Rossa mashing Trouble Brewing launched their Trouble Maker brewing competition last summer with the closing date for entries at the end of October. All entries were judged by a panel of experts and the winning beer was to be recreated on a commercial scale. Trouble Makers - The Final Showdown took place on November 15, 2010 in the Bull and Castle. In a huge stroke of luck I won and became the Champion Homebrewer of Ireland (I’m not sure who coined that but it’s something that doesn’t sit well with me). Anyway I was shocked to hear I had won and delighted the panel enjoyed my beer, and the thought of it getting to a wider audience really excited me.

On April 3rd 2011 I went to Trouble Brewing to brew the commercial batch. Here is how I got on…

Dave's Brewery I started kits and malt extract in 1983 to save money for a mortgage. Once I got the house I tried all grain brewing in an effort to avoid that extract taste you used to always get. It appealed to my technical bent as my background is electronics and my work is mainly about temperature control and gas and liquid flows. A contact in a big brewery offered me some old controllers that they were scrapping. I modified fridges and brew bins; I struggled with mash temp control and sparging/boiling methods. I was storing my equipment in a spare bedroom where I fermented, and brewed in the kitchen, much to my wife's displeasure. I went from bottling to kegging in Cornelius kegs.

Since the disastrous house infection cost me two fermentors and huge quantities of beer, I have cooked up four batches to fill those sad empty cornelius kegs. Hops Sweepings Ale, Tettnanger Blond and Cascarillo Pale Ale are all in kegs now and, with the exception of a clearing issue with Hops Sweepings Ale, everything went without a hitch. The fourth beer, a creation of wheat and rye, using the new SafBrew WB-06 wheat beer strain of yeast, resulted in one of the worst brew days I have ever had.

Members of Beoir are currently voting to elect a Chair for the coming membership year, 2014-15. While the roles of Treasurer and PRO are uncontested, these elections represent the spirit on which Beoir was founded: it’s the membership that makes things happen.

As a voluntary organisation that aims to promote choice for Ireland’s beer consumers, particularly from our native microbreweries, it is encouraging that members step forward to take on a leading role in Beoir, as a spokesperson and public face of the organisation. It can be quite often a thankless task, and certainly one that aims to put the common good of the Irish beer consumer , Beoir member or not, to the fore. And this is where the membership counts.
Beoir is an independent, consumers’ group about to enter its fifth year of existence. In order to succeed and make a difference, we need a strong membership. I’m glad to say that our current membership of 375 paid members shows a big increase over the last 12 months (78% up), but with over 2000 site members compared to 375 paid members, there’s clearly a gap between those merely interested in a vibrant beer culture in Ireland, and those willing to put their money where their mouth is, even if it is only a tenner a year.
This year, the two candidates for Chair of Beoir, Wayne Dunne and Reuben Gray (current chair), are putting themselves forward to help lead our group towards our goals. Goals defined by our membership, and not people in a back room. So, if you are a member, I urge you to not only cast vour vote, but to actively contribute in the Beoir members forum where policy and direction of Beoir is discussed and enacted. It’s not just about the membership benefits which have grown over the past year!
And if you’re not a member already, but use this website to inform yourself on what is happening in our native brewery and beer culture, or use the BeoirFinder app to guide yourself to places serving quality Irish beer, do please consider joining, adding your voice to the growth and direction of Beoir.
Best of luck to both candidates.

Slugs!One morning I found a pile of slugs having an orgy where my marigolds used to be. I considered humane ways to get rid of them. But then I read this:

"A commonly seen practice among many slugs is apophallation. The penis of these species is curled like a cork-screw and often becomes entangled in their mate's genitalia in the process of exchanging sperm. When all else fails, apophallation allows the slugs to separate themselves by one or both of the slugs chewing off the other's penis".

If they were willing to eat my flowers then do that in the remains they deserved to be tempted into drinking suicidal amounts of booze. If this pest control method resembles a scene from Hell's Ironic Punishment Department, the invertebrates brought it on themselves! My last attempt at beer science had people unable to tell the difference between different beers made me wonder if slugs might do a better job? If they show a distinct preference for some beers over others can we say slugs are better at beer tasting than humans?