The best independent Irish craft beers, as voted by brewers

Beer of the year competition shows many brewers here see themselves as stout specialists

Peter Mosley and Elliot Hughes of Porterhouse Brewing Company, whose Around the Clock Imperial Stout was voted beer of the year by the Independent Craft Brewers of Ireland.

Peter Mosley and Elliot Hughes of Porterhouse Brewing Company, whose Around the Clock Imperial Stout was voted beer of the year by the Independent Craft Brewers of Ireland.

 

Plans were afoot in 2020 for the first Independent Craft Brewers of Ireland (ICBI) beer festival and a beer of the year competition. For obvious reasons the festival did not take place, and the beer of the year competition had to be virtual and on a smaller scale.

The idea for the competition was simple: each craft brewer put forward the beer they felt best represents them, to be judged blind by their peers. The 20 competing brewers were each sent a case of numbered cans and bottles and asked to nominate their favourites. There are obvious limitations to a competition like this: a brewery could only put forward one beer, and there were no separate categories for each style of beer. However, happily, the organisers agreed to send me the beers too, so that I could conduct my own private competition.

If the entries are anything to go by, many of our craft brewers see themselves as stout specialists; no less than seven out of 20 samples were of the black stuff. These were no ordinary stouts though; most were higher strength imperial and foreign extra beers, alongside a fascinating sweet pastry-stout. As well as the stouts, there was a raspberry and chilli sour beer, a bock, several saisons, and various American, brown, golden, Indian and Irish pale ales.

The overall winner was Porterhouse with their Around the Clock Imperial Stout, a rich, powerful (12 per cent) beer with masses of dark chocolate, toasted malt and roast coffee. Apparently it was aged in used Dingle Whiskey casks for 180 days.

Second came another full-bodied stout, this time the Lineman Astral Grains Foreign Extra Stout.

In bronze position – and counting as my favourite – was the Kinnegar Thumper Double India Pale Ale, replete with hops and a well-hidden 7.8 per cent alcohol level.

I was also very taken with the tropical Far Side Hazy IPA from 12 Acres, a beer I featured last year, and the crisp, thirst-quenching, intensely hoppy Hope American Pale Ale.

Let us hope 2021 will allow for an expanded version of the competition.

icbi.ie

Irish Times
Food&Drink Club

Exclusive events, competitions, reviews & recipes Join now
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.