White Hag shakes up the beer formula with an ice cream ale
Shamrock Shakes Ice Cream Ale, made for St Patrick’s Day, is a luminous green
The White Hag brewery: founders Paul Mullin, Bob Coggins and Brian McTernan
Mochaccino, ice cream, Black Forest, salted caramel, berry, hibiscus and ginger: these are not your standard craft beer flavours and would certainly raise an eyebrow with a traditional stout drinker. But all are part of a range of very different beers from the White Hag brewery in Sligo.
The mochaccino stout lists lactose, coffee, cocoa and vanilla as ingredients alongside barley and water. Shamrock Shake Ice Cream Ale, made for St Patrick’s Day, is a very luminous green, “and tastes like Vienetta with mint and vanilla”, says Bob Coggins, commercial director of the brewery. It is their take on the Shamrock Shake, as created by McDonald’s. “The Shamrock is obviously a Paddy’s Day beer; it allowed us create a new festival beer. It really got people talking about us. It went off the charts on social media and certainly divided the public. Some thought it was a complete aberration, others absolutely loved it. It was a technical challenge to produce it, but we think it worked.”
The White Hag also makes a big range of very good, more standard beers, including IPAs, stouts and porters as well as sours and barrel-aged beers. It was forced to pivot rapidly over the past year, switching from draught to canned beer. “We are aiming for around 6,000 hectolitres this year, more than last year. We now employ 16 people, also an increase from last year, as canning is more labour-intensive.
“We are now getting back into the international market. Customers can expect a new beer from us every week for the next six weeks.”