The opening weeks of the new decade saw Beoir once again taking the pulse of the Irish beer scene, assessing it via the eyes and palates of its members. This is the ninth annual awards, in which the drinkers en masse choose their favourite Irish beers from the previous calendar year. Any beer brewed on the island of Ireland and available commercially was eligible, and the top three were selected. Additionally, the brewery which scored the most points in total received a separate award.

With voting completed, the winners for 2020 were as follows:

Big Grill Festival Festival 2014

Dublin 12's leading beer bar, Sheary's of Crumlin, is celebrating Irish Craft Beer Week 2014 with the arrival of a range of new beers on Sunday 31st August.

The award-winning draught line-up includes Eight Degrees Amber-Ella, Galway Hooker Pale Ale and Rascal's Ginger Porter. White Gypsy's Trent bitter will have the honour of being the first to pour from the pub's brand new cask beer engine.

Barbecue will be provided by the always-excellent #BrewsWePlate team, beginning at 4pm. The All-Ireland football semi-final between Dublin and Donegal will be live on the big screen from 3.30pm and at 5.30pm the live blues session with Hollywood Slim kicks off.

Sheary's can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Today marks ten years since Beoir was formally established, on 1st July 2010. It doesn’t seem like all that long ago but it’s safe to say that the world of Irish beer has changed immeasurably since then. Beoir’s objectives have similarly moved with the times.

Back then, “craft beer” was very much a minority interest, and Beoir sought to serve that minority with information on where independent beer could be found. A one-page national list of pubs that sold Irish craft beer became a Directory, and eventually the BeoirFinder app. An early stated aim of Beoir was to encourage independent beer and cider production by increasing consumer awareness and demand, to the point where every establishment could be relied on to have at least one craft option available. In urban Ireland, at least, this mission was largely accomplished by the beginning of 2020.

Belfast Beer and Cider Festival 2012

The 13th Belfast Beer and Cider Festival, organised by the Northern Ireland branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, opens at the Ulster Hall on Thursday 22nd November and runs through to Saturday 24th. Over 100 beers and ciders from all around Britain and Ireland will feature during the three days, representing styles as diverse as session-strength blonde ales and lagers, all the way up to scrumpy cider and imperial stout. And everything, or course, will be completely naturally conditioned in accordance with CAMRA guidelines.

For the first time this year, over 30% of the beers and ciders available will come from producers in Ireland. Breweries from the Republic such as Dungarvan, Eight Degrees, Metalman and Trouble will be represented, joining their Northern counterparts Ards, Clanconnel, Hilden, Inishmacsaint and Whitewater.

Highlights from among the English beers available include two from Coniston Brewery which currently holds the Champion Beer of Britain title, and Dark Star's American Pale Ale which was awarded Champion Beer of Belfast at last year's event. Festival-goers are advised to get in early as the most popular beers often sell out by the Saturday evening.

A full beer and cider list, prices, opening hours and the entertainment programme are available at www.belfastbeerfestival.co.uk

EBCU logoBeoir has become the newest member of the European Beer Consumers Union, Europe's umbrella group for organisations which promote beer culture and drinkers' rights. The unanimous decision was made by the delegates of the EBCU's existing member organisations at their most recent biannual meeting in Copenhagen on November 3rd 2012.

The EBCU was founded in 1990 and currently consists of thirteen national member organisations, representing 170,000 paying members. High-profile EBCU member groups include CAMRA in the UK and Zythos in Belgium. The umbrella group provides a platform for campaigning at the European level and its activities include an annual reception for MEPs and production of a manifesto on drinkers' rights in the lead up to the European elections. The 2009-2014 manifesto may be found here; an updated version for the 2014 elections is currently in production.

As a full EBCU member, Beoir now has access to a broad range of campaigning experience from across the continent. We are now able to participate in a shared approach to the problems which face the beer drinker today, not least of which is the ongoing neo-prohibitionist denormalisation of alcohol. And on a symbolic level it is right and fitting that Ireland -- one of Europe's highest per capita consumers of beer -- now takes its place among the organised and united beer drinkers in the rest of Europe.

The EBCU's press release on Beoir's accession is available here.