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Bottles, cans and kegs: the best craft beers for a party

Go for easy-going pale ales and IPAs and stay away from anything too experimental if you’re having people over

Choosing what beer to get in a keg will need a bit of thought

So you’re having a party? Get a keg of beer. Pouring yourself a pint is a small but wonderful novelty – and every party needs a bit of that. For private parties and events you can get kegs in 20, 30 or 50 litre sizes  – the equivalent to about 35, 52 and 88 pints.

So if your headcount and pint-count make sense then a keg is worth investigating. Event Bars has kegs from Galway Hooker, 8 Degrees, Mountain Man, Carrig Brewing and a number of other microbreweries. A 30 litre keg of Galway Hooker, for example, costs €195 and includes equipment (cooler, taps, gas). You can collect yourself or there’s a €50 delivery charge (see eventbars.ie).

Choosing what beer to get in a keg will need a bit of thought. “We ask customers what their top five beers are,” says Kieran Curtin of the Brew Crew company. With more than 350 available beers – including McGargles, Trouble Brewing and Rascals – they contact breweries and come back to the customer with options. A 30 litre craft keg will cost about €160, with a €90 charge for equipment, and €40 for delivery (see brewcrew.ie).

An alternative is to contact your local microbrewery directly and see if they can sell you a keg of beer. The main issue is equipment, so make sure to check that they can provide/rent that and set it up for you also.

Cans or bottles?

If you want an easier – and lighter – party option, get a selection of craft cans. They look cool, won’t take up too much space in your fridge and will lighten your load for the trip to the recycling bank.

Rascals Happy Days session IPA is another good one

White Hag’s Little Fawn is a session IPA, and is great for parties – not too intense in bitterness, alcohol or flavour. Rascals Happy Days session IPA is another good one. Many Irish microbreweries are canning their beers now – Whiplash, YellowBelly, O Brother – and many quality independent off-licences like the Drink Store in Stoneybatter, Dublin, will do a four for €10 deal on cans (€60 for a case of 24).

(Beavertown’s Neck Oil and Gamma Ray are other sessionable favourites – but tend to be a little pricier.)

If you want an easier and lighter party option, get a selection of craft cans

O’Brien’s off-licence are doing a six for five deal on their craft beer bottles – which includes  Kinnegar’s Scraggy Bay IPA and Galway Bay’s Althea session IPA. Or if you’re looking for a lager, try 8 Degrees’ award-winning Barefoot Bohemian.

As a general rule of thumb for party beers, stick to easy going pale ales or IPAs and stay away from sours or anything too experimental. But most importantly, whatever beers you choose make sure you’ve tried them – and like them yourself – so you can recruit a few craft converts and help keep this whole good beer revolution going.

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