Five Irish craft breweries you ought to know about this St Patrick’s Day

By James Beeson contact

- Last updated on GMT

In bloom: craft beer is growing rapidly in Ireland (Photo: William Murphy)
In bloom: craft beer is growing rapidly in Ireland (Photo: William Murphy)
Traditionally, most drinkers will mark St Patrick’s Day with a token pint of Guinness down the pub. However, the famous stout’s popularity is being challenged by a number of new smaller Irish producers.

The Irish beer scene is in full blossom, with brewers from the Emerald Isle producing a range of styles, from traditional Irish recipes to modern American and continental influenced brews.

To help celebrate this renaissance, and spice up your St Patrick’s Day on 17 March, why not consider stocking some beers from these brewers across the Irish Sea?

The White Hag Brewing Co

Based on the north-west corner of the island in the coastal seaport town of Sligo, The White Hag Brewing Co​ has developed a reputation for producing a range of beers that combine Irish tradition with new and innovative styles. The brewery is rapidly expanding, and has recently started experimenting with beers aged in wine, Bourbon, Irish whiskey and Scotch barrels.

One to try: Black Boar​ is White Hag’s 10.2% ABV imperial stout. Rich, bold and roasty, it is perfect for fans of coffee or dark chocolate.

Galway Bay Brewery

After starting life in the Oslo pub in the Salthill region of the city in 2009, Galway Bay​, on the west coast, is one of Ireland’s best known craft breweries. Owners Jason O’Connell and Niall Walsh now produce a core range of four beers, alongside seasonal specials and one-off releases throughout the year. Always a reliable and solid choice on the bar.

One to try: Weights & Measures​ is Galway Bay’s all Citra hops session IPA. With a malt bill including Maris Otter, Oats, Vienna and Carapils, and at a strength of 3.9% ABV, it’s one we could easily quaff all day.

Boundary Brewing

Boundary​ differs from the rest of the breweries in this list in two ways. Firstly, it’s based in Belfast in Northern Ireland. Secondly, and perhaps more interestingly, it is a brewing co-operative, owned and run entirely by its members. Head brewer Matthew Dick has created a plethora of US and European-inspired beers, beautifully decorated with stunning artwork labels.

One to try: Boundary’s pilsner, Generic Pils​, is dry, crisp, refreshing and ridiculously crushable. A great beer to have in your fridge always.

Rascals Brewing

Inspired by the thriving New Zealand beer scene while living in Wellington, Rascal’s​ founders Emma and Cathal decided to move to Dublin and see if they could replicate some of the amazing beers they tasted in New Zealand. The brewery’s remarkable growth so far, and its stunning range of beers, suggest they’re giving it a fair ‘craic’ of the whip.

One to try: Seven ​is the first of a series of beers dedicated to celebrating the New England IPA style. Packed full of US and New Zealand hops, it ticks all the boxes for lovers of the controversial style.

Whiplash Beer

Whiplash​ begun as a side project for Alan Wolfe and Alex Lawes back in 2016, before quickly growing into a full-time operation, renting space in their new home in County Wicklow. The brewery produces big, bold and beautiful cans of beer, and were recently awarded Honest Brew's Breakthrough Brewery award for 2017. Its beers are available in the UK through James Clay.  

One to try: Suckerpin​ is the brewery’s first sour beer – a dry hopped Berliner Weisse. It’s a light kettle sour fermented on Belgian yeast, and dry hopped with Lemondrop hops.

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