THE CRAFT BEER GUIDE TO DUBLIN
Would you prefer a Guinness or a Murphy’s?
Until two years ago, that was your choice when you stepped foot in any Irish pub. Sure there were a few other big name lager choices and some Beamish on occasion, but, for the most part, you had your pick of two very similar creamy stouts. Like we said, that was a few years ago.
Today, Ireland is in the midst of a craft beer revolution. And while ‘revolution’ was applied haphazardly to what has happened in America, when you consider the rich history of the Irish pub beverage, the term is far more aptly applied to what’s going down in Ireland. There are currently over 40 craft breweries operating within Irish borders, and craft beer sales have jump at least 30% each year since 2012.
Where should you go to experience these new Irish brews that deviate so far off the easy-drinking, slowly poured stout path? Dublin. And what pubs should you stop in? What beers should you look for? Which breweries are the finest? We’ve got you covered with The Craft Beer Guide to Dublin.
5. PORTERHOUSE BREWING COMPANY
Porterhouse Temple Bar was Ireland’s first brewpub, opening its doors back in 1996. The brewery, which has now been separated from the pub, offered locals interesting beer options before interesting beer options were even a thing. Clearly they were on to something as they now operate three locations in Dublin—along with others in Cork, London, and even NYC—all of which serve up their tasty offerings. They also serve up one of the finest stouts in all of Ireland, which you’ll hear more about in a bit. Link
4. TROUBLE BREWING
Want to show you’re part of an Irish revolution? Launch your craft brewery on St. Paddy’s day. That’s what Paul O’Connor and Stephen Clinch did back in 2010. Their brewery, Trouble Brewing, has gained a reputation for their cartoonish labels and their rich beers. We really dig how they brew American IPAs along with English IPAs, the latter of which is something we don’t see enough of stateside. Try Graffiti, their American IPA, and Dark Arts, their exceptional English Porter, if you have the chance. Link
3. BROWN PAPER BAG PROJECT
The guys behind one of the best craft beer bars in Dublin also happen to be behind one of the best “breweries” in Ireland. We say “breweries” because the trio behind Brown Paper Bag Project are actually gypsy brewers—brewers who don’t have their own brewery and use other breweries’ equipment. Home base or no home base, Brown Paper Bag Project crafts some delicious beer. First started in 2012, the guys have teamed up with others to create killer IPAs, Pilsners, and other beers including one hell of a gose. Snatch up their bottles when you see them, and don’t forget to see what’s on at L. Mulligan Grocers, their aforementioned bar. Link
2. EIGHT DEGREES BREWING
It all started with Amber Ella, an amber ale Eight Degrees brewed a couple years back that won a medal at the World Beer Cup. The beer, for the record, is fantastic. It’s hard to impress with an amber, and Eight Degrees knocked theirs out of the park. Since then, the brewery has gone on to crank out tremendous stouts, IPAs, and more from their brewery in Cork. Link
1. GALWAY BAY BREWING COMPANY
Galway Bay Brewing Company doesn’t just make our favorite Double IPA in all of Ireland, they make one of our favorite Double IPAs, period. It’s a beer that you won’t see stateside, but it can go toe-to-toe with Heady and Pliny. (More about it when you get to Best Beers.) But Galway Bay Brewing isn’t some one hit wonder. Built on the success of many world-class beers, the team of Jason O’Connell and Niall Walsh have gone on to open eight bars throughout Dublin and Galway, all of which serve the aforementioned brews. We can honestly recommend just about all of their ocean-themed beers, and no Dublin craft beer trip is complete without some of them. Link
THE 5 BEST CRAFT BEER BARS IN DUBLIN
Visiting breweries and enjoying a few samples in their respective taprooms is a very American idea. While there are breweries you can visit in other countries around the world, many would raise a confused eyebrow if you ask for directions. For enjoying the best Irish brewers have to offer, hit up one of these bars.
Come for the craft beer but stay for the old-school Street Fighter arcade game and leveled-up pub food. Mixed in with American crafts from Founders, Sierra Nevada, and other giants is a nice selection of Irish brews worth trying. The bar has a feel that blends that of a traditional Irish pub and a Brooklyn spot full of board games and hipster character. (30 Stephen’s St. Lower) Link
4. AGAINST THE GRAIN
At the first bar opened by the Galway Bay Brewery group, you’ll clearly find plenty of the brewery’s offerings on tap. That’s not a bad thing. You’ll also find other Irish craft and U.S. craft beers among the 30 or so taps at this southside bar. If nothing there suits your fancy, take a gander at “The Holy Grail,” a fridge where they keep some of their nicest bottles. (11 Wexford Street) Link
3. PORTERHOUSE TEMPLE BAR
The first brewpub in Dublin—it opened in 1996—is still one of the best stops for an Irish craft brew or two. Located in the boisterous Temple Bar area of Dublin, this Porterhouse outpost pours their own brews, including their tremendous Celebration Stout, Oyster Stout, and others that are a bit lighter. With good food and live music, it’s your craft destination when partying in Temple Bar. (16-18 Parliament Street) Link
2. THE BLACK SHEEP
Yes, it’s another Galway Bay bar, so we’d recommend choosing between it and Against the Grain, but The Black Sheep is really, really good. Again, you’ll find some incredible Galway Bay beers which, if we’re being honest, can impress even the most well-traveled craft fan. But you can move on to other Irish craft brews from the likes of Trouble Brewing, Brehon Brewhouse, and others. You can even drink some gems from one of our favorite up-and-coming breweries, Siren—even if they’re from England. You can even fill a growler if you want to drink back at your hotel room. (61 Capel St.) Link
1. L. MULLIGAN. GROCER
The Brown Paper Bag Project isn’t the only thing the team of Michael Fogarty, Colin Hession, and Seáneen Sullivan have created. Their pub, L. Mulligan. Grocer, is a killer spot to stop in for an Irish craft pint or two. With four casks, plenty of taps, and an extensive bottle list, L. Mulligan. Grocer. has an Irish beer in every style you could imagine. From 8 Degrees to Bru, and with plenty of Brown Paper Bag Project in-between, they’ve got Ireland covered. And when you’ve had your Irish fill, they offer amazing beers from all over the world. Oh, and the food is killer, so sop up those suds with something hearty. (18 Stoneybatter) Link
THE 5 BEST IRISH CRAFT BEERS
5. GALWAY BAY BURIED AT SEA
At just 4.3% ABV, Buried At Sea follows in the tradition of the drinkable Irish stout. Unlike many of those, however, Galway Bay’s chocolate milk version is loaded with decadent flavors. Brewed with milk sugars and chocolate to give it a candy-like sweetness, Buried At Sea is balanced out by a creamy mouthfeel and a classic Irish dryness. Link
4. EIGHT DEGREES THE FULL IRISH
Fruity IPAs aren’t just an American thing. The Full Irish from Eight Degrees Brewing is a drinkable single malt IPA with a wonderful citrus aroma brewed in Cork. Released to universal praise back in 2014, the 6% IPA is packed with orange, lychee, grapefruit, and floral notes. Link
3. PORTERHOUSE CELEBRATION STOUT
For a country known for its lighter stouts, Celebration Stout from Porterhouse is proof the Irish can crank the stout volume to 11. While a 7% Russian Imperial Stout won’t entice many stateside craft beer drinkers—the beer was originally brewed at 10% ABV before being brought down to 7%—it is something you rarely see in Ireland. A nice and roasty stout that, while a tad weaker than you may be used to, is really, really tasty. Link
2. THE WHITE HAG BLACK BOAR
One of the finest beers we tasted in Ireland was one of the finest oatmeal stouts we’ve ever had. Black Boar from The White Hag is billed as an “Imperial Oatmeal Stout,” and the 10%+ ABV and creamy mouthfeel would attest to that. Tons of coffee notes blend with interesting dark fruit to make this one flavor-packed brew. It’s way too easy to drink at its alcohol level. Link
1. GALWAY BAY OF FOAM AND FURY
Simply put: Of Foam and Fury is the best Double IPA you’ve never heard of. The hazy brew is loaded with tropical fruit notes and tastes like biting into a pine-scented mango. It’s on par with many hoppy brews coming out of Vermont or San Diego. Best of all, you can find it on tap at any of Galway Bay’s pubs, and we wouldn’t blame you for drinking it at all of them. Link
THE BEST BOTTLE SHOPS
While finding bars in Dublin that serve Irish craft beer is becoming easier and easier, finding bottle shops that sell some isn’t. That said, you’re not completely out of luck if you want to stuff a checked piece of luggage. Here are a couple we’d recommend stopping at:
Located across the street from the tremendous bar, Against the Grain, Whelan’s is worth a stop. The small store is lined with bottles and boasts 150 different craft beers for sale. Not only will you find beer from Irish standouts like Blacks of Kinsale, Galway Bay, and Wicklow Wolf, but you’ll even find hard to get American offerings from Founders and others. (23 Wexford St.)
Another small shop with an impressive inventory, Drink Store is packed to the gills with Irish craft, American micros, and Belgian legends. The owners are more than willing to help guide you through the Irish bottles you need to try, which is great since it can be overwhelming. (87 Manor St.) Link