Beoir - Supporting Craft Beer in Ireland
Sunday, July 21, 2019
   
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Beoir Membership Benefits
Places that stock Irish Craft Beer
Irish Craft Breweries
Beoir Membership Benefits By joining Beoir, you help us to raise awareness of Irish Craft Beer and we give you back far more than your joining fee in benefits. You can read more about joining Beoir here. Join Now   Read the Full Story
Places that stock Irish Craft Beer Finding beer from Ireland's craft breweries can be a daunting task. We are not yet at the stage where one can walk into any pub in Ireland and find something brewed locally. However, the beer is available and for the discerning drinker it is simply a matter of knowing where to look. Read the Full Story
Irish Craft Breweries The number of craft breweries in Ireland has been growing over the past few years, providing greater choice and quality to beer and cider consumers on the island of Ireland. Beoir maintains a list of these breweries so you can learn where you can find them and what they make. Read the Full Story

What is Beoir?

Beoir is an independent group of consumers with a primary goal of supporting and raising awareness of Ireland's native independent microbreweries. You can read more about Beoir or learn how to join, here. There are some fantastic benefits for members.

The Beoir Directory

Beoir maintains a directory listing the micro breweries on the island of Ireland and, more importantly, the bars and restaurants where you can enjoy their produce. Find the places near you on our directory or download the BeoirFinder app.

Beer of the Year 2019

While the Irish brewing scene hasn't grown as much in the last twelve months as it has in recent years, the task of picking a best beer from the hundred or so operational breweries has not got any easier. In this the eighth edition of the competition, 73 different beers received a preference from a Beoir member, cutting across styles, strengths and county of origin. As always, every beer brewed on the island and available in the previous year was eligible and voting was open to current Beoir members.

When all the counting up was complete, three winning beers and a winning brewery were selected. And they were:

2019 Beer of the Year
Citra Pale Ale
a pale ale by YellowBelly Beer, of Wexford Town

The format of the competition tends to favour special and one-off beers, and YellowBelly certainly produced no shortage of them during 2018. It's quite an achievement, then, to win Beer of the Year with a flagship, a beer that's widely available in cans and on tap around the country. Though they've been brewing since 2015, this is the first time YellowBelly has featured in these awards.

Citra is a beer of exquisite balance, packing a lot of New World hop flavour into a compact 4.8% ABV package, without going overboard on the bitterness. Originally packaged in 33cl cans, during 2018 it was upgraded to a larger 44cl one, well suited to its moreish qualities. 

 

1st Runner-Up
Northern Lights
a micro IPA 
by Whiplash Beer of no fixed abode

The brewer of 2017 and 2018's Beers of the Year takes a back seat this time round. The Whiplash release schedule was prodigious during 2018, as was their mileage, bringing their high-end Irish beers to festivals in the UK and beyond. It was at Hop City in Leeds that Northern Lights made its first appearance, wowing the crowds with its powerful hop flavours -- Mosaic and Vic Secret in full voice -- but doing so at an ABV of just 2.8%. The way in which it tastes completely uncompromised, in both taste and texture, is nothing short of magical.

Later in the year, the brewers decided to make it a part of their regular line-up, tapping into the growing trend for lower-strength session beers. Northern Lights stands as a shining example of what can be achieved inside the sub-3% parameter.

 

2nd Runner-Up
Do You Wanna Touch Me
a double IPA by Whiplash Beer of no fixed abode

Of course, it's not the micro IPAs on which Whiplash has built its reputation, it's the banging double IPAs like previous award-winners Surrender to the Void and Saturate. Among the examples released during 2018 was this collaboration with Wylam of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

It's a punchy 8.3% ABV and represents all that's good about the New England style: the soft texture, the tropical hops plus hints of vanilla and garlic. As always, designer Sophie De Vere has provided striking artwork for the can and tap badge.

 

The Oliver Hughes Award for Best Brewery 
Whiplash Beer
no fixed abode

The Beoir member's obsession with hops shows no sign of abating so it's no surprise that the hoppiest brewer in the country has retained the favourite brewery award. Nine different Whiplash beers received votes, most of them IPAs of one sort or another.

Whiplash remains a cuckoo for the moment but has plans to open a standalone brewery during 2019.

Well done to YellowBelly and Whiplash, both fine examples of the high standards Irish beer drinkers expect. Thanks to everyone who took the time to express a preference this year.

 

Review: CAMRA's Good Beer Guide: Belgium

CAMRA's Good Beer Guide: BelgiumVeteran beer writer Tim Webb has been publishing a guide to Belgian beer and pubs since 1992. This and the previous edition in 2014 were co-edited by the Europe-based American writer Joe Stange. A short essay by Webb at the front of the book charts the origin of the guide and announces his retirement from it. That means the next one will have a different feel to the current edition, because this is not simply a list of Belgian pubs and breweries, but rather a series of personal observations. This unusual approach really captures the idiosyncracies of Belgium's beer culture.

It does work perfectly well as a guidebook too. Every brewery in the country is listed alphabetically and given a short description with noteworthy beers highlighted, and then there's a couple of hundred pages of pub listings by region. Where it really shines is how it takes you off the beaten track, including the landmark bars of course, but offering plenty of alternatives too. One criticism, from some field-testing during my last trip to Belgium, is that by separating the breweries from the pubs you don't get an at-a-glance guide to wherever you are. Looking for places to drink in Mechelen, for example, there are six recommended pubs on the page dedicated to the city, but no mention of the Het Anker Brewery, one of the highlights -- it's covered elsewhere.

As well as the listings there are articles on Belgian beer history and culture, as well as the inevitable piece on food. There's also a fun, if not exactly helpful, guide to identifying client brewers from the real thing: "If the person fronting the business has a marketing-team smile, beware". A run-down of the annual festival calendar rounds it off. The tone throughout is cheery and enthusiastic, if a little snarky at times, and reflects well the authors' genuine affection for Belgium.

Overall, it's a well-pitched book: easy to follow for the newcomer exploring Belgium and its beer for the first time, while also having plenty of new perspectives and ideas for the seasoned Belgophile.

CAMRA's Good Beer Guide: Belgium, 8th edition, 2018, is published by CAMRA Books and the cover price is £14.99.

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New EU proposals on excise duty structure

EU flagThe Irish laws governing taxation on beer, including where the various tax breaks are applied and to what, are largely controlled by European law. Specifically, Directive 92/83/EEC allows member states to grant up to 50% excise duty relief on brewers producing up to 200kHL of beer annually, and allows for extra-low rates of excise duty on beer below 2.8% ABV.

The European Commission is now proposing a revision of these rules, in a way likely to have a significant impact on the craft drinks industry in Ireland. Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 92/83/EEC on the harmonization of the structures of excise duties on alcohol and alcoholic beverages aka COM(2018)334 can be downloaded from this page, along with associated impact assessment documents.

Three particular proposals are of note:

  • An increase in the threshold for low-strength beer duty from 2.8% ABV to 3.5% ABV

  • The creation of a pan-European certificate for independent microbreweries to assist with claiming the lower rate of duty in other member states

  • The extension of the microbrewers' duty cut to cider makers.

Of these, the final one is perhaps the most impactful and is something that Beoir and Ireland's cider producers have been calling for for several years. The Commission's proposal sets a limit of 15khL of cider to avail of a maximum 50% excise duty cut.

Feedback is being sought on the proposals from anyone interested (link). The closing date is 20th July 2018. For its part, Beoir welcomes the proposals and will be requesting that they be implemented.

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Indie Beer Week 22nd June - 1st July 2018

Show support for your local brewer!

The second annual Indie Beer Week begins on Friday 22nd June and runs through to the following weekend. This is an initiative by the Independent Craft Brewers of Ireland and is made up of a series of events all across the country. 28 independent Irish microbreweries are involved, from Kinnegar to Black's of Kinsale and Bridewell to O Brother.

There will be tours, talks, tastings and tap takeovers, with many of the breweries opening their doors to the public and offering a rare glimpse at their processes.

For a full list of events, see the Indie Beer Week calendar, and follow the week on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for live updates. And most importantly, go to your local events and bring a craft-curious friend!

 

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