Main goals for Friday:
- Get out of work a wee early. Important.
- Get a big bag of cans for train. (and maybe a sandwich. Life essentials.)
- Change the money and bring your passport.
- Meet the lads and not get too locked before Saturday.
I am always very excited to attend events like this. And going to Hagstravaganza now became a little tradition for me and my friends.
Packed with a big bag of cans we made it to Connolly Train Station on time. Although I felt like we should have booked a spare seat only for this special bag. It was heavy. It was huge. It was great. Sure, everybody needs a bit of juice for a long journey like this!
Enjoying a beautiful scenery and landscape of this amazing country (Ireland looks awesome, we should definitely go there!), regular train shakes (and a general lack of sleep) made me fall asleep like a baby in a baby carriage. Here we are now – the next stop is Boyle, mind the gap! And we did.
All you need for a beer session:
- a proper sleep in Cloonloo (somewhere in between Sligo and Roscommon),
- full Irish breakfast prepared by Irish mammy (including an Irish coffee, otherwise it’s not full Irish!),
- tickets for Hagstravaganza,
- one or two umbrellas which you are not going to use at all (only for a sword fight while queuing, isn’t that right?), but you still have to carry it around because you promised you’ll bring it back. And we did. (I actually brought one of them back to Dublin by accident, oops.),
- and your favourite socks:
After fulfilling the checklist we could finally treat ourselves with some nice beverage. I don’t even know where to start, because not only you felt thirsty, but your eyes wanted all of it at the same time! Beer repertoire was absolutely brewtiful and the goal was pretty clear – to taste all of it!
We made a genius plan – ordering different beers, not the same ones, so all of us would taste as much as we could. It was working pretty well, until it was not working anymore. The best move I really appreciate comparing to the last year’s edition was serving 150ml portions, so this year I actually didn’t end up eating spice bag and ice cream in front of the Spar at 7pm. (it could have been later actually, but who knows? I’ll never find out!) I tasted many of the beers and have to say that I am very, very proud of myself!
Here’s the list of the beers I drank (in this order):
Raspberella, Raspberry Amber Ale by Canvas Brewery, 4.6% Double Screwball, Imperial Raspberry Ice Cream IPA by Boundary, 8.7% El Gingero, Ginger Orange Stout by Magic Rock Brewing, 7.5% Black Boar, Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged on Raspberries by The White Hag, 11.6% Ding Ding, Hazy IPA by Malmö Brewing Co, 6.5% Double Trouble, Imperial IPA by Founders Brewing Co., 9.4% Honey Wheat, Pale Wheat Ale by Founders Brewing Co., 5.6% Push and Pull, Citra Simcoe IPA by Boundary, 5.5% Cloud Catcher, Australian XPA by Stone&Wood, 5.5% Immram, Belgian IPA by The White Hag, 6.8% Legendary Oddity, Belgian Strong Ale by Muskoka Brewery, 7.1%
Here’s the list of beers I stole a teeny-tiny little sip from my beer club crew and liked them so much:
Mother Mezcal, Barrel Aged Mezcal IPA by Dot Brew, 6.5% Neapolitan, Ice Cream Pale Ale by Northern Monk Brew Co, 6.2% Baden Power, Whisky Barrel Aged Imperial Stout by O’Clock Brewing, 9.5% Bretty Fool, Sour Stout by Schneeeule Brauerei, 5% Winter Beard, Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout by Muskoka, 8% Grapefruit Spaceman, Grapefruit IPA by Brewfist, 7% Hand&Hag, Apricot Brett Pale Ale by The White Hag, 6.66% Bearded Lady Dessert Edt., Toasted Pecan Praline Imperial Stout by Magic Rock Brewing, 10.5% Tim-Ut, Lemony Pepper Ale by O’Clock Brewing, 5.5% Barrel Runner, Bourbon Aged IPA by Founders Brewing Co., 11.1% Phunky Monk, Brett Conditioned Tripel by Kinnegar, 9.0%
And it would be actually much more, but at some point, my writing became a chicken scratch. That’s what loads of delicious beers do to you! But to keep ourselves going and not to get into trouble, perhaps a double trouble, we decided to sponge the beer with some food. With a variety of choices, we stayed classy with delicious burgers and posh chips! Accompanied by Imperial IPA Double Trouble by Founders.
Radka’s Beer fashion this year:
I am in a raspberry mood this year and using raspberries in a brewing process – it makes me very happy. Especially if you can actually taste them hidden somewhere in the background. I was chasing them and wasn’t disappointed. Very generous choice.
As well as the trend of brewing fruity IPAs, I found the third musketeer for my favourite grapefruit IPAs – this one comes from Italy (by Brewfist) and its name is Grapefruit Spaceman. So now I have Elvis Juice from Bonnie Shcotland, Grapefruit edition of Lucky Jack from Norway and this Italiano tutti frutti astronauta – aren’t they one lovely international trio?
I tasted many s(h)touts this year and it was surprisingly very tasty experience for me! A Ginger Orange Stout was very well balanced, as ginger can be very tricky and can kill the whole taste of beer very easily. I forced myself to taste a combination of styles that I would never dream of tasting. I seriously thought of how foolish the lads from Germany are, making their Bretty Fool Sour Stout! But honestly, stout character took a generous amount of sourness from the beer, and sour character made this stout a little bit lighter and easier to drink. Weird things happening in this German craft beer industry, but cheers for bringing this super-interesting experiment to Hagstravaganza! Beers that were pouring there were unique and never poured in Ireland before. This is one of the reasons why is Hagstravaganza one of the best beer events in Ireland.
Every day is a school day and I learned something about Brett beer, that seems to experience a revolution these days.
What do I have to improve: to be (or not to be? That is the question!) a little bit more open for sour beers (Sour ales, Berliner weisse, Gose etc.). They are still not getting into my tasting pallet and I probably do miss a lot of really nice ones just because of refusing anything sour in my mouth! (I am sour enough, haha!)
Radka’s Beer Club Hagstravaganza Beer Winner 2018:
And the winner is…
Hagstravaganza Special Brew.
Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged on Raspberries. 11.6%
Raspberry thing – not surprising. STOUT – very surprising even for myself! This combination goes hand in hand together and bourbon barrel aging gives it the finest flavour! I actually had few more glasses of it afterwards, because it was so good! And as a nice memory for this beer birthday festival I had to buy a bottle. You never know if you’ll have a chance to taste it again! Now I can say that I will. For sure.
Hoppy Birthday, The White Hag!
(Can we please have this kind of session every Saturday?)
Sláinte – Cheers – Nazdravie!
Northern Monk Brew Co (UK)
Brew By Numbers (UK)
Magic Rock Brewing (UK)
The Wild Beer Co (UK)
O’Clock Brewing (FRA)
Schneeeule Brauerei (GER)
Muskoka Brewery (CAN)
Founders Brewing Co. (USA)
MacIvors Cider Co (NI)
Laugar Brewery (EUK)
Stone & Wood (AUS)
Nevel Artisan Ales (NL)
Malmo Brewing Co (SWE)
Galway Bay Brewery (IRL)
Canvas Brewery (IRL)
Dot Brew (IRL)
Porterhouse Brewing Company (IRL)
The White Hag (IRL)