Launched at the All-Ireland Craft Beer Festival was The Good Craft Brewery Guide: Ireland by Tim O’Rourke. It provides an introduction to twenty-four breweries and their brews. Now before I go any further, Franciscan Well is included and I know that some would object to its inclusion but it is an indication of the fast changing world of brewing in Ireland and the lack of an agreed Irish definition for “craft” beer. More importantly it is reflective of Tim’s recent activities in Ireland as he is training unemployed people to be brewers though the Taste 4 Success Skillnet (he is currently running a course in Cork this week) and trying to get them placements in working breweries or encouraging them to start their own.
In researching this book he attempted to visit all operational breweries in a short space of time, it is perhaps unfortunate that some of “the breweries coming to a town near you soon” have already launched such as Kinsale Craft Brewery and Mountain Man Brewing. It is not a trawl of the wealth of information on the Beoir website. For those that frequent there, they would have more up-to-date information on specifi breweries (e.g. Red Hand and Baile Brew). This shows why the more information out there on Irish brewers the better, especially for tourists. Resources such as this books shared light on these new and forthcoming breweries and provides addresses and other contact information. Given some of the more unique names of breweries here (e.g. White Gypsy, Bo Bristle, 9 White Deer etc) it can be tricky for the uninitiated to locate them.
Now those who know Tim, he has a wealth of information on brewing and breweries. Not only has he had over 40 years of experience in brewing for some of the biggest breweries in Britain and consulting for a number of start-up breweries around the world, he is also a brewing educator. He has trained countless brewers through the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (UK). He led the Great Baltic Adventure, doing what Pete Brown did for the IPA, by seeing a new resurgence in Imperial Stouts in the UK (it was on this journey that the Black Sheep’s Imperial Russian Stout was first developed).
While this short book may not go into breweries in serious detail (what can you you expect in publication of 50 odd pages), its target market is those interested in finding out about Irish breweries and their beers. Tim brings his ability to broaden the knowledge of beer amongst non-technical people to bear in this book. This is best seen in the highly visual and easy to understand reviews of the various offerings from each brewery profiled. Each beer is ranked according to five characteristics: malty, roast, bitterness, aroma, fruity and colour. Perhaps bars and off-licences will find this useful to educate customers about the beers for sale.
The Good Craft Brewery Guide can be purchased online at www.beoir.ie (€2 discount for members) or at www.beerireland.ie for €10 plus p&p. For further information email Tim O’Rourke on firstname.lastname@example.org or call Sarah Roarty on 086 0450111.