5 breweries to visit in Ireland

photo by Bernt Rostad

Guinness is Ireland’s most famous beer, enjoyed by beer enthusiasts around the world, and the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin is one of the city’s major tourist attractions. But what about Ireland’s other brands of beer? While whiskey distilleries get their fair share of visitors, breweries are not to be ignored either, especially if you like downing a pint of two at the pub in the evening! If you are interested not only in the taste of beer but also its history and tradition in the Emerald Isle, here are 5 breweries to visit in Ireland.

Beamish & Crawford Brewery, Cork

Beamish stout has a history of at least 200 years, and their beers are famous both nationally and internationally. The outstanding quality of the stout earned it several awards, which is no surprise given that the recipe has been refined over two centuries. It takes two weeks to brew this full roasted, full bodied beer, and the yeast used dates back to 1792, which gives the stout a  unique flavor.

Biddy Early Brewery, Inagh, Co Clare

photo by Jinx!

Biddy Early’s is the first brewpub in Ireland – your beer is brewed on site and you can enjoy it right there and right then. This microbrewery has a great range of beers, from black stout with a strong taste that you can’t really find in other more popular beers, as well as special brews like the Buzzy Biddy, a delicious honey beer that is perfect for chilly winter evenings. Try the Red Biddy too, a specialty made using pale ale, chocolate & Crystal malts, and bog myrtle.

Carlow Brewing Company, Carlow, Co Carlow

This microbrewery is quite young by Irish standards but it is rapidly becoming one of the best breweries in Ireland. The brewery is located in a 19th century General Goods stores near Carlow railway station, which confers it a historical flavor. The brewery’s stouts have won several awards, and the stouts and ales (O’Hara) are all that you’d expect from a great Irish beer.

Galway Hooker Brewery, Galway

photo by somerandomnerd on Flickr

Galway Hooker Brewery provides quality beer for ten pubs in Galway, and contrary to popular belief, the name of the pub comes from a type of traditional fishing boat. The trademark beer of the brewery is the Irish Pale Ale, and the goal of the pub is to make beer that is fresh and as little processed as possible. Every bath of beer is lovingly handcrafted, and if you’re a true beer enthusiast a visit to the brewery is a must.

Great Northern Brewery, Dundalk, Co Louth

The Great Northern Brewery was founded in 1897, and it is the second largest brewery in Ireland. The brewery is home to the famous Harp Lager, one of the most famous beers in Ireland, but other well known beers like Smithwick’s and Carlsberg are also brewed here. The huge facilities and the tradition of excellence that the Great Northern Brewery has been keeping up for over a century makes this one of the top 5 breweries to visit in Ireland.

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