Friday, April 15, 2016



It's been a while since I've been on here. I guess I better decide whether to continue on properly or just knock it on the head.

Do I just dive right in or try and summarize what's happened since my last posting? Jaysus.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Galway, Irelands secret craft beer mecca

Oslo, The Cottage, The Salt House, The Scholars Rest, Tig Neachtan, Bierhaus - these bars within (almost) walking distance of each other all serving top notch craft beers.

Granted, four of them are sister pubs but my-oh-my the beer scene in Galway these days is tremendous. From Oslo, the brewing powerhouse of the cottage group, to Tig Neachtan, the home of actors and artistic types, this town has got it all.

Perhaps my favourite Galway pub is 'The Salt House', a stones throw from Galway's legendary pubs such as The Rosin Dubh and Monroes, a tiny, spit on the floor venue offering nothing but craft beer and bar nuts. The staff are tremendous, laid back (almost bohemian) and super knowledgeable (or if not completely immersed in craft beer knowledge, they're certainly eager to learn) there is also from time to time a cask ale on too. On my last visit there were two Thornbridge ales on tap.

Tig Neachtan is well worth a visit for their Galway Hooker beers that do not appear anywhere else, most notably the Bonaparte's Stout - most likely my favourite Irish stout ever (rating can be found here) plus they do a great chowder (with a dash of pernod)

It seems craft beer has infiltrated almost all of Galway, barely a bar doesn't have SOMETHING that will pass as acceptable besides the usual tipples. Galway Hooker seem to be doing a good job at marketing their flagship product (and, sure why wouldn't they?)

Couple all of this with the amazing atmosphere that only Galway can offer and you're onto an amazing city.

Sure, didn't I marry a Galway girl??

For a list of Galway bars worth visiting, click here

Photos to follow.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The wanderer returns to a nice surprise!

After almost five years in Toronto, the family and I have decided to return to Ireland. It was a tough decision but the right one for us. So it's farewell to Canada and hello to Ireland.

Now - onto the beer scene. Upon leaving Ireland in 2007 it was a pretty dismal scene, there were but a few (yet dedicated) pubs flying the craft beer flag, The Bull and Castle, The Porterhouse, The Abbot's Ale House and Messrs Maguire off the top of my head are the only pubs doing anything noteworthy (apologies if I'm leaving anyone out) and there were a handful of really good off licenses in Dublin. I struggled to get to 200 ratings on Ratebeer.

All the time I was away I kept involved in Beoir so I was aware of some of the changes happening. Upon my return I am astounded at the sheer volume of changes that have happened, it's just gone from strength to strength! I'm splitting my time at the moment between Dublin and Galway and will be working in Dublin as of next week returning to Galway at weekends. Here in Galway we have great pubs such as The Oslo, The Salthouse, The Cottage and The Scholars Rest leading the charge (all sister pubs which have other sister pubs in Dublin which I'll mention later) with amazingly 'Tig Neachtain's' having their own stout and wheat beer being made for them by Galway Hooker (warning, horrible flash site)  and my-oh-my the Bonaparte's Stout is phenomenal.

Dublin is now becoming a craft beer haven with old pubs but new comers to the craft beer scene really raising the bar, Farringtons in Temple Bar being an absolute craft beer must visit in Dublin ( I had bourbon barrel aged Leann Follain on cask there and it was sublime). Sister to the Galway pubs mentioned earlier is Against the grain, The black sheep and The brew dock making that chain a practical monopoly in Ireland on craft beer pubs. All offer a huge range of Irish brews on tap as well as international and local bottles and cask when available.

It's great to see these places staffed with people who are genuinely interested and passionate about craft beer and who are all making a conscious effort to change the face of the Irish pub and beer scene.

Needless to say, I'm happy to be back.

Now for the gratuitous Ireland pics..

Selection available at a little restaurant in Galway

O'Connor's Famous pub - Salthill

Cask at Bull & Castle

Monday, October 3, 2011

Toronto Beer Week continued ...

In continuation to my last post, I was lucky enough to attend a few more events.

'The Indie Alehouse' brewery launch at 'The Burger Bar' (my new local bar!)  where they showcased their Instigator Pale Ale: west coast style IPA and their Leadership Qualities: Breakfast Porter both which were a stellar start to this new brewery and a sign of great things to come.

Next up was the 'Toronto Beer Week Pub Crawl' where I joined the group of revellers at 'The Victory Cafe' for a quick pint of Spearhead Hawaiian Pale Ale before moving on the brand new premises of 'Smokeless Joes' - what a treat it was. The boys over at Joes opened their doors a few days early specifically to accommodate us.  With a great tap line up and a great new space, things are looking very bright.

The new Smokeless Joes

Finally it was over to Bar Volo for the 3rd annual Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel! Tap take over where there was no less than 12 taps and 7 Dieu Du Ciel! products available. Volo was packed to the rafters and had a special licence to open to 0400hrs and although I was in slumberland by midnight, I heard it was packed until closing.

Although this year I didn't attend as many events as last year I still had an absolute blast. The Toronto beer scene has exploded in my 3.5 years in Canada, I can't wait to see what the future holds.

Some of my choices during the DDC tap take over

Monday, September 19, 2011

Toronto Beer Week 2011

Spurned by my good pal Greg Clow's post over on his popular blog regarding this years Toronto Beer Week I decided to put my own two cents in.

My first event in this huge itinerary of madness was the 'Barrel Bragging Rights' event over at 'The Monks Table' where a group of Toronto beer writers and bloggers teamed with local breweries to make some barrel aged/cask brews to be judged blindly by the thirsty public. Entrance fee was $25 and included unlimited samples and finger food. The kegs involved were somewhat small so some of the more popular beers disappeared quickly however there was plenty to go around. The winner was Chris Grimley from 'Beer with me TO' who partnered with Great Lakes to make a delicious Saison. My personal favourite was Toronto Star's columnist  Josh Rubin who paired with Black Creek brewery they made a milk stout aged in a bourbon barrel and infused with vanilla pods (I think)

As Greg mentions in his review of the event; Greg, Josh (Rubin) and I headed to The Rebel House for a pint and a bite to eat. The two old farts  timers went home and I carried on and kept it lit with some Dieu du Ciel - Peche Mortel at Bar Volo with a few of the remaining people still standing from the event.

All in all it was an enjoyable event and hopefully if I keep my blogging up I might be considered for next years event.  I shall update the blog as I attend various sessions.

Here's a jumpy video I took of the event.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Is FĂ©idir linn

Honestly, I didn't really give President Obama's visit to Ireland a second thought... living in Canada we're used to having the gentleman on our doorstep. I'm not sure why but something prompted me to turn on the Irish news coverage this morning ( and to say I was overwhelmed is a serious understatement.

The public showing of joy and excitement was something the Irish public were long overdue. Seeing the President and Michelle in the tiny village of Moneygall, getting out of their car and openly embracing the public (much to the horror of the secret service it seems) was a tremendous sight. Their entrance to Ollies bar and the enjoyment of a pint of Guinness was just a pinnacle moment in the Presidents visit.. there was nothing rehearsed, nothing condescending , just a genuine chap enjoying a genuine moment in an Irish pub. His jokes and congeniality were infectious.

Fast forward to the Dublin appointment, my opinion of An Taoiseach Enda Kenny smashed through the roof with his animated and passionate speech... yes, the grumps said he was OTT and 'annoying' but damnit, I thought he was genuine and uplifting, just what the country needs now. Obama himself was a joy to listen to, I wept with emotion at home in Toronto and would have given anything to be there for this historic Irish moment.

Ireland truly put itself back on the world map today. We did ourselves proud. Bravo. Bravo...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Goodbye to Michael Scott


What a poignant and fitting end to Michael Scott's reign at Dunder Mifflin - I was an absolute mess watching it. I can't imagine the series continuing much longer without him. We've seen Michael grow immensely over the past few years and to see him move to Colorado to be with Holly seemed to mark his arrival to maturity.

Michael (Steve) you'll be sorely missed.


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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Beer lover, Loving Husband and Dad :-) - oh and I'm an expert recruiter