In 2016, the annual Bord Bia food and drink event served as an appetiser for what in my view, was the best beer festival run at The Rake, in Borough Market, where a handful of brewers from all over Ireland sent beers for a four-day festival, delighting drinkers unaware of the growing Irish scene, and contributing to a memorable St Patrick's Day when, even after the bar shut, ex-pats drawn by the craic turned the place into an Irish pub, and nobody wanted to go home.
|Barleywine quality control|
|Meet Sam Black...|
Next day, I did the tour at Killarney Brewing, I'd sampled beers from Torc, and noticed the SuperValu supermarket in Bantry had added Killarney beers to their impressive Irish craft range. The chain seems keen to support local artisanal producers, whatever they're making, so you can wash down local cheese from Durrus with beer from Ballyvourney.
|Killarney's shiny BrauKon kit|
|Phil and Sue Cullen|
|9 White Deer - Illuminating...|
Once again this year, the Irish Embassy hosts Bord Bia, and again they will showcase some new breweries, as well as a couple of old friends, and in the weeks leading up to March 17th, there'll be events in London featuring Irish craft, including, I hear, a collaboration between a poitin distiller and a brewery who made a big impression in London last year. Watch this space for more details...