05 July 2011
I just returned from a trip to southwestern Ireland to continue my quest to explore their pub & brewing culture…and I’m happy to report it is alive and well. While visiting the Dingle Peninsula, I was lucky enough to get a peek inside the soon to be opening Dingle Brewing Company.
I have to extend a huge “Thank You” to brewmaster Xavier Baker for opening the doors and giving me a great guided tour of the facilities and brewing equipment. Xav went out of his way to extend some wonderful Irish Hospitality and agreed to spend the morning with us over a month in advance of even their soft opening.
Dingle Brewing Co is located walking distance from downtown Dingle on Spa Rd just at the base of Conor Pass. The buildings where Dingle Brewing Co will reside are the former Dingle Creamery (opened in 1888), so they are rife with tradition and carry a long history as a town social and commercial gathering place. Xav tells me they plan to continue this tradition with not only a sampling room (complete with an original fireplace), but also a very exciting outdoor garden.
We toured the facility and I can say it’s a very exciting place. From the original boiler (still in place and functioning), to the piles of historical ledgers, books and financial records from the Dingle Creamery…this facility is meant to be a gathering place and will be perfect for a brewery.
Dingle Brewing Co will be using a gorgeous 6bbl brewing system to initially produce their signature Tom Crean’s Premium Irish Lager. This beer is brewed in honor of local (Kerry Co) seaman and hero Thomas Crean, known for his heroic efforts in Ernest Shackelton’s expedition to the South Pole. Tom Crean’s Lager will be an easy drinking sessionable ~4.3%ABV lager using all Saaz hops and Xav tells me that once they get Tom Crean’s Lager into regular production, he’ll be working toward some other beers as well.
As if all of this isn’t exciting enough, the Dingle Brewing Co also has a room dedicated to distilling their beer into Whiskey. This Whiskey distillation will require 3-years of aging to meet the requirements to be called “Whiskey"”, so to fill that gap, the guys are planning to produce Irish Poteen at the brewery as well. Poteen is a traditional potato-based Irish moonshine that typically tops the 180-proof mark and was outlawed in 1760 (until recently). Dingle Brewing Co will be producing a legal version of this traditional home brew so stay tuned for details on that as well.
Xavier said the brewery has plans to open their doors in late July, and based on what I saw they are well on track. Look for Dingle Brewing Co to also sell beer swag and some really exciting glassware (with etched bases) to enjoy your Tom Crean’s Lager in. You can find Dingle Brewing Co on Facebook, Twitter or on their website to follow along for yourself, and stay tuned here as well for updates directly from Xav as I follow their progress. Cheers to Dingle Brewing Co and thank you again to Xavier Baker for taking the time to give us the tour.