Things are really heating up in the Irish craft beer industry right now as we’re all preparing and getting ridiculously excited for the event of the year: The Irish Craft Beer & Cider Festival 2014 at the RDS. Whether you’re craft beer newbie or a veteran, this is the event you do not want to miss. This year it’s going to be better than ever because of the insane amount of new breweries that have opened in the past year. All Irish brewers will have stalls at this event, and it is your chance to talk to them in person and sample their beers, including lots of exclusive festival specials. We from the Dublin Ladies Craft Beer Society will have a stall as well, so pop by and say hello!
Just in time for the festival, Black Donkey Brewery have finally had their official launch. I was very happy to attend because I got to try their debut beer, Sheep Stealer, at the European Beer Bloggers Conference and as I mentioned in a post back then, it was my favourite new beer there.
Black Donkey is located in Roscommon and owned by Richard Siberry (on the left in the picture above) and Michaela Dillon. They’re originally from Ireland and have travelled and worked all over the world. After living in New York City for 20 years and being homebrewers there, they have now returned to Ireland and set up Black Donkey brewery.
Their first beer, Sheep Stealer, is an Irish Farmhouse Ale. It’s a Saison style beer, unfiltered, unpasteurised, and brewed using all natural ingredients. In my opinion, it is one of the best Saisons made in Ireland. So crisp, refreshing and citrusy, you want to drink more and more of it. Everyone who was at The Headline for the launch seemed to love it as much as I did - we managed to empty 2 kegs of it in 40 minutes! The 3rd one was gone in 90 minutes and all in all, 4 kegs were emptied in 4 hours. That must be a new record. Black Donkey have described the flavours and aromas of Sheep Stealer with so much passion and style on their website that I’m not even going to attempt to do that again here. They’ve even included a section about food pairing. Just head over there and check it out.
It doesn’t happen often that a new brewery comes out with a first offering this good. The future for Black Donkey Brewery is definitely looking very bright. I can’t wait to try their 2nd beer which will be launched at the Beer Festival. Make sure to get your tickets! Cheers!