Irish Craft Beer & Cider Festival: The Best Beers

This year's Irish Craft Beer & Cider Festival showcased some of the best brews from home and abroad. The University Observer's own Booze Brothers, Austin and Rory Conlon, give the rundown of the stand-out drinks from the fest.Tempted? XL Cider: No summer evening sesh is complete without a worthy competitor against the evil axis of Bumlers and Kopperberg. At 7%, this rum-infused cider delivers hard-hitting refreshment with hints of vanilla and spices softening the blow.Galway Hooker: Coffee Porter: This had easily the strongest coffee flavour of anything at the festival. Hints of whiskey and caramel maltiness come before the intense coffee aftertaste that will keep you alert all though the night. Metalman: Chameleon Smokescreen: Plenty of hops combined with beech-smoked malt throw an uncompromising blast of smokiness and mysterious hint of bacon into the taste of this dark beer.Kentucky: Bourbon Barrel Ale: Aged in bourbon barrels for at least six weeks, subtle notes of oak and vanilla are present in this 8.2% vagabond, not to forget the distinctive bourbon overtone you last tasted when the Underwoods convinced you to stay over.Founders: Centennial IPA The Exile on Main Street of IPAs. Not quite in the absolute mainstream but widely considered to be a game-changing classic. This little beauty is used by the American Beer Judge Certi?cation Program as the benchmark IPA in all brewing competitions. How could we ignore it? Yet surprisingly, it lacks most of the characteristics associated with a traditional IPA. The hops are not so “in your face” while still maintaining a sour bite to it. A drinkable, well-balanced beer. Kinnegar: Rustbucket rye ale I like my beer like I like my women; dirty, spicy, and aged. And this Irish rye ale does not disappoint. You get a serious bitter kick from this brew which will keep anybody who likes to be treated like an adult by their beer happy. The spicy aftertaste is something of an oddity but is totally delicious, especially in such a bitter ale. Independent Brewing Co. of Ireland: Pale ale with citra hops This Pale Ale is dry hopped with Citra hops in cask. That’s a big deal apparently. In any case, you get a much more intensely natural, ?oral taste from this beer which is a nice relief from the classic super-hopped Pale Ales that currently saturate the beer market. Bo Bristle: Smokey Bacon Beer Bacon beer. That is all. The White Hag: Irish Heather Ale One of the few beers that constantly had a gaggle of local brewers around it’s stall, sipping at it and trying to ?gure it out. According to the brewers themselves, heather beer is an old Scottish Celtic recipe that has become lost in recent times. But this ale is totally unique. The ?avor is ?oral but with a slight bitter kick and is by no means sweet. The heather taste also adds something strange and mystical that is totally lost in mainstream beers.White Gipsy: Scarlet Belgian Sour Ale: This Frankenstein’s monster turned perverse social experiment is the result of yeast bacteria souring the ale after the fermentation process. Yet the true controversy is how exactly to explain the taste. Banshee Bones, Monster Munch, and Fruit Winders have all been legitimately suggested.