisons and wheat beers. Their four core beers are in bottles, while their lovely Dreamcatcher, a session IPA, Madhatter double IPA and Rainmaker IPA are all available now in the so-called “tallboy” 440ml cans.

Also in cans is their newest beer Whippersnapper, a light and fresh dry-hopped Berliner Weisse, with a summery 4 per cent alcohol content.

 “Whippersnapper is the lowest ABV beer we’ve done – but it’s quite high for the Berliner Weisse style. Though we’re not too hung up on the beer styles or the technicalities of them.”

@ITbeerista, beerista@irishtimes.com

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.