Tonight is Culture Night! One of the greatest events of the year in Dublin. There is an endless choice of things to do, see, listen to and learn. As you’re zipping across the city to take in as much as you can, you’ll no doubt find yourself thirsty and in need of a sit-down at some stage. So I thought what could be better than to combine taking a break during your Culture Night adventures with sampling some of the delicious new brews from the Irish Craft Beer Festival, or even dipping your toe in some German beer culture?
So here is a list of some pubs all over the city offering some exciting refreshment options for your perusal.
1. Brew Dock
If you’re planning to check out the Custom House or any of the other attractions around that neck of the woods, definitely stop into The Brew Dock. In fact, even if you’re not around there, come here for a few after Culture Night. Their brilliant “D’Ocktoberfest” has just started again, and if you ask me it’s the best Oktoberfest in Dublin.
Just like last year, they’ve gone all out again and decked out the entire place in all kinds of Bavarian regalia. They have special Oktoberfest beers on offer, as well as some delish German foods such as Schnitzel, Bratwurst, Pretzels and so on. They got off to a great start with a Maß (“Stein”) lifting competition last night, and with the guys 100% behind it as always, it’s sure to be a success again this year.
Besides the D’Ocktoberfest fun, they also have some of the best new Irish Craft beers on tap at the moment: “Chasing the Dragon” from Trouble Brewing, a fantastic Double IPA which many people hailed as their favourite beer at the Craft Beer Festival. It has all you want in a DIPA, a great punch form the hops balanced out with a lovely maltiness, combined with lots of fruit notes that hide the 8% extremely well and make this a delightful beer.
The other very exciting new beer they have at the moment is the festival special from Stone Barrel, “Day Trippin’”, an absolutely delicious American Pale Ale. What’s even better, they have it on CASK. One of only 3 casks of this beer in existence! Day Trippin’ was one of my favourite beers at the Festival. It’s a thing of hoppy, citrusy, tropical beauty. This is a special edition, so it won’t be around for long and it would be a shame for anyone to miss it. Definitely give it a try!
2. The Norseman
If you’re around the Temple Bar area taking in some of the events around Meeting House Square, definitely make a pit stop in The Norseman. They offer a huge selection of Irish and international craft beers on tap, including some of the new beers from the Craft Beer Festival.
You’ll be able to try Day Trippin on tap, as well as the outstanding White IPA from White Hag. Another highlight here is “Alba Abú” from Eight Degrees, which they brewed to voice their support for Scottish independence. As we know now, that didn’t quite work out. Even more reason to support the half of the Scottish population that is devastated with the outcome. Or in fact the perfect brew to drown your sorrows with if you happen to be Scottish and would have liked to see “Yes” to win.
3. The Headline
If you’re around the Harold’s Cross area, pop into The Headline. They have over 20 craft beers on draught, amongst them some brand new ones. For example, sample some White Hag beers as they become available (Fleadh Red IPA was the latest one to be tapped), or try “Crazy Horse” from Mountain Man, a super hoppy IPA that packs 7.2% and was a highlight for many at the festival.
Also brand new and available here is “Smiggy”, an Amber Ale from Jack Cody’s Brewery who were at the festival for the first time this year. Their first 2 beers were very promising and are definitely worth a try. This one is a hoppy amber ale that combines citrus and toffee flavours.
4. Alfie Byrne’s
If you’re near the National Concert Hall, there is no better place for a break than Alfie Byrne’s. There are two new beers available here for you to try.
Rocket Ship is a 6.5% IPA from Blacks Brewery. This was another festival special that received a lot of praise. Before the festival they held a competition to name this beer based on the Galaxy hops it is brewed with, and I was lucky enough to win with my suggestion! I was delighted, even more so when I got to try it and found it to be delicious. Try it while it lasts!
Also available here is Sheep Stealer from Black Donkey Brewery. I’ve been raving about this beer for quite a while now and I won’t stop anytime soon. This is a real gem. Get a bit of Belgian culture in this Saison style beer, brewed in a village in Roscommon.
5. W.J. Kavanagh’s
If you’re around Dorset Street, pop into Kavanagh’s. Now that they’re open again and providing a much-needed spot for quality beers and food in that area, we need to make sure to show them our support.
Brand new beers on tap here include the aforementioned Alba Abú, as well as Rascal’s new offering: Kim Jong Lem-Un, a lemon saison. Zingy and refreshing - perfect!
More brilliant places for pit stops around the city are Against the Grain if you're around Wexford Street, Blackbird if you’re checking out the craic in Rathmines, and Mulligan’s for people around the Smithfield/ Stoneybatter area. You’ll find many of the beers mentioned above on tap in these pubs, as well as a great selection of the new White Hag beers.
Wherever in Dublin you find yourself for Culture Night, you’ll never be far away from some of the greatest new Irish craft beers. Try as many as you can and experience first hand what the Irish craft beer culture has to offer. Enjoy!