When I’m in a craft-beer shop, these are the first bottles I look for
Another Round: John Wilson on Mescan, whose Belgian-style beers are for savouring
Mayo made: the Mescan brewery has been expanding its line-up of beers
Is Mescan everybody’s favourite brewery? Sorcha Hamilton name-checked it in her final Beerista – she now writes the One Change column with Manchán Magan – and Jimmy Redmond, of Redmonds of Ranelagh, mentioned it last week. I know that every time I step into a craft-beer shop it is the first beer I look for.
Mescan has prospered since I first mentioned it in the Irish Times, in 2015; then Bart Adons had just started full time at the brewery, after he and his co-founder, Cillian Ó Móráin, had been working as vets for 20 years.
They make a range of Belgian-inspired beers, as well as a very good stout, but my favourite remains the Red Tripel, 8.5 per cent alcohol and full of fruit, caramel and malt. Perfect sipping beer, or with stews and casseroles.
Ó Móráin is sanguine about the craft-beer market. “Our impression is that the market grew and then contracted,” he says. “A number of breweries were essentially competing with each other. But craft beer is still under 5 per cent of the market, so there is certainly potential for growth.
“Mescan have always focused on Belgian beer. It is niche, and our problem is letting the world know about our beers, but people are very receptive and supportive. The higher alcohol hasn’t been an impediment. People know our beers are for sipping and savouring.”
Growth at Mescan has been by word of mouth, although it did some marketing this year, with food pairings for its beer (available on its website). “It was natural to go towards the food market. We are in a couple of Michelin-starred restaurants and we just sent our last few cases of Lambik off to Loam this week.”
Mescan has two new beers in the pipeline: a spiced wheat triple called Carnal Knowledge – part of the Seven Virtues series to which the lambic also belongs – and a new Beoir na Nollaig. It also has a new distributor, which with luck will make finding its beers a little easier.