The Franciscan Well Brewpub's annual winter beer festival, Cask Ales & Strange Brews, always features a most interesting selection of one-offs and special editions from Irish breweries. As is traditional at this stage, Beoir was invited to assemble a team of judges to put the beers through their paces and pick category winners and the best in show.

A total of 30 beers were divided into four categories and assessed by a team of eight experienced judges, under the supervision of Reuben Gray, ably assisted by Derek Sheridan. The winners were as follows:

Category Winners

Stout & Porter

  1. Rascals Absolutely Baltic Porter
  2. 9 White Deer Irish Whiskey Stout
  3. Ballykilcavan Cherry Chocolate Stout

Pale Ale & Lager

  1. White Hag Unfinished Business Tropical Lager
  2. White Hag Little Fawn Session IPA
  3. Franciscan Well Dark Lager

Dark/Strong Ales

  1. Franciscan Well Dark Chieftain IPA
  2. Barrelhead Strong Ale
  3. Franciscan Well Rebel Red Dry Hopped


  1. Bullhouse Margarita Gose
  2. Dick Mac's Honey & Hemp Ale
  3. Black Donkey Bog Fire Turf-Smoked Rye Saison

Overall Competition Winners

  1. Rascals Absolutely Baltic Porter
  2. Bullhouse Margarita Gose
  3. Franciscan Well Dark Chieftain IPA

Well done to all the winners, and a special congratulations to Rascals for taking a too-rare classic style and making something great from it.

Thanks from Beoir to our judges and to Franciscan Well for organising the event.