Editors' note: Prof. Claus-Christian Carbon is an academic at the University of Bamberg, Germany, with an interest in the social aspects of beer. He is also an executive member of the European Beer Consumers Union. This article is on the important but often missed distinction between health and wellbeing in how beer is discussed.

I am a psychologist by training, working in the field of sensation and perception as a Full Professor at the University of Bamberg in Bavaria, Germany. Sensation and perception are mostly investigated in the visual domain, but I sometimes include the senses of taste and smell, so beer is a perfect research arena to get insights into the whole experience of sensation and perception. Beer is typically consumed in groups, with good friends, family members, dear colleagues, or, your beloved partner. This type of gathering together is essential for social cohesion, good conversation and not to forget, wellbeing. Wellbeing is much more than just health, although health issues should never be ignored when talking about wellbeing. To start a productive discussion and campaign for wellbeing, we need to know the facts about health issues. This is why I also openly present the downsides of beer consumption, in order to honestly discuss and experience the positive sides of wellbeing.

This weekend saw the first Killarney Beer Festival take place at the magnificent INEC. Beoir was heavily involved in getting it set up and primarily in running the Killarney Beer Awards as well as educational talks and tasting sessions.

For the awards, we invited 6 international judges from around the world to complement our own experienced judges. Five of these judges were EBCU delegates and are official judges in other EBCU endorsed competitions.

Each category had a senior judge assigned who had the deciding vote where a deadlock occurred.

Those senior judges were:

André Brunnsberg - Finland - EBCU
Theo Flissebaalje - Netherlands - EBCU
Carl Kins - Belgium - EBCU
Jos Brouwer - Netherlands - EBCU
Des De Moor - UK - CAMRA, Beer Writer & Judge
Tom Coughlin - USA - BJCP judge for 10 years
Our Beoir judges were:
Andrew Moore
Steve Lamond
Sara Breitenfeldt
Kevin Walsh
Giacomo Rizzo
Reuben Gray
Thomas Carroll
Brendan Murphy
The most important people on the day were the stewards of course. Kellie Dawson was the lead steward and ensured the judging went smoothly and that we were unaware of what beer we were judging so we could remain impartial. Stewarding on the day was Meg Coughlin and Hilary Gray as well as a member of the INEC staff to act as a runner for beer coming in pitchers from draught.
Each beer that achieved a certain score was awarded a certificate of gold, silver or bronze and that list is being compiled at the moment. Expect more details to follow. For now, here are the best of category winners and the overall best in show.
The Beoir: Champion Beer of Ireland went to James Brown Brews for their Chocolate Orange Stout. This was brewed at the Brú Brewery in Trim.
First Runner Up: Kinnegar - Black Bucket
Second Runner Up: O Brother - The Chancer
The best in show was made up of the top 3 out of all the 1st places each category. These were decided by our international judges in order to maintain complete impartiality as these judges were tasting the beers for the first time that day and couldn't be influenced in their decision making by any recognition of what they were tasting.
Pale Ale -
1st - O Brother Brewing - The Chancer
2nd - Kinnegar Brewing - Scraggy Bay
3rd - Killarney Brewing - Scarlett Pimpernel IPA
Dark Ales -
1st - Torc Brewing - Torc Amber Ale
2nd - St Mels - Brown Ale
3rd - O Brother Brewing - The Fixer
Lager -
1st - Trouble Brewing - Remix
2nd - Carrig Brewing - Pilsner Lager
3rd - Jack Codys - Puck Pilsner
Stouts and Porters -
1st - James Brown Brews - Chocolate Orange Stout
2nd - Jack Cody - Hail Glorious St Patrick Stout
3rd - Kinnegar Brewing - YannaRoddy Stout
Speciality -
1st - Kinnegar Brewing - Blackbucket
2nd - 9 White Deer - Black Lightning IPA
3rd - Black Donkey - Buck It
Belgian -
1st - Hillstown Brewery - Spitting Llama
2nd - Black Donkey - Sheep Stealer
3rd - Kinnegar Brewing - Swingletree Belgian
Wheat -
1st - Elbow Lane - Arrow Weisse
2nd - Hillstown Brewery - Goats Butt
3rd - Franciscan Well - Friar Weiss
Here is the full list of placements. Thanks to all of the breweries that entered beer and congratulations to the winners. I think this represents the most impartial and independently run beer competition in Ireland and I expect there will be even more entries next year.

The third Beoir: Champion Beer of Ireland Competition took place at the Killarney Beer Festival on Saturday May 27th. The judging of 142 beers started at 10am with most of the rounds finished by 5pm. Then the international judges got together with all of the eight best of category winners to decide the top three. Those international judges were: Melissa Cole, Des de Moor and Tim Webb from the UK along with André Brunnsberg from Finland, Jan Lochota from Poland and Carl Kins from Belgium.

Here are the full results.


Beoir Champion Beers of 2017

1. 200 Fathoms - Galway Bay

2. Róc Modern Pills - White Hag

3. Black Boar bourbon barrel aged - White Hag

Honourable Mention: The Púca - hibiscus and ginger sour




1. Goats Butt - Hillstown

2. Friar Weisse - Franciscan Well

3. Arrow Weisse - Elbow Lane


1. Two Hundred Fathoms - Galway Bay

2. Hook Baltic - Arthurstown

3. Porterhouse Oyster Stout - Porterhouse

Honourable Mention: Joe - Coffee Porter - O Brother


1. Hook Amber - Arthurstown

2. The Fixer - O Brother

3. Achill Dillsc Red - Achill Brewing


1. Smart Ass Saison - Boghopper

2. Swingletree Saison - Kinnegar

3. Boyne Brewhouse Saison & Spailpín Saison - Killarney Brewing


1. The Púca Hibiscus and Ginger - White Hag

2. Wayfarer Sour IPA - 8 Degrees

3. Castaway Passionfruit Sour - Yellow Belly


1. Róc Modern Pils - White Hag

2. Achill Lagered Ale - Achill Brewing

3. Vienna Lager - Boyne Brewhouse

Honourable Mention: Elbow Lane



1. Black Boar - Bourbon Barrel - White Hag

2. NEIPA - Wild Bat

3. Coconut Porter - Independent

Pale Ale

1. Little Fawn - White Hag

2. The Chancer - O Brother

3. Citra Pale Ale - YellowBelly

Honourable Mention: Althea - Galway Bay

Honourable Mention: Boyne Brewhouse IPA - Boyne Brewhouse


The results are also posted on the competition page at the moment.


Beoir performed the judging at the 2018 Cask and Strange Brew Festival in Cork which takes place at the Franciscan Well each year. The judging was performed on Saturday, January 27th between 1pm and 5:30pm and 30 beers were judged in total on the day. I should say that not every beer at the festival could be judged, only those that were available to judges on Saturday during the judging period. Most beers that were running out on Thursday and Friday were bottled for judging but some were missed. Likewise, a few beers were not tapped until after judging was complete but overall, these winners represent the best beers available on the day.

We also had some audience interaction this year. I performed a talk on how to judge beer to seven audience members. Six of these stuck around to help judge the Strange Brews category. The strange brews category included everything in the specialty category and also any kegged beer that was on. They judged the available beers at that time which totaled five out of the eight beers entered in that category. I'm happy to report that our fledgling judges managed to pick the same top three beers as our experienced judges up until this point.

So now to the results. The overall top three beers were announced on Twitter that evening.

Category Winners 2018

  • Stout / Porter - Brehon – Shanco Dubh Porter & YellowBelly Dark Abbey
  • Pale Ale / Lager - White Hag – Bran & Sceolan IPA & Yellowbelly - Citra Pale
  • Dark Ales - Barrelhead – Amber
  • Specialty - West Kerry – Barrel Aged Winter Ale
  • Strange Brews - West Kerry – Barrel Aged Winter Ale & 9 White Deer - Mexican Imperial Stout

The act of including the kegged beers in the competition led to an interesting result. Only two kegged beers were entered and because there were a number of joint places, 8 beers ended up in the final instead of 5, one of which was kegged.

  1. 9 White Deer - Mexican Imperial Stout (keg)
  2. White Hag – Bran & Sceolan IPA
  3. Yellowbelly - Citra Pale

It's worth saying that even though the winning beer was actually served from a keg instead of a cask, I think the judges agree that it probably would have won if it were served on cask anyway. In fact, it would likely be even better on cask.

The beer is simply stunning and 9 White Deer deserve all the credit for brewing it. It's officially called Imperial Stag and it's a whopping 13.5% beer that was brewed as a 75 litre pilot batch. I think it's safe to say that this will now be scaled up to a full size batch. You can read more about the beer here.




Saturday 22nd April saw the judging take place for the first ever Champion Cider of Ireland. A team of five expert judges from across the UK and Ireland deliberated on almost 40 ciders from 20 producers entered into five categories to assess which ciders deserved recognition. Ten ciders made it through to the final round but only one could be crowned Champion Cider of Ireland: for 2017 that cider is Tempted Dry Cider!



Davy Uprichard, a first generation cider-maker with 8 years experience based in Lisburn is rightly pleased with his cider’s success: “I knew my cider was good - it’s won plenty of awards before but to receive this award on my home turf and beating a lot of other cider-makers who I respect makes it more meaningful.”


As well as winning the competition Davy took home three other awards with the dry cider coming best in category, Tempted Elderflower awarded best fruited cider and Tempted Sweet took second place in the non-dry category.


Runner up and best non-dry cider was awarded to the Cider Mill’s Cockagee keeved cider. Mark Jenkinson said of his awards “What a great weekend, chuffed with 3 wins in inaugural Irish Cider Championship. A big, big thank you to Beoir and all the organisers and judges for holding such a professional and proper cider competition.” Mark’s Cockagee Perry was also awarded best perry.


Third place overall went to newcomers Johnny Falldown. Founder Barry Walsh said “We're very happy with result ourselves, as there was clearly a lot of quality on board”


The competition was organised by Steve Lamond, Cider Liaison Officer for Beoir, the Irish Beer Consumers Association. “I wanted to showcase the breadth and depth of ciders available on the island of Ireland and give the recognition to those producers that is well overdue. I’m really with happy with how the day turned out, a big thank you to all of the entrants and judges who helped to make it a success - we’ll certainly run it again!”


Susanna Forbes, one of two lead judges alongside Pete Brown said of the day “It was a pleasure and a privilege to judge the first Champion Cider of Ireland competition. Quality overall was commendable, with a few exceptions. Beoir are to be congratulated on this positive initiative to welcome entries north and south of the border. As it becomes further established, I’d welcome seeing further cider makers in the competition in future years.”


Beoir Champion Irish Cider 2017


Full results:

Champion Cider of Ireland

1st Tempted Dry Cider

2nd The Cider Mill Cockagee Cider

3rd Johnny Falldown Cider


Honourable mentions:

Tempted Elderflower

Llewellyn's Dry Cider Frizzante 2014


Dry ciders

1. Tempted Dry

2. Llewellyn's Frizzante 2014

3. MacIvors Dry


Non-Dry Ciders

1. The Cider Mill Cockagee

2. Tempted Sweet

Highly Commended

Johnny Falldown

MacIvors Medium



1. The Cider Mill Cockagee Perry

2. Llewellyn's Frizzante Perry 2014


Fruited Ciders

1. Tempted Elderflower

2. MacIvors Plum and Ginger


Speciality Ciders

No overall winner chosen but all 4 entries highly commended for efforts.

Longueville Mor

Dan Kelly's Whisky Cask

The Cider Mill Ice Cider

Johnny Falldown Pommeau



The event was kindly hosted by the Wine Rack, Stewartstown, which hopes to stock all of the winning ciders.


Entrants can log on to the registration system here if they wish.



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