Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Go West

In mid-January Beoir members were invited down to have a look around Galway hooker's new brewery. In Oranmore  just outside of Galway. The first of the new generation of micro-breweries after the Porterhouse. They began brewing in 2006 on the site of the previous Emerald Brewery just outside Roscommon town.  In May 2041 they moved to a much bigger site and kit in Oranmore. Their flagship beer Irish Pale ale (IPA), a clever play on the common IPA acronym. Which is a firm favorite of mine. Hooker have gone on to launch a few other beers such as their Stout, IPA, weiss and a dark lager. 

With one of the most iconic tap handles around,their "sail" counter mounts are made from larch by the Adrian Qualter. It is also used the same wood that the Galway hooker boats are made from, a nice use of traditional materials. 

The new brewery 40 hl brew-house,  is a cathedral of steel. That is just over 24 UK barrels in old money. This in comparison to the previous 650 litre system. The brew-house is a combination of a combined  mash/latuer tun (right) and kettle/whirlpool vessels (left). The malt  and auger, are just out of shot to the right.

There is plenty of room in the facility to expand if need. The brew-house was designed with the option two additional vessels (mash/lauter tun) if required. The fermentation vessels and bright tank (foreground) are double volume (80hl) allowing for increased capacity. The operation also captures the heat for the heat exchanger, which is feed back to the hot liquor tank. Making the system very green in operation. 

Yeast storage and collection system, which allows the brewery to re-pitch in a safe and clean fashion.  

While on the tour we got to try fresh from the fermenter their new Sixty knots IPA. Aidan kindly drew off a few liters  fresh  from the fermenter. It tasted bitter, was would expect from such a fresh beer. But it was all about the aroma, all citrus and pine in spades too.

I caught finally caught up with the bottle version a few weeks later. 6.5% abv and 60 IBU’s, very much a big brother to the pale ale. The colour was a dark amber, more that the sample from the fermenter would have suggested. But the aroma is big pine/grapefruit. Taste, there is a mix of the hop bitterness and crystal/biscuit malt. Which I found played a nice foil to each other. It reminded a bit of Hilden’s Bucks Head, a classic English style IPA finished with lots of American hops. 

The highlight of the trip for me was the cask Galway hooker stout, hand pump and sparkler. You couldn't have ask for more. Coffee and chocolate aroma, medium body with a nice soft finish, in top condition. There is not much more fun to be had than in a brewery, been able to pull you own pint via a beer engine. 

There the third addition to their permanent line up was the release of Galway Hooker dark lager. Not as dark as I was expecting, it  reminded more of an Alt or Veinna lager. Aroma, sweet cereal with a slight nuttiness. Flavour wise some Carmel finishing with a pleasant hop bitterness. A different and welcome take on a classic style. The image below is courtesy of The Beer Nut  blog post The west.....

Thank you to all at Galway Hooker, for a great and fun day.


  1. Oi! That's my Dark Lager photo! How about a credit at least?

  2. Oh sorry, Google image came back with it. I will add the credit

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I re-searched the image and it turns out World Wide Wines where using it. Thats where Google picked it up from

  5. Just drawing up an invoice now...

  6. It's clearly a photoshop job.... ;p


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