Beerista: Microbrewing in the Wicklow hills
Located in the village of Red Cross, Wicklow Brewery has an impressive range of beers
The Wicklow Brewery has a selection of craft beers, including Black 16 stout, the Wicklow Weiss and its award-winning HopKnut Pale Ale
Mickey Finn’s Pub is tucked away in the Wicklow hills and, at a first glance, looks like your typical rural Irish pub. But take a look around the back and you’ll find a different story: a huge beer hall, a shiny brewery and – when I visited – crates of freshly packaged cans of their award-winning HopKnut Pale Ale.
The Wicklow Brewery, as it’s called, is located in the quiet village of Red Cross. The most noticeable change since I visited about two years ago is that many of the mainstream offerings on tap have been replaced by their own beers.
You’ll get everything from their Black 16 stout or the Wicklow Weiss, to a Peach and Apricot Saison or their GingerKnut ale.
In the beer hall, which is open at weekends, you’ll get a taster tray of three beers for €5, while in the Brewery Bistro, there’s Helles Fish and Chips and Beeramisu, among other beer-themed dishes.
“The locals have really embraced it,” says brewer Jason Carroll, who lives on site with his dog, Lucy. Originally from Cork city, he previously worked as a sound engineer and, after a stint of homebrewing, got a job with Franciscan Well in Cork and briefly at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Dublin. He joined the Wicklow Brewery in February.
“It feels like a young Fran Well here,” he says, showing me around the brewery where they host regular tours for visitors and holidaymakers staying at the nearby campsite.
Their biggest seller is the Wicklow Helles, followed by St Kevin’s Red. Recently, they hosted a small craft beer festival with guest taps from Wicklow Wolf, O’Haras, Yellow Belly and others.
The HopKnut Pale Ale is a treat– it’s got a clean, citrus character, a hint of caramel and a solid bitterness. You can buy it in cans or take a leisurely outing to Wicklow and enjoy it freshly kegged.