I was sent a few samples of an updated range of Grafters by Rye River Brewing. The range of pale ale, IPA and Kolsch have received fresh new branding but more importantly, two of them have received new recipes.
Labour of Love Extra Pale is a lovely 4.5% pale ale. Harking back to the god ole days of pale ales, they use cascade hops which are bursting with grapefruit citrus notes. I also got some pineapple and lychee notes. It's very easy drinking.
Working Day IPA is a big chewy 6.5% affair which boasts mosaic and equanot hops.
I found this had a long, lingering bitter finish with a real fresh hop thing going on. It almost tastes like it came through a hop randall. I personally thought it was superb.
The kolsch recipe wasn't changed so it;s just a label change here. It's still a lovely beer.
I headed along to the new Porterhouse Brewery in Glasnevin on Saturday. The brewery used to be in Ballycoolin but was completely at capacity so they have moved in to a larger facility which is conveniently a few minutes walk from the Broombridge train and tram stop.
For me, it was a leisurely 35 minute stroll down the Royal Canal from where I live, and that was with stopping to grab a coffee at Rathbourne by the Ashtown train station.
As you can see, there's a lot of empty space inside so there's room to grow significantly. They have a bar set up in a shipping container and we would of course be visiting that but first, we had the grand tour.
The visit was for Beoir members and organised by none other than TheBeerNut who has taken over from me as Chair. Some of us had a good nose around the brew kit. For instance, the Mash Tun pictured above is capable of being used as a Lauter Tun and could theoretically be used for distilling and shows the Porterhouse has future-proofed their new kit.
On the far side of the mash tun, I spotted a familiar sight. A plastic bucket fermenter. It's being used as their pilot as they don't have a smaller pilot system as of yet. Now that they have more space, they can look to get one.
The brew kit itself is quite efficient looking. There were one or two false starts when they moved in as they had to re-adjust all recipes and processes to suit the new system but I'll try to explain how it all works. If you look at the outside photo, you will see 3 grain silos. These are for their 2 biggest malt requirements, lager malt and pale ale malt. These get transferred in via an auger pipe to the mill which is just out of sight on the left and then transferred to the mash tun which is the wood panelled vessel on the left. The middle vessel is the brew kettle and the final vessel is a hop back which will be used for fresh hopped beers. They are not really using it at the moment but they have recently got in to fresher hop style beers such as their Yippy IPA which is excellent.
With the tour over, we headed over to the bar. Most of the taps were empty but there plenty of options available to us on tap as well as pretty much everything in bottle.
I started off with their Winter Stout which was lovely and just the thing to start off the day. It's a 6.5% export stout.
Next, I moved on to a bottle of their new coffee stout called Up and At 'Em. I won't write about that now as I got a bottle or two to bring home where I can properly taste it. At the brewery, everything was ice cold so I would want to warm it up significantly.
One of the absolute pleasures of the brewery visit was the fact that they had a keg of barrel aged Celebration Stout on for us. This was the one they aged in their own Dingle Whiskey barrels. They broke out the small glasses for this 12% beauty of a beer. We could have had pints of course but we are far too sensible a bunch for that.
Last call, I got a group photo, minus myself as I was taking it of course. Cheers to Porterhouse for having us and we look forward to many more years of amazing stouts and future fresh hopped pale ales.
Oh and while I chose not to open a bottle of Louder at the brewery, I was inspired to crack open a bottle when I got home for dinner. I had been ageing this since it first came out in bottle. Usually, their pull ring style caps are not great for ageing versus a traditional crown cap but at 11% I figured it would be fine. It was the right side of oxidised though. All dark fruits and basically Christmas Pudding in a glass. This was my nightcap before I switched to water for the rest of the evening.
There's simply nothing like drinking winter specials when it's Christmas. Especially when the weather outside is horrible but it's nice and warm inside with sparkly Christmas lights everywhere.
The lovely people at Eight Degrees sent me samples of their seasonals to try out so gladly tucked in the other night.
Trespass was first up. It's a 7.5% dark famhouse ale that has loads of blackberries in it and has been aged in Burgundy pinot noir and chardonnay wine barrels for over a year. There are a few different yeasts involved in this one, brett being the most obvious one because the brett funk is unmistakable when you crack it open. There's a slight chalkiness to it along with a real sherbet citrus fizz. It's very tasty and certainly doesn't feel the ABV. I didn't get any obvious benefit from the blackberries other than a mild tartness but that's perhaps a good thing for me since I'm not a fan of most fruit beers. Very tasty beer this.
I'm not sure you can strictly call this a winter warmer since it was released in July but Hopsfume is an 8.3% Brett IPA that's absolutely lovely. I honestly can't get over the ABV as there is really no sign of it. The brett has dried this beer out nicely and made it for more palatable than what would ordinarily be considered a double IPA. It's full on fruity citrus with a load of that sherbety brett funk.
The star of the show for me was the unfortunately named Blowhard, an imperial stout aged in Jameson casks for a month. The name is in reference to Captain Ahab's white whale for some reason, a reason you can read about on the back of the bottle.
This is a beast of a beer and is one of the best imperial IPAs I've had if I'm honest. The first thing I need to do here is deal with the elephant in the room. This beer was aged in Jameson barrels and Jameson is a brand from Irish Distillers who bought Eight Degrees earlier in the year.
Why did they do that? It was so they would have a ready supply of Jameson barrels which have held stout (or perhaps other beer styles) in them for their caskmates whiskey.
So the quid-pro-quo is perfect. Eight Degrees get a ready supply of barrels to throw stout in to and Jameson then take the barrels back and put whiskey in them to soak up that stout goodness. Other than that, the brewery can do what they like and Irish Distillers leave them to it.
It's the best all around takeover deal any brewery could hope for.
So to me, the reason Blowhard exists is to honour that deal with Irish Distillers and long may this beer continue, even if it's under a different name....
OK so to the beer itself. Why do I like it so much? It's not the 12% ABV though that is a very warming reason to like this as a winter warmer. It's also not just the rich milky chocolate or the lashings of vanilla. It's the mouthfeel that does it for me. It has the creamiest, smoothest mouthfeel of any beer that I can recall. It's pure pleasure from the first sip until long after you have swallowed a mouthful of it. It lingers and coats leaving a memory of pure indulgence and that's the word I choose to describe this beer: indulgence. Jaysus, they should actually rename the beer to that word or even Pure Indulgence.
Well done to Eight Degrees on this one. I love the fact that they only aged the beer for a month in barrels. Any more and it might have been overpowered by wood and whiskey as well as just being a waste of barrel time. I'll be purchasing some bottles of this for Christmas.
In the run-up to Christmas, I thought it appropriate to try some of the winter specials that are available at the moment. It was good timing then that Boyne Brewhouse recently sent me some samples to try. Their regular, award winning Imperial Stout is joined by two new beers.
A Belgian Dubbel and a Winter Ale, both are 8% ABV.
The Belgian Dubbel is very actually rather like a German Dunkelweiss on the nose with a whack of bubblegum and some banana esters but there's a load of caramel. It's a big beer and a tasty winter warmer but despite all this, it's surprisingly easy drinking. A lasting bitterness helps balance the beer nicely.
The Winter Ale keeps things traditional and for me, this was the better of the two and more to my taste. It keeps very much to the traditional old English ale style. Lashings of prunes and other dark fruits, there's even figs in there. The body is very chewy and there's a real warming alcohol hit. There's some chocolate and coffee in there under all the fruit. The end result is a beer that tastes like Christmas pudding. In fact it would make a good ingredient when making it but it's certainly going to go down nicely at Christmas, or any time over the winter really. A bit like the Dubbel, this one also finishes rather bitter. That's good as they can sometimes be cloying.
And of course there's the 10.8% Imperial Stout, a real staple from Boyne and one I've had many times before. This one was aged in Oloroso sherry casks which had previously contained The Whistler single malt whiskey for over 2 years. The result is a whack of vanilla and slight woodiness. The whiskey notes are obvious but perhaps there's little reminder of sherry at this stage, beyond the dark fruits. I don't think I've ever actually had The Whistler, it's from their own distillery: Boann Distillery. Cheers to Boyne Brewhouse for the beers.
Customer ServiceIt's not something one might really think of most of the time. We all remember bad customer service and will be quick to point it out on the interweb these days. I'm sure most people who go in to a pub experience what should really be termed "good customer service" on a regular basis and never really think about it. Good customer service is normal.
What about when a pub goes above and beyond? This happened to me on Sunday night. My wife and I popped in to Porterhouse Central for some food before we headed home. We ordered a couple of pints of IPA and then ordered 2 chowders and 2 portions of spicy wings. It was after 9pm so it was late enough for a lot of places to serve food but Porterhouse serve until 10pm so we were good for time.
The chowder that arrived wasn't good. It was gloopy and flavourless, even after having salt added. My wife decided it wasn't good enough and when the barman came over to check on the food she told him as much. Not in a nasty way mind, just a matter of fact but friendly manner.
I hadn't eaten since breakfast so I would have just pushed ahead but she was right, it didn't have any flavour and had the consistency of lumpy porridge. We switched our order to the soup of the day at the barman's recommendation, a cream of vegetable soup. This arrived a few minutes later and it was absolutely perfect. It didn't even need any salt. We suspect the chowder had been stewing all day as I don't recall it being like that from previous times I've eaten it in a Porterhouse.
Now, so far the customer service has been really good. There was no fuss and they were apologetic then rectified the situation promptly. The story you might think would end there as would this blog post. The story doesn't end here though.
Our wings arrived and it was time for another couple of pints so we ordered them. This time I went for the rock-solid Oyster Stout which was their beer-of-the-day priced at €4.50, which is a steal in Dublin city centre. So far, all is normal but when the drinks arrived we were told that this round was on the house as an apology for the chowder. Good customer service just became great as they went well above and beyond what was expected. We thanked them and enjoyed our spicy wings and beer.
End of story? Not quite....
When the bill arrived they had gone above and beyond again. They didn't charge us for the 2 soups in the end and of course the free round wasn't on the bill. All that was on the bill were the 2 wings and the first 2 pints but get this, the price of the pints were a flat €5 each with (MD) on the receipt. I assume this means Manager's Discretion because the price of those pints of IPA should have been €5.90 each from memory.
This was completely above and beyond any level of customer service we could have expected, especially in a Dublin city centre bar. We would have been happy with just getting the chowder changed to the soup, there was no need to go above and beyond like this.
You might ask if they recognised me? I doubt that very much as I rarely venture in to Porterhouse Central so there's no way they would recognise me as a regular. I tend to go to Porterhouse Temple Bar and even there I wouldn't be in often enough to be recognised.
This was just epic customer service provided to a couple on a random Sunday night. It's probably not surprising given that a large portion of business that The Porterhouse bars receive is from tourists who have a much higher expectation of customer service than we are used to.
GDPR laws likely prevent me from naming the excellent young man who served us but his name is on the receipt so I know what it was. Cheers to The Porterhouse Central for being truly excellent hosts.
I feel I've been drinking too much wine of late and I felt it was time to get back to my first love. Beer!
I had a few samples in the fridge I received recently so I decided to crack some open while they are still current releases.
Rye River's Just the Tipple is a 6.5% spruce tip saison. It's all grapefruit and pine, reminding me of a white IPA. A sharp, citrus finish with a bitter, lemon pithiness. There's little trace of sweetness here, it's practically bone dry. That's the way I like my saisons.
Also from Rye River, from their McGargles brand is Dec's Brown Ale. I've rather partial to a brown ale and we just don't have a lot of them in Ireland. This beer has lashings of chocolate and coffee. It's bitter but with a good malt derived sweetness for balance. It's the sort of beer I would enjoy on cask, especially as winter approaches.
I also had a bottle of Underworld from Black Donkey in the fridge. Underworld is a saison, similar to their regular Sheep Stealer which is fermented using yeast collected from Oweynagat Cave. Apparently it was once inhabited by The Morrigan so they called the yeast Morrigan Strain 1. You can read a little more about the beer's history here.
The beer itself is similar enough to Sheep Stealer for fans of that beer to appreciate. It's basically your typical Saison but just a bit drier than normal. The ABV at 6.5% is the same as Sheep Stealer but it just seems a little funkier as well as more effervescent. It's a pity I didn't have a bottle of Sheep Stealer handy to compare with actually. While it's a limited release, it's still available for sale so I'll probably pick up another bottle along with some Sheep Stealer out of curiosity to see just how the wild yeast strain has affected the beer.
A few weeks ago, I was in a pub with some friends and we were having some drinks. After a while I noticed that conversation had died down and I realised that the 5 of them were all on their phones while I had a pint in my hand. I rolled my eyes and picked up my own phone after a few moments of hesitation. I felt like tweeting them all to put their bloody phones down.
From Guinness Press Release
Que last night, Guinness launched an initiative to encourage people to put their phones down or as they put it, switch to pub mode.
I thought it was ironic being at a media event where most of us are on social media but where using social media at the event would technically be against the ethos of the night. So, we put our phones on the provided phone bean bags and phone towers. Janice from the Irish Beer Snob blog & podcast took this photo of my phone (brown one) and Pauline's phone (black one) quickly and sent it on to me.
Whether you drink Guinness or any Diageo product is beside the point here. The idea here is that phones are interfering with our pub culture and after doing some research they found the following:
A study was conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes, led by Richard Layte, Head of Sociology at Trinity College. Some of the significant findings included:
94% of people enjoyed a night out as much or more without their phone in stark contrast to just 6% of people enjoying a night more with their phone in use.
People who put their phone down also felt more included in their group.
People felt closer to their friends as a result of putting their phones down.
Last night, Pauline and I along with Wayne and Janice (The Beer Snobs) sat around a table while our phones were resting in the provided phone tower or bean bags. We chatted all night and apart from Wayne quickly checking the score of the Ireland game (and regretting it) and Janice taking the above photo, we didn't touch our phones all evening.
Do you know what? We were by far the better for it. We all learned things about each other that we didn't know and we had a great time as well as some deep conversations. It was like a night out before the age of mobile phones. Good beer, cheesy toasties, cheesier jokes and great conversation.
For instance, Wayne confirmed something I had only heard about anecdotally. In the UK, history classes in school don't have anything more than a footnote about Irish independence than it actually occurred. Wayne is Irish but went to school in the UK so he did his GCSE before returning home and did Leaving cert history. He was astounded by the amount if history that wasn't taught in the UK. Well, England anyway. I'm not sure if Scotland or Wales have a different curriculum or not. That's the kind of interesting conversation we might not have had if we were on our phones.
I had the idea last night of phone Jenga. Stack the phones like the first image above and then stick a pint on top. If you want to use your phone, you need to remove it without touching the pint or spilling it. That might be a terrible idea after a few pints though.... I just Googled it and phone Jenga is already a thing by the way but perhaps not with a pint on the top. Proceed with caution!
So what are your opinions of phones in pubs? Beyond a quick Tweet or Instagram of your pint of course, we're not savages! The world needs to know what beer we are drinking.....
There is no Safe Level of Alcohol Consumption? That's the kind of thing that certain "studies" would have us believe. A recent study that was published in The Lancet and was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation suggests that in 2016 there were 2.8 million deaths in the world that were attributed to alcohol use. That's out of a population of alcohol drinkers globally of 2.8 billion which I reckon is probably a lot less than the reality. My maths might be off here but that equates to just 0.1% of the population.
Alcohol has numerous health benefits that surpass the benefits of abstaining but the authors of this study said that they found no evidence of this.
Of course not, they weren't looking for it. They were looking for negatives, not positives.
Anyone can take any substance on the planet and make it sound scary and likely to kill you.Take water for instance. If I call it by a chemical name I make it sound scary as hell. An April fool's joke it may be but it makes my point. Dihydrogen Monoxide:-also known as hydroxyl acid, and is the major component of acid rain. contributes to the "greenhouse effect". -may cause severe burns. -contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape. -accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals. -may cause electrical failures and decreased effectiveness of automobile brakes. -has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients.
Despite the danger, dihydrogen monoxide is often used:
-as an industrial solvent and coolant. -in nuclear power plants. -in the production of styrofoam. -as a fire retardant. -in many forms of cruel animal research. -in the distribution of pesticides. Even after washing, produce remains contaminated by this chemical. -as an additive in certain "junk-foods" and other food products.
If you wonder where the name Dihydrogen Monoxide comes from, it means two hydrogen, one oxygen which is technically the same as saying H2O but few scientists would use that term. Probably because it sounds scarier and too much like Carbon Monoxide.
Remember folks, water kills! There is no safe level of water consumption. Drinking too much water leads to water toxicity and death. It actually requires drinking less water to kill you than pints of beer.
As an example, people have died from drinking just 6 litres of water over a 3 hour period. That's about 12 pints of beer which is a heavy night out for some people.
Beer is safer because it's isotonic. It replaces all the salts, sugars and minerals that it flushes out, unlike water which dilutes them until you die from water toxicity. It's also diuretic so you expel a lot of excess water.
So yes, there is a safe level of alcohol consumption. The dangerous level of alcohol consumption is less than the dangerous level of drinking water which is the 2nd most vital substance our body needs to simply live. That's after oxygen of course.
These so called "studies" are pointless drivel to simply drive certain people's agenda and give researchers something to do so they don't feel they have wasted their life and career choice. OK perhaps that's harsh on researchers, plenty of research is essential so I'm only singling out the researchers that conduct these pointless studies in to how dangerous alcohol is.
We know alcohol is dangerous if over consumed. Every substance on earth is dangerous if you consume too much. We need oxygen to live but breathing in too much of the stuff will also kill you!
Our first stop was Browar Cztery Sciany in an industrial unit north of the city in Trzebnica. From the outside, it's a pretty unassuming place which is pretty standard for most craft breweries. At least they have a sign outside, many in Ireland don't like to advertise there's a brewery inside.
Tomasz loves to support local beer and despite being our designated driver for the day, he was able to partake in a few small samples of low alcohol beer. The one above was about 3.8% and I think it was their American Pale Ale.
The brewery itself is very small with a nice, clean setup. There's room to expand but not by much. It's run by a husband and wife team and everything is pretty manual. It's micro brewing at its finest and the beer is very good.
Here are some of the beers we tasted. In English as handed to me and direct from the conditioning tanks. I have no idea what the actual beer names in Polish are.
Forest fruit - sour more tart than sour West coast IPA - Stunning! Hoppy Wheat - very nice beer Sour Apple - better than expected, not one for apple beers usually. Session NEIPA - bitter so just a hazy IPA rather than proper NEIPA and for that reason I loved it
Next, we went to Browar Prost which is in a rather more impressive looking building in another industrial estate back in Wroclaw. You can see a chunk of money has been spent on every detail here.
The brewkit inside is a classic copper kit which is very fancy looking and sits right in the middle of the floor. It's the first thing you see as you walk through the doors and is visible no matter where you sit on the ground floor.
As you might imagine from the name, despite being in Poland, this is a very German style brewery which specialises in German style lagers.
The part of the brewery that's not visible to regular visitors to the pub/restaurant is full of fermenters and a semi automatic bottling machine. We did of course try some beer while we were there.
Prost Light with raspberry - Very clean and nice Proat Pils - very fine pils Prost Ahop - Hopped pils, pretty clean Hefe - very typical German wheat beer Prost (green label) tasty but some diacetyl, it's a Czech style pils so that's acceptable. Marzen pretty typical. High carb. Tasty.
Our next stop was Browar Stu Mostów which means 100 bridges. It's located in one of those old brick warehouse districts which is now full of artsy and foody places.
Inside, you walk upstairs to the raised taproom/restaurant area which is fully exposed to the brewery and offers a great view. They have used most of the space available to them.
AI had a sample tray of their regular lineup and they were really good but I neglected to take notes of them for some reason. We had lunch there which is very broth based and it was delicious.
I also tried a couple of specials while there. Strawberry vanilla milkshake IPA - very nice. Real straweberry taste. 5.9% Milk stout is amazing. Very bitter. Lots of chocolate and some coffee. 5.7%
Our last stop of the day was Browar Profesja in another red brick warehouse area. This one is far more run down and industrial though and the brewery itself wasn't the easiest to find but we eventually found the front door after a few false tries in to what we believe to be store-houses for the brewery rather than the brewery itself.
The brewkit itself is a modest enough size but they have a lot of space for fermenters, conditioning tanks and then packaging.
You can tell that the brewery has its roots in homebrew because the range of random styles they brew is impressive. As with a lot of things in Wroclaw, they are gnome or dwarf inspired. I'll get to the dwarves in a bit.
They do have a very impressive looking bottling machine which from memory, was pretty automatic apart from perhaps being loaded and unloaded with bottles.
And of course there was some beer tasting to be done. For some reason, I didn't take any notes but the two most impressive for me were the barrel aged imperial stout from the tank and then a bottle of Cyrulik which is a smoked Berliner Weisse of 3.6% which was lovely.
After this, we headed back to the hotel and then off to the beer festival which was conveniently beside the hotel.
During our trip, we also went to Wroclaw city centre ourselves on the tram. For whatever reason, there are bronze statues of dwarves all around the city. There's apparently about 350 or more but we only managed to get about 50. And that number is individual dwarves, not statues because some statues contain more than one dwarf. They are a great distraction while walking around, on the lookout for the little feckers.
While there is an app to help you find them and tourist shops selling maps, I don't get the fun in that and since dwarf hunting is thirsty work, we had to stop off for some beer from time to time.
All in all, I loved Wroclaw and would happily visit again. I know there's plenty of beery places I missed out on and it's quite a pretty city too, especially the island part that contains a lot of religious buildings. Na zdrowie.
I was invited to attend the Wroclaw Good Beer Festival last month. I've been invited a few times in the past but it had always clashed with the Killarney Beer Festival. Since that didn't take place this year, I was finally able to attend and I'm so glad I did.
The invite came from fellow blogger and YouTuber, Tomasz Kopyra, who I've known for years from the days of the Beer Bloggers Conferences. He is heavily involved in the Polish beer industry and plays a big part in promoting the festival.
The first day, before the festival kicked off, Tomasz drove us around some nearby breweries in Wroclaw. By the way, Wroclaw is pronounced like vrotes-waav, or something like that anyway. I'll write separately about those breweries later.
I just want to let people know of the magnitude of this festival as it's incredible. It was by far the largest beer festival I've been to. It takes place at the Wroclaw stadium which in itself is a rather impressive building. Breweries from all over Poland and a few neighbouring countries attend for the weekend. There was even a token Guinness tap at an international bar.
Last year, they had about 60,000 attendees and a few years ago, they counted up to 80,000 I believe. I'm not sure about this year, there were a lot of people there but I think there were other events on that could have clashed with the festival so numbers might not have been as high.
The festival is free to attend which is just amazing actually, considering how well organised it is. This is a family friendly event with music performed on a main stage in the park beside the stadium. You literally just walk up and down some steps to go between both. The park also hosts bouncy castles and other child friendly activities. There's no issue bringing beer down from the festival to the children's area which means there's no issue bringing beer in to the festival itself though it's meant to be purchased at the festival.
There are no tokens, just pay the cost of the beer. There's no ATM but every stand takes card. Considering the very small amount of money in each transaction, that's very impressive. I wonder are vendor card fees a lot lower in Poland than Ireland?
There's plenty of really tasty food available at the festival but there's no issue bringing your own food inside according to the rules.
I was scheduled to be part of a beer specialist panel on the smaller festival stage at 2pm on Saturday. This involved sampling beers on stage and judging them. It was hot as hell that weekend, in the 30s and in front of the stage, they had set up a makeshift beach with deckchairs. Thankfully the stage provided us with shade.
Tomasz hosted the panel which consisted of myself, Martin Voigt from proBIER.TV and Denise Jones, a very experienced brewer and distiller currently at Weyermann's. The three of us were the English speakers while the rest of the panel was made up of Polish beer experts.
I had also met Martin before at the Beer bloggers conferences. Particularly the one I helped organise in Dublin in 2014. I hadn't met Denise before but we became good friends over the weekend. She blew me away with not just her knowledge but also her beer judging abilities. She has a seriously refined and trained palate.
Tomasz handled the translation for all the panellists and audience so we could all understand each other.
Afterwards, Tomasz's fans came up for selfies and autographs. Yup, Tomasz is famous in Poland. He probably has the largest YouTube following in Poland and his channel is potentially the biggest beer channel on all of YouTube. Currently at 109k followers. How did he manage to do that? Well for one thing, he vlogs in Polish so has an automatic fan base of 38 million in Poland itself and many more around the world. He also uploads very regularly, multiple times a week. Sometimes multiple times a day. In contrast, I only have 88 YouTube subscribers though at least this very blog gets about 25k views a month so that's something.
Tomasz has also written a book about beer so if you read Polish, might be worth a punt. He had a lot of people come up to him over the weekend to get it signed.
We were able to take our drinks inside the stadium itself and sit down. The massive screens were showing festival highlights and stage events.
Wouldn't you know it, I actually ran in to two separate friends of mine who were also visiting the beer festival from Ireland.
There was a homebrew demonstration and competition as well as tasting going on. It wasn't open to regular festival goers as far as I know, you had to have a Beer Expert badge like mine or had been previously invited. I never got a chance to go over to it due to the sheer amount of Polish beer to get to. I think there were about 500 beers or more available.
I can't really talk about the beer itself as I had a lot of different beers at the festival, most of which I can't pronounce and I never take notes at beer festivals due to palate fatigue. That said, the beer pictured above was one of the best Baltic porters I've ever tasted.
The one thing I came away from Wroclaw with is a sense of just how popular local beer has become in Poland. It has come a long way from when I first visited Krakow in 2013 and shows no sign of slowing down at the moment. Thanks to Tomasz and the team for inviting me over.