After work tonight, I am going to ride my bike over to the Nautigal Pub to watch a music set by a buddy's band, called THE CHANGE. Mostly, I am doing this to get a bike ride in, but also to see a bit of the band's performance since I have not seen them before. Deborah might bike with me if she is feeling it. If not, she will probably drive my car and meet me there. Or she may not go at all, and that's OK. Like I said, I have no idea how good this group is. It might not be her thing. But really it is more about the bike ride there, for me.
My bike trip to Ireland last week with TEAM CRAZY BIRD, essentially culminated with us attending Day 1 of the Doolin Craft Beer and Roots Festival in Doolin IE on Friday night, an enjoyable event made all the more rewarding because some of us on the team completed a 10 mile hike along the Cliffs of Moher late that afternoon.
Several craft beer manufacturers, all from western Ireland, offered samples of their beers to fest attendees. It was €10 to get in. They gave us a pint glass to drink craft beer from, which was ours to keep. The vendors offered sample tastes of their beers for free and then you could get a half pint for €3 or a full pint for €5. My strategy was to sample two or three of the beers offered by each vendor and then get a pint of the one I liked best. In the course of the night, I only managed to hit three vendors, because the team was on a timetable to catch our minivan back to Galway (the price you pay for a designated driver).
I'd like to be able to tell you what Irish craft beers I liked best, but I can't...mostly because I don't remember and I didn't write it down, but also because in all honesty, I liked all the ones I tried. If you are in western Ireland, definitely try some of the craft beers there.
From what the Irish liaisons to our bike team told us, Ireland had not had much of a craft beer market up until about the past five years. Responding to the growing craft beer demand worldwide, Guinness started making a craft beer (or perhaps craft-style beer, since it appeared to be mass produced much like their staple, Guinness stout) called Hop House 13. It was a good and flavorful beer, I thought. I did not find it overly hoppy as its name would indicate, but it had bold flavor.
I have never had much of a taste for Guinness stout, but the Hop House 13 was totally different and great tasting.
Some of the craft beers I saw in Ireland were marketed as "hand crafted," and I kept trying to visualize the awkwardness of brew masters handling the beer. Better terms could probably have been found.