Radka’s Broof Club: Chapter Francesco & Esther.

Quick training on ‘How to blend in with Italian people’:

Good morning, how are you? – Bon Jovi! Come stai?

Very well, thank you! – Tutti frutti, grazie mille, bopity bop!

That’s our secret international language. Please do not be looking for any sense there, I just love to pretend that I do speak Italian. Making my own words and sentences supported with a traditional hand gestures – that’s all you need, haha! (Is it, yeah?)

Today’s chapter of Radka’s Broof Club with Francesco and Esther coming from Carrick-on-Shannon, county Leitrim. Carrig Brewing’s head brewer and his better half! We were very excited that we had a spare time to meet up and have a little broofing session up on the roof. Let’s broof…

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Beers

Weather

Thirst

All ticked on the list: we had nice selection of beers, we had fairly good weather (it wasn’t raining so happy days!), and we had a thirst for some nice craft gemstones. The only one thing missing was Italian Quadratini Napolitaner Wafers, but I promise you, Esther, I’ll bring you some the next time!

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My trips to our little brewery in Drumshanbo are something to be looking forward to every now and then. Coming to annoy the boys in the brewery became my little tradition. Walking around and bossing people in my master brewer suit and annoying lads all the time when I’m there is my skill number one, which I am definitely going to put in my CP. (author’s note – it is supposed to be a joke on all the people coming to our bar to LEACH their CP applying for a job as a CHICKEN porter or ASS manager.)

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This time the cards have been turned around and a Drumshanbo gang came over to Dublin, for a bit of music, some smoked fish burgers (and please don’t forget our veggie burger experience, guys!) but most importantly – some craft beer enjoyment and treat. For a bit of a good craic!

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With the last sprinkles of the autumn and slowly but surely coming into freezing winter season, we wanted to remember the summer vibes with a nice, sessionable kind of IPA that would be a perfect breakfast beer for us to start with. And that’s how we picked this aromatic session IPA Virtuous by Kirkstall Brewery.

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Nice touch for a light beer, even though I was expecting more of a hoppy aroma kicking in, but let’s be honest – A) 90% of this winter time my nose is blocked and B) it is very important to keep the hops as fresh as possible as they are very delicate and their taste and aroma tends to fade away. That means – drink the cans as soon as possible after canning is my advice! Our one was not the freshest one and was sitting there for a while. Despite of that it was still a very nice and easy-drinking breakfast for us! And Francesco will remember it for sure – when he opened the can it just exploded out of all excitement and his brand-new jacket ended up covered in this beer. A proper beer christening!

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There are few shops I love going to for my beer shopping. I visit them more often than I visit regular grocery shops, haha (or oops?). One of them is just around the corner from where I work (Stephen’s Street News), and one of them is just around the corner from where I live (Molloy’s Liquor Store). IDEAL DEAL!

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I love watching how the shelves in their beer fridges are expanding, and every visit is a great adventure, browsing and hunting for new craft beer specials. As the craft beer scene in Ireland is growing, Molloys decided to celebrate their 85th anniversary by brewing a Covert Operation with the guys from Yellowbelly, and this special broofing session was the right occasion to taste the result of their special brew. It was nice and fresh, juicy as promised, and we were happy to dance with all those fruity flavours around.

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Next stop – DOT Brew.

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I am always excited to taste their delicious beers. And we all were even more, as Carrig Brewing Company made a very exciting collaboration beer with Shane from DOT, which will hit the taps in our pubs in a foreseeable future! Beer is resting and ageing in the barrels in Drumshanbo, and everytime I am in the brewery, I spare a couple of minutes to pet the barrels a bit so this baby will definitely be pumped with extra love…

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Dot Brew is with no doubt a top-class expert for barrel-aged beer.

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I’ve tasted their Double Down, aged in 18 year-old Single Malt barrels for 1 year at Samhain Winter Beer Festival organized by White Hag and the whole project was literally Hagstravaganza coming to Dublin! I knew that this is the beer I wanted Francesco to taste. Pouring nice rich red-ish colour with a hint of spiciness, too delicious and too dangerous with its over 10% kick in the ass!

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Back in Black!

Welcome to the season of full-bodied, rich in flavour and colour beers for your belly to make you warm! It is that time of the year when people will be looking for s(h)touts and dark ales. Francesco has something to mix it up – as he loves to make some interesting beer experiments himself (do you remember Basil Beer?), he is not going to leave you thirsty this winter.

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Make sure to pop in to Bar Rua to taste the newest limited special brew edition of WHITE WONKA – white chocolate nitro cream ale. Who knows, maybe you’ll be lucky to get your golden ticket!

Let’s see which winter beers he stuck his nose into on our broofing session….

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Opening this season with doube dry hopped Black IPA by Northern Monk Patrons Project in collaboration with Moor Beer. Pouring dark brown rather than pure black was the first sign we’ve noticed, so it evoked having a liquid dark chocolate in your glass. That was probably influenced by not putting dark roasted malts into the mashing tun, but adding a liquid malt colour to the whirpool and then putting it on top in the fermenter. The result was a very nice dark IPA with a proper hoppy dance of 5 different hops used – Centennial, Mosaic, Simcoe, Vic Secret and Citra. Our winter bittersweet symphony.

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Dead Centre Brewing is setting their brewery in Athlone. Their limited edition of Moondust coffee porter ended up in my hands a couple of weeks ago. It definitely is a beer for these long winter evenings. I am not a coffee drinker and as I am very sensitive to its flavour – I felt like there was too much coffee going on, but the rest of the crew (proper Italian coffee drinkers) enjoyed the beer. The smile on Esther’s face is a proof of it.

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I am a person obsessed with Christmas. Working during this crazy period of Christmas would be a story for another whole chapter, but I love the spirit. Not really in a way of celebrating this holiday in a big style or anything, I just love the idea that every day should be a Christmas Day for us. Small little things. And mainly now, when the whole city is getting Christmassy, I am very happy. I had my first proper Christmas taste with our last beer by StoneXocoveza. Winter Mocha Stout. It brought me back to celebrating Christmas Eve when my brothers were putting up the Christmas tree with my dad, and myself and my mammy were preparing all the stuff for our Christmas dinner. I always used to light up the candles with cinnamon aroma all around the apartment. That’s the sip of Xocoveza for me.

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It has tunnelled its way to my and Esther’s heart right away. Too much sweetness going on for Francesco, but we are ladies. We just loved it! And now, looking on our Christmas Tree we just put up today in our apartment, I will have this beer down on my list as a beer for this year’s Christmas Eve. And Christmas Day.

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What is your Christmas Beer going to be?

I would like to thank Francesco and Esther for climbing the roof with me and not falling off it. It was a pleasure. Cheers to more beers!

Sláinte – Cheers – Nazdravie – Salute!

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