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'Tis the season!

Dungarvan Coffee and Oatmeal Stout With the festive season upon us, several Irish microbreweries have released winter beers for the dark evenings.

For the second year in a row, Eight Degrees has a dark spiced beer called A Winter's Ale. This is 7.5% ABV and available bottled and on draught. The spices are a special blend provided by the Green Saffron spicery.

Also in its second year is Dungarvan Brewing Company's Coffee and Oatmeal Stout, this year showing off the brewery's new label design. Flahavan's has provided the oatmeal, and the coffee comes courtesy of Badger & Dodo roastery. It's 4.7% ABV and available in bottle and cask.

From Franciscan Well comes a very special Stout Aged in Jameson Whiskey Barrels. This is 7.8% ABV and available only in 1 litre bottles, though is expected to make an appearance on cask at the Franciscan Well Cask and Winter Ales Festival (15-17 February). The edition is limited to just 900 numbered bottles.

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without White Gypsy's Yule Ól making an appearance. This dark red ale is unspiced but shows lots of warming depth. 6% ABV and available bottled.

Exclusively on draught there's Carlow Brewing Company's Winter Star. In place of the more typical Christmas spices, this 5% ABV ruby ale has coconut and orange peel added for a completely unique flavour profile.

Finally, Whitewater Brewery has launched its Christmas seasonal Sanity Claus in bottles this year, for the first time. This is 4.5% ABV and brewed with a small addition of cinnamon and nutmeg to add a little festive spirit.

All are available wherever good beer is sold in Ireland. Be warned, however, that stocks are strictly limited and supplies of some may be running short already.

Pre-budget submission

Budget 2013 Ahead of Budget 2013, Beoir has made a submission to the Department of Finance requesting a re-think on the minimum pricing issue.

As an organisation, Beoir stands behind any genuine effort to tackle problem-drinking in Ireland. However, Beoir does not back the current proposal to introduce minimum pricing as it has already been historically proven not to work and it only serves to divert efforts away from tackling the issue in a real and proactive manner.

The full text of the pre-budget submission can be found here.

The Brown Paper Bag Project

Dr RudiThe team behind award-winning Dublin pubs L. Mulligan. Grocer and W.J. Kavanagh's have recently created their own beer brand. Titled The Brown Paper Bag Project, the emphasis will be on innovation and experimentation, covering a wide range of beer styles, methods and ingredients and brewed at a variety of different breweries.

The first in the series was launched at W.J. Kavanagh's on 24th November and is a dark Belgian style ale utilising a single variety of hop called Dr. Rudi, from New Zealand, which also gives the beer its name. Brewed at the Eight Degrees brewery in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, Dr. Rudi is 7.4% ABV and available on draught in Mulligan's and Kavanagh's, as well as in 33cl bottles.

The Brown Paper Bag Project website is currently under construction here, and the Project is also on Twitter.

Belfast Beer and Cider Festival 2012

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

Beoir joins the European Beer Consumers Union

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.

 

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