Pssh… Who needs the Germans and their Oktoberfest?! September Fest re-establishes the Irish as brewers extraordinaire, writes Zelda Cunningham.
Having endured a sopping, soggy and downright miserable summer, Bord Bia has just the thing to lift our dampened spirits!
SeptemberFest will take place at the picturesque Farmleigh House in Phoenix Park at the weekend, Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September.
Bord Bia representative, Liam Kelly explains that SeptemberFest is the first independent drinks festival of its kind in Ireland and is keen to point out that the ubiquitous ‘student and a beer fest’ market will be catered for. “We have quality beers that are not very expensive, free admission and a really great music line-up!”
The usual big, corporate names of the drink industry are excluded in favour of small, local Irish, independent breweries, distilleries and cider-making businesses. The festival aims to promote diversity and innovation among consumers.
“We want the smaller independent ciders and breweries to take part,” Liam explains. “We are trying to show that you don’t have to look for Guinness every time you are out. There are a growing number of places which have Galway Hooker Ale or Carlow Brewing Company or O’Hare’s Stout, which are increasingly turning up in pubs.”
Promoting the concept of Irish tradition is naturally, another priority of Bord Bia. The event is not merely a tourist trap, with polluted with leprechaun paraphernalia and slabs of mouldy peat. Liam is conscious that ultimately, the Irish consumer is the target audience.
“We have a huge heritage in Ireland of brewing, distilling and cider-making, but in the last couple of decades this has declined. The big brewers seem to be eating up the little ones, which isn’t a bad thing, but it is nice to a bit of rivalry going on!”
SeptemberFest remains a very small artisan, handcrafted event and anorganic festival vibe will maintained throughout the weekend.
But what does SeptemberFest actually have to offer? A series of microbreweries will be housed in a marquee and, with the aid of a recyclable cup; consumers will sample a range of beers, whiskeys and liqueurs.
However, to prevent the usual festival malarkey taking its sinister hold, there are other events to attract
Lectures will take place throughout the weekend in Farmleigh House, which was donated to the State by the Guinness family.
For those with a short attention span, there will also be an expert taster who can guide those interested
to a plain of higher understanding of the fineries of the uisce beatha!
Entertainment for SeptemberFest will also include live bands, brass bands, the Farmleigh fresh food market, street performers, medieval displays, and yes, they will teach you how to fight with wooden swords…
Being so involved in the festival, Liam must have some top recommendations for the event? “I think the opportunity to talk to some of the brewers should not be missed. It takes a special type of person to go out on their own like they do. They are very fun and enthusiastic people!”
Depending on your beer intake, it will be a weekend to remember! All that can go wrong is the weather!
Transportation to the event: A shuttle-bus service is available from Heuston Station to Phoenix Park.
Visit www.bordbia.ie for details.