It’s Ireland’s turn. Guidebooks for beer and cider lovers exist for many countries with great brewing traditions, and Ireland needed a good one. This is it, the first book to discuss in detail all the breweries and cideries in Ireland—both in the North and the Republic. Iorwerth Griffiths, originally from Wales but now based in Belfast, has spent years traveling Ireland meeting brewers and cider makers. In his new book, he profiles breweries and cideries ranging from the major international players to the numerous microbreweries and small cideries that have mushroomed in Ireland in recent years. He covers the history of each of these, and describes their main beers and ciders—all with wonderful photographs and one simple map.
Griffiths writes in his introduction: “Ireland has a well-known love for beer, its pubs are famous throughout the world. And Irish cider is on the up again, with its image revolutionized.” Irish beer and cider making fell on hard times in the 20th century, as happened in many other countries, only to rise in the 1990s and the early years of this new century. Ireland may be a bit late with this revolution, bit it’s finally on board.
“Beer is a true Irish drink with an ancient heritage,” begins Griffiths’ short history of brewing in Ireland, followed by a chapter on how beer is made. He then describes the main beers styles brewed in Ireland, which he identifies as stout, porter, Irish red ale, lager and pilsner. Bitter, pale ale and wheat beer are “increasingly making their presence felt in Ireland of late.”
After the many pages profiling the breweries and their beers, there is a short history of cider making in Ireland, of which little has been written, plus a description of the cider making process. The cider profiles follow.
Of course, there’s the requisite glossary, along with chapters covering the appreciation of beer and cider, the best beer pubs and bars in Ireland, a beer festival calendar and finally a listing of what Griffiths believes are the best imported beers in Ireland (with a list of the major Irish beer importers).
A lightweight pocket-sized book, Beer and Cider in Ireland is one to toss in the bag for a tour. Irish beer and cider are diverse and deserve such a guide.