Yes, it’s true – we managed to get together for what looks like an annual Ladies Craft Beer Society of Ireland
* long weekend Outside Dublin. We split up into two groups and made our respective ways to Limerick via car; while it’s theoretically possible to get to many places in Ireland via public transit, we had some less-accessible exploration on tap (har) as part of the plan (though for more shared grumbling on that, do follow Daily Downfall of Irish Railways
As only the more seasoned members of our little group like myself were fully vaccinated (though, fortunately, even the Younger Folk soon will be), we aimed for outdoor options as often as possible. And the Irish weather made sure that outdoor pints were something of a contact sport for our first evening, with absolutely lashing rain, but we came prepared with solid rain gear. And we could not have been better accommodated on both the tent and hospitality front by the great team at Crew Brewing Company.
Crew is perhaps the closest I’ve found in Ireland to a North American-style microbrewery taproom, both in terms of outstanding beer and setup, with everything being brewed on-site and an ever-changing lineup, including great guest taps from other local independent breweries. They are actively inclusive, with a much-appreciated ‘no racists, no sexists, no fascists’ sign prominently displayed. Apparently one person did see himself out after coming across it when they first opened, so no loss there. And the similarity to US and Canadian taprooms is likely no surprise – several of the team, including Emma, who was our guide throughout the evening, have worked in beer and bars in Canada, and they’ve brought some of the best methods and practices back with them.
So, on to the beer – and it was all absolutely top-class. Crew’s Fruited Berliner Weisse
put me in mind of my late-lamented old favourite from Philly, Nodding Head’s Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse
, but rather than the traditional woodruff syrup, the ‘plain’ Berliner Weisse
could be enhanced with fresh strawberry, mango, peach or blueberry puree, and you could also mix those flavours for even more options (looking at you, gorgeous kiwi-strawberry, and thanks, Emma, for suggesting it). Size options meant that it was possible to sample a fair few beers without getting too silly, and pizza delivered from a neighbouring shop helped with that as well.
Sticking with sours, the Lemon Verbena and Raspberry Goes was also well-balanced and refreshing, but I also have high praise for the IPA, which was a perfectly ‘normal’ west-coast style IPA (as we need to be specific nowadays on these matters), and, once again, just a lovely example – I wish I could get it locally, but alas, it’s only available in and around Limerick.
We did also venture over to Mother Mac’s
, once again, outside, though it certainly merits a longer follow-up visit to better explore their variety of local beers and whiskeys – next time!
All told, we packed a lot into our first night away, but we had more adventures to come, when we headed to Western Herd Brewery
, and got to try more of their beers on tap at McHugh’s Bar
in Ennis – and, in our next instalment, the weather cooperates a bit more
* For clarity, while there is considerable overlap with the Beer Ladies Podcast (back soon!), they are technically separate entities. We meant to record a new season trailer while out and about but, er, forgot.