Blackfriars (Glasgow)

Another pub that we headed into was blackfriars on Bell street in Glasgow city. This is one of the city’s craft beer pub experiences and the other lads in the group rated it highly in terms of its craft beer selections. I really don’t know much at all about craft beer but I tried out a few here and one I particularly liked but the other which was a pale ale was undrinkable for my palate. It was very busy when we headed in on an early Friday evening but as people left we managed to get a table. The staff found myself and Ryan’s Cork accents difficult to decifer but we just about managed to order drinks. They were advertising a basement for parties etc and that part of the pub I didn’t see. There are some nice seating areas and the atmosphere here was excellent.

The big let down for me personally was the gents toilets. They had the worst smell I have ever come across in any toilet that I have been in. It was not a smell caused by the users of the facility. I would describe it a smell of burning rubber combined with a smell of toilet cleaning products. I know that doesn’t make any sense but the odour lingered in my nostrils long after we left the pub. Other than that the toilet was very small with two urinals and one cubicle available for use.

Toilet rating: 4/10
Pint rating: 1st 8/10 and 2nd 3/10
Overall rating:8/10

Final comment: If the sorted out the bad odour this would be a super pub .

The Beer Cafe (Glasgow)

It has been a seriously long time since the last pub review and for that I can only apologise and say that our priorities lie elsewhere and we just don’t have the time to keep the website updated as it once was. That said I am going to make a concerted effort to start reviewing again as it still remains an absolute passion of mine. We headed to Glasgow for the weekend for Ryan’s stag party and headed for this bar for a bite to eat and a drink. It is located at 78 Candleriggs in the city and we decided to head in to try the beer and the pies. We sat in a booth at the back of the bar and it was very quiet upon arrival which was early around 4pm. We ordered drinks which were good. There is a good selection of craft beers available to buy along with your regular mass produced products. The pies in the beer cafe come with mash potato, mushy peas and gravy. I really enjoyed mine which was chicken but Ryan’s venison pie just didn’t contain enough meat for his liking. The meal costs 8.95 as far a I recall and there are other pies to choose from also.

The bar itself is not huge but can seat quite a few people especially at the front. It was very busy when we were leaving on early Friday evening. The toilets are located down a very attractive winding iron staircase and it’s slightly confusing trying to decifer which is male and female by signs on the door especially with a lot of alcohol consumed. The toilets were very well maintained with no complaints about the cleanliness. I thought the pub was good for the grub but I wouldn’t rush back when next in Glasgow.

Toilet rating; 7/10
Pint rating: 6.5/10
Overall rating: 6.5/10

Final comment: Enjoyed heading to this bar especially for the pie.

It’s a craft beer thing…

Beer is great. Great beer is greater. Great Irish beer is greatest. Or at least I like to think so. For all the lovers of Irish craft beer, for those who like to brew & drink their own; Hello brewing.ie. No matter what side of the bar or brew kettle you’re on, Irish craft beer is a fantastic thing. The amount of growth in the market in the last number of years is testament to just how good it is and more importantly, why you should be drinking it instead of your usual pint of bland. Venturing into a bar that serves craft beer isn’t as scary as some people might make it out to be. Nine times out of ten if you tell them what you usually drink, they’ll suggest two or three beers that will keep you in your comfort zone but still allow you to try something new.

Home brewing was very much a thing your dad did. Or something you did in college to get really drunk, really fast for really little money. Usually, with disastrous results. I’d say ‘this is not your fathers home brewing’ but in truth it is. However that doesn’t change the fact that you can get very good results at home with even the most modest equipment and budget.

If I can be biased, I think craft brewing in Ireland more or less started with the Franciscan Well (which I’ve just noticed is very due for re-review) in Cork. They were brewing their own way back when Ireland was thinking ‘what the hell is this and why should I be drinking it instead of ‘generic beer X’? It took a few years (and maybe the recession helped) but more people started drinking at home and demanding better beer for their increasingly hard earned and often smaller pay packet. Breweries began to spring up everywhere.

But I’ve gotten off the point, or I’m just attacking it from a different angle maybe. Brewing.ie is a showcase for all that is good about Irish craft beer, no matter if that beer is produced by a commercial brewery or by you at home in your garden shed. Write about it. Take photos of it, shoot video of it. It doesn’t matter how you document it or what your experience level is. At brewing.ie, we want to hear about it.

Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you. Get us at hello@brewing.ie or on twitter @brewingie

An Bodhran

I have walked past this small pub on Oliver Plunkett street in Cork city many times over the years. I always wanted to enjoy a pint in here and recently headed in around 7pm on a Friday evening. I was due to meet friends in another pub so I just had a swift one. It was quite busy for that time of the evening and most people had a hello or a nod in my direction as I went to order my drink. It is one of those pubs where you can walk in on your own for a pint and feel completely comfortable. The bar staff were a young guy and girl and I was served my Beamish efficiently with a smile.

There is plenty memorabilia on the walls to keep you reading and there was some of the clientele watching sport on the tv. I sat at the front of the bar sitting on a stool and people watching out the window. I really enjoyed the pint and found this to be a very relaxing pub for a pint. I didn’t use the toilet facilities so cannot comment on those but overall this is a grand little pub very centrally located

Pint rating: 8/10
Overall rating: 8/10

Final comment: I would most certainly like to head back here again and will probably do so to catch some of the live music i have heard while walking by in the past.

Elbow Lane Brewery; Angel Stout

Brand new and on sale today but you won’t find it in your local off-license or craft brew pub just yet. Angel Stout by Elbow Lane Brewery is, for now, only available at Market Lane in Cork city and The Castle Cafe in Blackrock. Happily enough, popping in to try the new stout gave me the opportunity to sample the fine food on offer in Market Lane over the bank holiday weekend.

Some would call releasing a stout in Cork a hard act to follow. I must confess that having only really discovered the wealth of craft beers available in the last year or so, my horizons were somewhat limited to two of Cork’s better known; Murphys Irish Stout and Beamish. Then I tried Shandon Stout by the Franciscan Well brewery and I didn’t know which way was up. It didn’t take long before I jumped into craft brew with both feet and with a small push even began all grain brewing in the not too distant past. Having been a coffee drinker (and lover) for quite some time, you’d expect my taste buds to be a finely tuned machine, capable of extracting a wealth of information on every new beer I sample and producing copious tasting notes and an appraisal so detailed it would make any “Antiques Roadshow” host blush. Sadly, not so. Or rather, not yet. I’m no expert but I know what I like. Because of that, I mostly only drink what I like. I buy beer in mixed batches and remember (or take photos of labels) of beers that I like. Then I buy those over and over. Life is, after all, too short for bad beer. Since finding out that some beers actually contain flavour, I’ve delighted in getting to grips with varied ales, stouts and porters from the many new and a few of the more established Irish, UK and American brewers.

So this would be the part where I make out like I know what I’m talking about…
On cracking open the bottle and expecting a all too familiar stout aroma, I was very pleasantly surprised by the sweet smell that almost seemed to jump out of the bottle at me. The carbonation seems spot on (to me anyway) and on pouring I got another wave of wonderful sweet treacle on the nose. After taking a couple of very quick photos I got into it and although I can’t exactly put my finger on it, I’m getting a gorgeous silky dark roast coffee (I’d like to think it’s Cork Coffee Roasters “Morning Growler”) taste. About half way in and I’m picking up citrus flavours that compliment the coffee / sweet taste perfectly. Holy moley, that’s a cracker. I haven’t been this pleased/surprised with/by a stout since Dungarvan’s Coffee & Oatmeal stout in December last year. I’ll most certainly be picking up a few more of these on my next trip to Cork at the end of the month for the home brewing expo. Immediately I want to try it both on cask (hint hint Elbow Lane, the craft brew festival would be perfect) and with a nitrogen mix behind it to give a bit of oomph to the creaminess and head retention.

The arrival of a new craft beer brewery in Cork is to be celebrated. Elbow Lane’s debut has surprised and delighted in equal measures and is a hell of a way to kick off the inclusion of craft beers on Munster Pubs. I’m expecting great things from them with their two upcoming brews; Wisdom Ale and Elbow Lager. I believe both will be available in a month or so.

You can also find Elbow Lane Brewery on @elbowlanecork.

The Boardwalk

We recently went for a meal in this bar and restaurant located on Lapps Quay in Cork City centre. It was a good feed and after eating in the trendy restaurant area we moved across to the bar. We found some comfortable seats in this ultra chic bar. A pint of Murphys and a glass of White wine was ordered and was promptly delivered by the very pleasant bar man. It is a spacious bar and very modern. It would certainly be a great place to watch a match. I spotted a VIP area at the back of the bar.

The toilets were very well maintained and I certainly do not have any complaints about them. The meal we had was a very good value early bird deal and the drink was very relaxing. We both enjoyed our visit and to be fair there was a good crowd of people in there for a mid week night. I definately think people should head in for a meal, a drink or both.

Toilet rating: 8/10
Pint rating: 7.5/10
Overall rating: 8/10

Final comment: The service and the general welcome in this city centre bar was top class. We’l be back.

Issacs bar and bistro

We were at this bar in Midleton Co Cork today. We headed in for a bite to eat and a few drinks. It is quite a small pub and the girl behind the bar was very friendly when we walked in. She offered us a table near the fire but although the Cosy spot looked inviting we chose to sit near the front of the bar. Our three year old needed more space to move around. There are two televisions in the bar which would be a good spot to watch a match. The pints that I had were good, they were heineken and went down well. The food that we had was also good and very reasonable.

The toilets are out the back of the bar. The gents were well maintained. There is a very nice smoking area our here as well. I have to say that this pub was an enjoyable visit. You will find it on Church lane off the main street.

Toilet rating: 7/10
Pint rating: 7/10
Overall rating: 7/10

Final comment: Issacs bar and bistro is just another of Midletons many public houses. Check it out.

BACK SOON.

Apologies for the lack of reviews over the past while. We are still here but just with lots of more pressing commitments at the moment. More reviews to come soon and going to start making more use of the Facebook site to promote www.munsterpubs.com.

Eoin

Dineens

The next pub I visited on my quick stop to Macroom Co Cork was Dineens bar on the main street just up from TP Cotters. There was a good crowd inside on heading in. The bar man was extremely welcoming and served me promptly. The pint of Murphys here was top class and I took it down the back of the pub to enjoy it. The television was on in the pub but to be honest it was way too loud. Dineens appeared to be a real locals bar and had a good atmosphere.

The toilets were in good condition on checking. This pub was enjoyable to pop into for a pint.

Toilet rating: 7/10
Pint rating: 8/10
Overall rating: 7/10

Final comment: Dineens is a pub in Macroom that is worth consideration for a pint of the black stuff or anything else for that matter.

TP Cotter

Was down in Macroom recently and had a bit of spare time before I went for a meal in Granvilles restaurant. I headed into TP Cotters as I found the exterior quite appealing. It is a very well kept comfortable public house. The open fire was very appealing and I sat near it. The bar man was very polite and efficient and appeared to have a good rapport with the people sitting at the bar. I got a pint of Murphys and unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it. I was disappointed as I found this pub great to sit and have a pint in.

The toilets were absolutely immaculate. I honestly couldn’t fault them. They were some of the cleanest I have come across in a while. There wasn’t a huge crowd in the pub but it was relatively early on a Tuesday evening. Despite being disappointed with the pint I got I really enjoyed my short visit to this pub. Out by the toilets I noticed a very nice smoking area. It’s well worth a visit.

Toilet rating: 9/10
Pint rating: 6/10
Overall rating: 8/10

Final comment: Even though I didn’t enjoy the pint I would definately go back again for another visit and can certainly recommend TP Cotters.