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!

Radka’s Broof Club: Chapter Conor.

‘Meet me on the roof at 5. I have a big bag of cans.’

No further questions. No answers needed.

It was a hot summer in Ireland. Like once-in-40-years hot. I think it was almost a month ago! I was broofing with my bestie. Meet Conor.

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We both enjoy a good pint of… anything! That’s why I knew that Conor Ryan, born and raised in Kilkenny, is the right person for me to start my little real beer club with.

Conor is my foreign brother from another mother. When I met him for the first time in my life, I thought he was 30 years old (yep, my age-guessing is getting…better, haha). Today I know already that he is my baby brother!

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We call ourselves with different names all the time. According to the mood and occasion. Corona, Crono, Cronsie, Cronsieslav, Cronsiebald, Conorslav, Rabbit Cakes, Rabbit Legs, all parts of Rabbit, Koppersnackersbitch… We have our secret language and jokes that are super silly, but they are the funniest and the best jokes ever for us.

Meet me on the roof at 5.

Very clear message. He understood. I had a big bag of cans and he had an hour and a half to drink it with me before his family birthday dinner (Happy Birthday mammy and daddy Ryan’s, I am so sorry for a delay!) I have to say that we failed and didn’t drink the whole big bag of cans, but we did our best.

6 out of 10 is pretty decent, if we look at our time pressure.

We started our broof session very lightly – percentage-wise, with a Sundae Raspberry IPA made by Rascals Brewing Company.

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I’ve had this one before and I truly enjoyed it. Most people don’t like beers that are sweet, and this one definitely belongs into this category. There is a hint of vanilla sweetness but very well balanced with refreshing flavour of raspberries, finished with a creaminess by adding lactose in. Do you know that feeling when you are wrecked after a long shift at work and then you are coming home and finally get to lie down in your bed… the moment when you put your head on your soft fluffy pillow,  it feels absolutely amazing, doesn’t it? That’s exactly the feeling that you have after sipping this beer. It’s so soft and smooth, creamy and fluffy, with a berry kick of mainly raspberries, but there is more citrusy flavour to add with Citra and Enigma hops. Maybe it is not hoppy and bitter kind of a ‘real beer’, but it is very exciting to see and taste what you can do with a beer. A lot of experiments and for me personally, this one is fantastic!

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It definitely is some kind of a milkshake beer revolution these days. We couldn’t resist opening another Milkshake creation, this time by Fourpure Brewing, called Spice Route Chai Milkshake Pale Ale. Oh…my…god… Such a flavour! It felt like a time machine that brought me almost two years back…bloody notorius

It all started in Bar Rua. We both experienced how it feels like to be a homeless for the first time in our lives. Fortunately, not literally homeless, but pretty desperate to find a roof we could put our heads under. And all of a sudden, out of nowhere and with all Irish luck, myself and Conor became housemates! I remember it as it was yesterday that we got the keys from the gaff and were celebrating with Bloody Notorius, a double IPA by Beavertown. It was 11am and sipping this orange mind-fu**ing 9.1% beauty felt soooo good. Bloody delicious! Do you remember, Crono?

All those memories are unforgettable, and this Spice Route Chai Milkshake Pale Ale became one of them now! Bloody delicious…

It’s a summer beer that you want to drink on Christmas with its hint of cinnamon. Its chai tea flavour makes it a beer you want to drink in summer with all the fruity notes you get from it.  You get all of it in one package. Fourpure made it so brewlicious, and both of us agreed that this one was ‘the one’ we fell in love after the first sip.

We lost our virginity with the Fourpure Brewing Company and we were too excited about it so we jumped on the second ride straight away with their Nightfall Coconut & Chocolate Imperial Stout.

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In collaboration with Sunset Brew from exotic Brazil, this one brings you to the beach! It is a stout, but you will feel like drinking this beer out of a fresh coconut! I was talking about my relationship with stouts in my previous stout night episode (fair play, it was in my mother language), and this one fits to all descriptions of the stout I can not only drink, but actually enjoy a lot. 9%? So what? Chocolate and caramel flavour hides it pretty well, and who doesn’t love chocolate? Very easy drinking even for a stout. Fourpure gets a big thumbs up, it was a pleasure to taste you!

We were getting pretty emotional here, so we had to open a can of emotions. Literally. A Tin Can of Emotions.

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This was my opening beer at Brewdog Cinematic Circus, and I was very excited to introduce this diamond to Conor, as we both enjoy the art and beers from Yellowbelly lads. It did not disappoint, and after all those fantastic brews from their kitchen, we got lucky to get something mad! 10.1% is an ABV you are going to get emotional about even before you taste it. 440ml can is another thing you are going to cry about again. But it’s all the tears of happiness. Amazing double IPA that shouldn’t be missed by any DIPA lover.

When you have fun, the time goes very fast (am I Sherlock Holmes now, with this new observation?) and we knew our wee session is coming to its end when Conor spotted his family crew from the roof.

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After our emotional beer by Yellowbelly we had to move to something super mad, super quickly. Both of us went through (and still are going through, right?) addiction to a very famous not named (haha) energy drink, so this one I honestly picked only because its name. Made by Brooklyn brewery, Monster Ale! This very traditional barley wine is not being brewed anymore so we probably drank one of a very few left. Sitting in wine barrels for four months, but it was ageing a whole lot more afterwards and it added even more winey and aromatic flavour to it! One of those things in life that becomes better with time. Like wine itself, traditional Slovakian potato salad (the best on the second day, definitely!), or they say men…

Beer itself was very enjoyable, we wouldn’t even notice it was a 10.1% monster! And I firmly believe the strength went a bit up with keeping it ageing for a bit more. Such a monster, it was!

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If I could sing at this point, I would. And Conor absolutely can! (…) He is singing for us every day. So we said goodbye to our broof club session with this Roxy Music’s song:

‘In every dream home a heartache
And every step I take
Takes me further from heaven
Is there a heaven? 
I’d like to think so…’

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Hoppy days, we got a phone call of Conor’s mammy, that their table was not ready yet. So it meant one more beer for us! This one was a blind pick. At the end of our session we drank In Every Dream Home A Heartache, a double dry hopped sour mash IPA by Wylam, Dry & Bitter and North Brewing. Juicy, fruity, not really sour (everything containing a word ‘sour’ makes me scared), with a nice and lightly bitter finish. Tasty end after the beers we had, I have to say. And after that one we for sure did not stay dry and bitter.

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P.S.: We actually do look like sisters, Cronsie.

P.S.2: I would normally be Conor’s wing(wo)man and promote his phone number, but he is taken, boys and girls!

The next Broof Club Session Chapter is coming soon, and if you are interested in drinking a big bag of cans with me, let me know!

Sláinte – Cheers – Nazdravie!

 

@photos by Radka’s Beer Club