Tag Archives: Boyne Brewhouse

O’Briens Summer Tasting, Athlone.

My local branch of O’Briens Wines in Athlone organised a Summer Tasting recently.

OBriens Tasting
O’Briens Summer Tasting promo

They invited a plethora of nearby craft beer producers – as well as a slightly more widespread coterie of spirits & whiskey distillers.

I simply had to go along!

Many familiar faces were encountered on the craft beer stalls.

Black Donkey were showcasing their latest limited edition release – Underworld. Savage Ale indeed.

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Savage Ale c/othewhiskeynut

12 Acres had their Single Malt lager. Dead Centre had some good news regarding planning permission for their town centre brewery/restaurant development. Boyne Brewhouse had some award winning beers. I even enjoyed a Miami J IPA from Rye River Brewing – despite not being an IPA fan – mainly as the hops were softer in the mix which accentuated the summer fruitiness.

Larkins from Wicklow were the only newcomers to me and I sampled some their interesting takes on the lager front.

On the spirits & whiskey front I had some brief chats with the Teeling & Connacht stands having tasted most of their excellent product before. I was tempted by Connacht’s Concullin Oak Aged Gin – mainly because of the whiskey like appearance – and did discern some oak influence in among the unfamiliar to me at least gin flavours.

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Oak Aged Gin c/othewhiskeynut

Galway Gin Co were also in attendance – but for me the main attractions were the stalls offering whiskey I’d never tried before – like Ha’Penny Whiskey on the Pearse Lyons Distillery stand.

Now it was made clear Ha’Penny Whiskey – along with it’s stablemate Ha’Penny Gin & Mil Gin too – are all sourced spirits for the Pearse Distillery who market them to a different audience than the Pearse Whiskey range which was also on display.

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Ha’Penny Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

The Ha’Penny Whiskey had that very attractive warmth I associate with charred casks maturaton. Only on closer inspection of the label was it revealed 4 different types of cask were used to mature this very flavousome blend; port pipes, sherry butts, bourbon barrels & double charred.

Very nice results too. Giving it a richness of depth & flavour not usually found in an attractively priced blend.

Midleton happened to be next door with their Method & Madness range – well 3 of them at least. How could I resist a vertical taste test?

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A trio of tasty Method & Madness c/othewhiskeynut

The Single Grain continues to excite me with the warm notes of virgin oak contrasting with the clearer, fresher grain influence. The Single Malt doesn’t pull me in as much – but what’s this? – the latest Hungarian Oak matured Single Pot Still?

My my my!

Rich, warm and inviting. A softly growing spice to tantalise & tease. Great depth of flavour with a lovely long lasting finish to remind you of the beauty you’ve just enjoyed.

Now I could easily take this one home with me!

Great stuff!

O’Briens offered a reduction on certain items on the evening so I – and many others – availed of this service and didn’t go away empty handed.

Much appreciation to all the stall holders on the night.

And a BIG UP to all the O’Briens staff in Athlone for putting together such a wonderful showcase of the fabulous beers, spirits & whiskey that abounds in Ireland today.

Sláinte.

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The Whistler 7yo & 10yo Single Malts, 46%

Standing outside the Whiskey Live Dublin event after the first session – shooting the breeze with a few fellow attendees – a gentleman passed by whistling away to himself. Only when he stopped to chat did we realise it was none other than Pat Cooney, founding father of the Boann Distillery in Drogheda, County Meath, and after whom their sourced range of single malt whiskeys are named!

It reminded me I never actually got round to sampling the 2 miniature malts I was given as part of my very enjoyable & informative tour of the distillery last summer!

At the time of my visit the Green Engineering stills were in situ and made a very impressive sight contrasting with the glass & wood of the statement building.

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Worship the copper! c/othewhiskeynut

The pipework meanwhile hadn’t been connected – although I now believe it has – and I’m certainly looking forward to the start – or should that be re-start? – of distillation in Drogheda.

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Just put your lips together and Whistle! c/othewhiskeynut

In the meantime – to bridge the gap –  the current unnamed sourced range comprises of the 7  & 10 year old – my 2 samples – as well as a cask strength 7 year old. There are other expressions outside of Ireland too.

All are non chill filtered & presented naturally coloured at 46% – or a powerful 59% for the cask strength which certainly packs a punch.

The 7 year old – otherwise known as The Blue Note – comes over very subtle on the nose for me. A hit of alcohol faded to reveal gentle vanilla followed by a dry metallic sherry influence.

The 10 year old – otherwise known as How The Years Whistle By – provided a softer, smoother & more woody influence with it’s extra 3 years maturation.

The tasting continued in this vein. Both were crisp & clear expressions with orchard fruit notes merging into that dry prickly sensation I enjoy. Again the 10yo exhibited more warming vanilla & caramel from the bourbon cask maturation which elevated the flavours – cue for a song.

Both had suitably long finishes with enjoyable heat.

I found them rather safe standard bearers of bourbon cask matured, sherry finished Irish single malts exhibiting that delightful orchard fruit feeling with subtle sherry notes intertwined. A lot of people like them  – awards have been won too – but I must admit to preferring something a bit more bolder & stronger flavoured.  The softer sublime & more subtle – perhaps even more balanced notes  –  are a little lost on me.

What isn’t lost on me however is the quiet determination & hard work all the Cooney family have put into the Boann Distillery site. Behind the gleaming copper, glass & wood of the actual distillery is a large working brewery which produces some tasty beers & ciders under the Boyne Brewhouse & Cooney’s Irish Cider brand names.

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Boyne Brewhouse workings c/othewhiskeynut

There is also a very large modern bottling facility which was hard at work on the day I visited.

I also cannot fault the hospitality & warmth of the Cooney family members. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting them on a number of occasions. They all display a well deserved sense of pride & passion in what they are trying to achieve & build with this combined distillery & brewery project just off the main M1 motorway north of Dublin.

I congratulate their present achievements and wish them continued future success.

Sláinte.

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