Guinness 2.0

Idlewild Team

November 2016

Thursday the 3rd of November was international stout day. Guinness celebrated with an event at their experimental bar, ‘The Open Gate’. The night featured a plethora of stouts both from Guinness and from some featured breweries. An apple stout and a burnt sugar with sea salt stout were amongst the Guinness offerings, while The Porterhouse, 5 Lamps and Dungarvin were part of the selected Irish breweries to bring along their own take on the classic style.

It was a confident showing from the guys at St James’s Gate who have recently started to branch these small batch beers out to bars in Dublin and around Ireland. With a rye ale coming soon, a nitro IPA just launched and talk of the 8% behemoth ‘Antwerpen’ being released to the Irish market, I thought this would be a good time to talk about craft beer in the home of the black stuff and how it will affect the market as a whole.


Beers like Narwhal (10.2%) and KBS (11.2%) have been imported here for a long time, and Irish showings like 200 Fathoms (10%) show that we are well capable of putting together a heavy hitter ourselves, so it might not seem like too big a deal for Guinness to go to market with an 8% beer. However, there’s an entirely different group of people in line to see this beer. A large portion of big craft bars don’t have the new Guinness craft tap installed, so this beer will be presented in places with a much smaller craft beer selection, to people with less experience with beers over 5% ABV.

I have it on good authority that Guinness will be shipping their own 330ml glasses with kegs of ‘Antwerpen’ for the many bars that don’t stock this size of glassware. This could be a very important development for craft beer in Ireland. There have been many times I have had a customer change their order because a beer isn’t served in a pint glass, because ‘it’s what they’re used to’ or because they ‘wouldn’t hear the end of it’ drinking from anything that didn’t contain the socially acceptable amount of liquid.


The Dublin brewery holds the power to change this stigma, to introduce a new way of drinking to the Irish public. To show people that a smaller amount is fine. That slower drinking is more enjoyable, and that you don’t need to constantly gulp away at pint after pint of imported lager while socialising. It’s not the first time that Guinness has released different products to sit alongside the famous stout, but it seems like this might be the most successful attempt they have had so far. Many beer reviewers will tell you that the beer is very good too, reflective of how much time and effort is going into the brewers project as a whole.

Guinness isn’t shying away behind an alternative badge either, pretending to be a small brewery from some unknown shed in cork. They are printing their name proudly above the St James’s Gate address on all of these beers. It’s a very different approach than some of the other macro breweries and one that has been welcomed with open arms by the ever expanding craft beer community in Ireland. We’re all looking forward to enjoying a couple of glasses of ‘Antwerpen’ very soon.



Scaling the Irish Craft Beer Festival

Idlewild Team

September 2016


Had you asked anyone working at one of the 50+ brewery stalls at the Irish craft beer festival how profitable the event was you may have been surprised by the answer. Responses generally land somewhere between ‘Not very’ to ‘Not one bit’. Although maybe that wouldn’t surprise you. By the time you consider the price of admission for the breweries, cost of stock, the flamboyant bars that are designed to attract your attention, and the very expensive equipment that transports the liquid from kegs to your branded plastic cup, it all starts to make your 3 euro tokens feel rather meaningless in your endeavour to support your favourite brewery.

So where is the benefit in this giant showcase of Irish beer, if your pockets are lighter and the breweries are no heavier? The answer is to be found at the festival itself, specifically in its size.

A report commissioned on behalf of An Bord Bia shows that craft beer consumption is set to rise to 3.4% this year, which is up from 2.5% last year. They may seem like small numbers but at a nearly 50% increase year over year it implies that 2018 will see us at 10% of all beer sales being craft, and 23% by 2020.

It’s festivals like the RDS festival the weekend just gone that help to facilitate this growth in the industry. A fun event where the brilliant minds and personalities behind some of the best beer in Ireland display their latest and greatest to a crowd that, for the most part, has little bias towards the badge in front of the beer. It’s also where people in the industry discover that some of their negative bias towards breweries might be unwarranted, (hello Francis’ Big Banging’ IPA).


The beer is great, the food trucks are delicious, but the real joy is in the sense of community that these events inspire. A huge group of people that only know each other through the hobby of enjoying good local beer, and an even larger crowd of people that will hopefully make up the larger numbers of craft drinkers in the coming years. When you struggle to walk 10 feet without bumping into someone who knows your first name, you’re reminded that you’re involved in a hobby that not only gives you the joy of discovering a great new beer every now and then, but also the pleasure of sharing a mutual interest with so many new people in the same room.


Myself and the team at IdleWild try our very best to recreate this atmosphere each day. Stop in to try a new beer and have a chat, learn about Irish beer, and get the dates for the next big craft beer event.


(Big thanks to Wayne the Irish beer snob for the link to current Irish beer stats. @IrishBeerSnob on Twitter)


The Irish craft beer festival

Idlewild Team

September 2016

Irish Craft Festival

A special week in the craft scene, this weekend sees the return of the annual Irish craft beer festival in the RDS in Dublin. The festival grows bigger each year and now plays host to over 50 Irish breweries showcasing over 300 beers, some of which are exclusive to the event. Guest international brewers, cider makers and a healthy list of Irish distillers round out an amazing list of hand made products.

Some of our favourite breweries and friends will be present, with Rascals brewing showcasing their first ever sour beer along side some of the incredible barrel aged beers that they craft in their Dublin brewery. The White Hag brewery from Sligo will be selecting from their huge list of beers inspired by Irish mythology and traditional brewing techniques as well as bringing a special second bar that will focus solely on beer infusions, and Trouble Brewing will be introducing never before seen west coast and an east coast IPA’s.

We will be wandering the floor on Thursday tasting all the great beers on offer and planning what to stock over the coming months. If you have any interest in meeting us to have a chat about beer, or you just can’t make the event and want to live it through us, keep an eye on our Instagram story @IdleWildDublin to see where we are and what we think.

Check back for more in depth write ups on some of the breweries and beers we try at the event, as well as a review of the overall experience, coming over the next couple of weeks.



Something For Everyone

Idlewild Team

August 2016

We always knew we would have a strong focus on beer in the bar. Some of the staff had a background working with breweries before, and the owners were keen to have a good offering of beer on fade street, something missing previously. The craft scene was originally confined to specific bars that specialised in selling drink from Ireland and abroad and often chose not to include the usual suspects like Guinness and Heineken. While this was great for pushing people to experiment and try something new, it also succeeded massively in alienating the friends of craft beer fans who just wanted to drink what they were used to.

I left a large group of bars that functioned like this to come and work at Idlewild. We had a plan to create a bar that didn’t leave anyone out, one that catered for everybody. We happily serve tons of products that most people would expect to find in the bar, but part of our passion lies in amazing hand crafted beers produced in Ireland and overseas.

We have been received incredibly well. With thirteen different exciting bottles and cans, a pale ale being made just for us in Dublin, a program that offers a new rare bottle every week and a tap that changes every time a keg runs out we have fresh, new, exciting options for our customers every time they come in.

So now we are planning more. This is the first post on a blog that will operate weekly, with an aim to discuss the beer we have on special for that particular week, talk about events in the Irish beer world and find out what people think we should have in the fridges. We will have more great beer coming, as winter rolls in we will have a great selection of stouts and porters, reds and dark ales.

It’s an exciting time to be part of the craft beer world and the perfect time to get involved. Hopefully we will be amongst a wave of new bars that can offer hand made Irish beer to customers, supporting small local families and businesses.

Stay tuned to this blog, either through the website itself, or through our Facebook and Twitter pages to get updates on what we have to offer and to see what events may be coming up in the near future.