Irish beer to be brewed at this year’s Great British Beer Festival

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Sweet success: Welsh brewery Tiny Rebel won Champion Beer of Britain at the GBBF in 2015
Sweet success: Welsh brewery Tiny Rebel won Champion Beer of Britain at the GBBF in 2015

Related tags Real ale Beer Brewing

Irish craft brewers will be collaborating at this year’s Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) for the first time, which has been dubbed an opportunity to brew cask-conditioned real ale.

A dozen beers will be available to drinkers at the GBBF on the Co-operative Irish Brewery Bar throughout the week of the festival (8 to 12 August) held at Olympia, west London.

Organiser claim this is a unique opportunity for the brewers, as cask-conditioned real ale is virtually non-existent in Ireland, where the majority of beer is served from a keg.

The Co-operative Irish Bar (or the Kruger Bar) will see Porterhouse and Carlow and small brewers Kinnegar, White Hag, White Gypsy and Metalman brew one session and one special beer each at the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)’s beer festival.

Dominated by keg beer

White Gypsy brewer Cuilan Loughnane outlined the challenge of making and consuming real ale in Ireland as a result of the all-pervading influence of keg beer.

He said: “I’ve always loved producing and drinking real ale, but it is incredibly difficult to sell in Ireland, with the beer scene being completely dominated by keg beer.

“A few of us have decided to try to make a go of it and will be producing two real ales each to showcase the potential for real ales in Ireland.

“GBBF is a great opportunity for us to learn from UK brewers and maybe bring something new to the table from Ireland."

Boosting the real ale scene

He added: “This is a very new initiative so will of course be a challenge for us, but I am positive that everyone involved will rise to that challenge and hopefully be inspired to start brewing real ale back home in Ireland.”

GBBF organiser Ian Hill explained how the collaboration to involve the Irish brewers at the event will enhance drinkers’ experience.

He said: “It’s incredibly exciting that we will see a coalition of Irish brewers represented at the festival for the very first time.

“The Irish brewery bar will give festival-goers a chance to sample a variety of beer styles and flavours from a country that is more well-known for Guinness.

“We hope that the bar will provide a boost to the real-ale scene in Ireland and make a fantastic addition to the 900 real ales, international beers, ciders and perries available at Britain’s largest beer festival.”

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