Heineken release Orchard Thieves cider

Does big business think it’s being clever by not being clear about the origins of its products? Macro brewery Heineken, who launched a wannabe Irish pale ale late last year called Cute Hoor, is up to its tricks again.

It’s released a cider called Orchard Thieves that has been touted on Twitter as “Ireland’s newest cider” – it took a few direct questions from makers and lovers of real Irish cider to find out where. And by whom.

Funnily enough, the Twitter account has no link back to the parent company. Nor does the Orchard Thieves website.

Similarly, on Cute Hoor taps there was no indication of where the beer was brewed or who the distributer was.

At least when Guinness is trying to be crafty, they have the guts to put their name to it. I may not be a fan of Hophouse 13 – but I do know who makes it.

Be careful when you’re in the pub. Heineken’s Orchard Thieves logo bears a marked resemblance to that of MacIvors in Co Armagh. For my money, I’d like to support a Greg, a small Northern Irish cider producer who uses apples from Co Armagh rather than some brand that’s produced in England by an anonymous macro brewery that doesn’t even put its name to the product online.

Craft Beer Ireland - MacIvors Cider + Heineken's Orchard Thieves made in England cider

Caroline Hennessy is the co-author, with Kristin Jensen, of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer and Cider.

Win! Tickets to Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fair

2990_Ad copy for Fair
A few years ago, there were very few beer festivals on the calendar; now we’re spoilt for choice. The next one to head to is the Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fair, which takes place at Dublin’s Convention Centre from Friday 27 February to Sunday 1 March 2015.

Thanks to Alltech, we have five pairs of tickets to give away! To be in with a chance to win one pair, just leave a comment on this post, telling us what beers or ciders you’re looking forward to trying at the fair.

Read more about the event below and at eu.alltechbrewsandfood.com/

The giveaway will close on Monday, 23 February at 6pm. Winners will be notified by email and can collect their tickets at reception. Good luck!

From the press release: Broadcaster Hector O’ hEochagain today announced the line-up for the 3rd Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fair which takes place in the Convention Centre Dublin from Friday 27th February – Sunday 1st March 2015. Visitors to the three day event will have the opportunity to sample more than 300 craft brews from all over the world while enjoying live music, Six Nations Rugby on the Big Screen, the best of Irish artisan foods and the Ireland v England Beer Craft Grand Slam hosted by Hector.
Speaking about the event, Hector O h’Eochagain said, “Last year’s fair was such craic, I’m really looking forward to being involved again this year. Beer, Food, Sport, Music all under one roof – what more could you ask for?! The Craft Beer Grand Slam is a great warm up for the crowd before the big rugby game and I am looking forward to having the chance to sample some of the amazing craft beers being produced both in Ireland and overseas.”

More than 60 international breweries will be serving their brews. Irish breweries will include Eight Degrees Brewing, White Gypsy, The Porter House, Rye River, Tempted? Cider, Dungarvan Brewing Company, Trouble Brewing and Wicklow Brewery, among others.
A Pair & Taste Food Trail will also be on offer with a map for visitors suggesting interesting food and beer pairings at the event. Artisan food offerings will include Ballymaloe Relish, Bretzel Bakery, Cashel Blue, Donal Skehan’s Skoff Pies, De Mad Food Company, L Mulligan Grocer, Man of Aran Fudge, O Donnell’s Crisps, O’Flynn’s Gourmet Sausages, Seymours Biscuits, Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, The Kitchen BBQ Grill and Wrights of Howth. O Brien’s will also operate a “Craft Beer Shop” which will stock all exhibiting brews allowing visitors to purchase and enjoy at home.

On opening day, Friday 27th February, winners of the Dublin Craft Beer Cup competition will be announced. This international competition was launched by Alltech in 2013 and allows craft brewers to showcase their beers and have them rated, tasted and analysed by an expert independent panel of beer judges. Award-winning brewers receive prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals in eight different categories of beer and cider, establishing the best examples of each style.

Tickets are now on sale from €15 via www.entertainment.ie. All tickets will include four free drink/food tokens and a souvenir Eco cup.

Make it a craft beer Christmas

St Mel’s Helles Lager

Craft beer: it’s not just for life – it’s for Christmas!

We wrote a feature for the Irish Examiner on pairing Irish beers and ciders with your Christmas dinner that was published last Saturday.

Think champagne flutes of St Mel’s Helles Lager and pre-dinner nibbles, White Gypsy’s Belgian Dubbel with your turkey, sipping Porterhouse Celebration Stout as you finish off the remnants of Christmas pudding. All superb beers – just to name a few – and all produced here in Ireland.

Irish craft beer has never been easier to get your hands on. There are several independent off-licences that carry a good range of Irish and international craft beers and they deliver right to your door, making stocking up for the holidays effortless, no matter where you are in the country. Many will also put together a hamper as the perfect gift for the craft beer connoisseur.

• Bradley’s Off-Licence
• Drinkstore
• Martins Off-Licence
• McHugh’s Off-Licence
• The Beer Club

Irish Examiner 6 December 2014
Why not have a ‘crafty’ beer or two this Christmas by Kristin Jensen and Caroline Hennessy

Beer, cider and Sláinte in Dingle – Saturday 4 October

Dingle workshopHeading to Dingle for their every-brilliant food festival this weekend? Don’t miss the beer and cider festival that will be taking place at An Canteen, Dykegate Lane – always worth visiting – and, new this year, Kennedys on Goat Street.

Breweries and cider makers who are participating include Eight Degrees, Blacks of Kinsale, Franciscan Well, Beoir Chorca Dhuibhne, Mountain Man, Stonewell Cider, Galway Hooker, Trouble Brewing, Black Donkey and Stone Barrel Brewing.

More here: Beer and Cider Fest in Dingle

We – as in Kristin and Caroline – are also there! We’re at Dingle Bookshop at 3pm on Saturday doing a book signing, then we’ve a workshop taking place at 5pm. More info on that below – if you are interested in attending please do book early to avoid disappointment. Email Mark at murpmark@gmail.com or contact him during the weekend at the Festival office on Green Street (West Kerry Live Office).

On trial at the courthouse, Matching Irish craft beer and cider with food, With Caroline Hennessy and Kristin Jensen Courthouse Building, The Mall. Admission €10 Saturday 5pm

A revolution is happening in Ireland, with craft beer and cider producers seeking to transform our drinking habits. We’re shifting away from bland, anonymous products from multinationals towards locally produced beers and ciders that are full of character and flavour. Why go for an imported drink with local food? Caroline Hennessy and Kristin Jensen, authors of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer and Cider (New Island), demonstrate just how well Irish craft beers and ciders pair with food. Learn how to savour it in its own right and match it with food to get the most out of what you’re drinking. Samples included. Sláinte!

Make sure to visit Dingle Bookshop at 3pm on Saturday where Caroline and Kristin will be doing a book signing. – See more at: Dingle Food Festival Workshops

Sláinte spotting

Well, it’s out there now. Almost!

Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer and Cider started hitting bookshops and off licences over the last week and tomorrow we’re officially launching it at the Irish Craft Beer and Cider Festival in the RDS.

On Monday, Kristin and I, together with Cathal O’Donoghue from Rascals Brewing, headed into the RTÉ Radio Centre to talk to Sean O’Rourke about the revolution happening in Irish craft beer and cider.

Listen here: Today with Sean O’Rourke: Craft beer and cider with Kristin Jensen, Caroline Hennessy and Cathal O’Donoghue.

You might also have seen Sláinte in your copy of last week’s Sunday Times…

…in your local off licence in Dublin…

…or in Cork.

And we’re signing any that pass our way!

It’s #SláinteSpotting time everywhere at the moment.

Don’t forget, you can still order a signed copy at 10% off, including free delivery in Ireland, from New Island Books until 4 September – that’s TOMORROW so you’d better hurry!

Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer and Cider

slainte cover finalv1

Coming in September!

More information at NewIsland.ie

European Beer Bloggers Conference: 27-28 June

Starting tomorrow, Friday 27 June, the European Beer Bloggers Conference hits Dublin for two days. This is the first EBBC event to take place outside the UK. Reuben (aka The Tale of the Ale) and current Beoir chairman was instrumental in bringing it to Dublin and, by the looks of things, it’s going to be a first class showcase of Irish craft beer.

You can find out more about the agenda here. Note that there’s also a pre-conference pub crawl taking place tonight – the #TrailofAle will be led by Reuben and is taking in a selection of first class craft beer pubs.

Beer and cider podcasts: Food Programme, 11pm Somewhere

On long drives when radio commentators seem intent on rehashing the same old news again and again, there’s nothing like a stack of podcasts loaded on an mp3 player to make the road feel shorter.

I’ve mentioned The Food Programme on BBC here before. These shows are always brilliantly put together and when they focus on topics like Wild Beer or cider, then I don’t mind how long it takes me to get somewhere.

Sunday 30 March 2014: The Food Programme – Wild Beer
Dan Saladino meets the brewers transforming the flavours and styles of the British craft beer scene.

Sunday 20 October 2013: The Food Programme – Cider: Britain’s Most Misunderstood Drink?
Award winning drinks writer Pete Brown joins Sheila Dillon to explain why bottles of cider should be the drink of choice on the UK’s dinner tables.

Looking to Ireland, in the disappointing absence of any consistent food and drink radio programming – The Food Programme has been running since 1979 – check out the 11PM Somewhere, with Ian raging against fizzy piss, at 11pmSomewhere.com. This link will take you directly to the podcast page.

Ian has also started an Irish craft beer and food series over on YouTube.

Ireland’s Best Pubs, Gastropubs and Restaurants for Craft Beer and Cider

There are pubs aplenty in Ireland, but when it comes to getting a good beer, sometimes it can feel like a case of water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.

That’s why we’re looking for Ireland’s best craft beer pubs, gastropubs and restaurants that give craft beer and cider a place on their menus. We want to give them star billing in our forthcoming book, so we want to hear what your favourites are. Let us know in the comments – we don’t want to overlook any deserving places!

The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer and Cider will be out this autumn from New Island.

CBNC.com: It’s official – Craft brewers are now beating big beer

“Over the last couple of years, the number of new brewery openings has been at near unprecedented levels…We’re seeing breweries open at about a rate of 1.2 per day.”

We might think that things are busy here in Ireland on the microbrewery front but it looks like we’re lagging a little way behind the US. They do have the advantage of 7% of the overall beer market though.

CBNC.com: It’s official – Craft brewers are now beating big beer