Earlier this year, a little birdie told us that Kilkenny’s first ever craft beer pub was opening across from the Smithwick’s brewery and naturally enough this had us quite excited. So after a few visits to sample their wares (for research purposes you understand!) we got to thinking – it’d be nice to try some of our own cheeses with a freshly pulled glass of craft beer.
After getting in touch with Seamus O’Hara of Carlow Brewing Company (also the proud owner of Brewery Corner), who funnily enough had had the same thought (great minds and all that) we decided between us to organise a beer & cheese tasting evening, to see what the fine people of Kilkenny and Carlow would make of our pairings.
Brewery Corner has a great combination of simple old style surroundings, with a light, cosy atmosphere and a wonderful and varied collection of customers. You’ll find all of the O’hara’s range of beers, stouts and ales available on draught, as well as their just launched, very first lager, ‘Helles’, which we matched with our Lavistown– both have light, tangy flavours which marry well together and are a great starter pairing.
If you’re not a beerlover (though you may well change your mind after a trip here) you might also be tempted by Kinsale’s Stonewell cider on draught, or the various O’hara’s ales. We chose their Irish red ale to go with our Knockdrinna Meadow sheep cheese – the malty caramel flavours of the ale complimenting the creamy nuttiness of the cheese. The meadow is my own particular favourite at the moment, and generated the most ‘Mmmmmms’ on the night
Stephen Foster, general manager at Brewery Corner, has done an excellent job of building up a very decent selection of fine wines and whiskeys in addition to the range of international craft beers, which means that for larger groups there really is going to be something for everyone. So much so that a local business had chosen the venue for their work party that night and were able to join in on the beer and cheese tasting fun!
For some of the more distinguished gentlemen in attendance (including my dad), the pairing of O’Hara’s Irish Stout with our British Cheese Awards Champion Kilree goat cheese, was a massive hit – the smooth, cappuccino notes in the stout, bringing out the almondy sweetness of the Kilree.
It was difficult for us to decide on whether to include O’hara’s famous Irish Pale Ale or their Double IPA (sweeter & stronger than the single pale ale). In the end it was the intense fruitiness of the Double IPA which really brought out the citrus flavours in our Knockdrinna Snow. A little survey on the night also suggested the the Double IPA could really be paired quite well with any of the Knockdrinna Cheese selection, so if you were planning a single beer & cheese pairing as part of a dinner party etc, this is the one I’d recommend.
Turnout on the evening was really good, particularly given that the weather had taken a turn for the worse, and we had a mixed crowd of all ages and preferences taking up tables both inside the bar and outside in the heated beer garden, where the beer sample were served on specially designed wooden trays and the cheese on slates byslated.ie. We were delighted with the level of genuine interest there was in learning more about the specific beers and cheeses and heartened by the number of people wanting to support local producers.
Our final pairing of the evening was the Leann Folláin, a full bodied stout with malt, chocolatey flavours, which was paired with our Meadow Soft sheep camembert for it’s distinctive creamy, earthy taste. With a blend of soul, jazz & hip-hop from local DJ Vessel Vassal rounding off the night, late revellers tucked into crackers and our finger lickingbasil & goat cheese pesto.
Huge thanks to Stephen, Kevin and Amy @ Brewery Corner, and of course Helen & Seamus who were the stars of the evening!
If you would like to book a beer & cheese evening we cater for the following:
- Corporate groups
- Staff nights out
- Hen/Stag parties
- Private parties