First beers in Ireland!!

Okay, so long story sort of short…

Firstly, I wasn’t feeling great last night (Sunday) which isn`t surprising given the lack of sleep and the heat on the bus. A few people got a pint before dinner but I needed rest. Then we had lunch at the Kylemore Abbey and the only beer option was Amstel Blue if I recall correctly. There was some beer on the bus, but cans of Budweiser and Heineken.

Surely, when we got to Galway and found a pub, I would finally find some good Irish beer. Ideally good Irish beer OTHER than Guinness and Murphys.

First pub? Nope. The only Irish Beer I hadn`t heard of was Bearmish Irish Stout, and they were out. But the bartender mentioned a pub up the road that brewed there own. So we wandered up and found a sign for their beer, brewed by Galway Hooker (a large brewery, not in Galway). Hey, at least it was unique so I`ll give it a shot. It`s a vanilla porter, I like that. Or I probably would like that if they had any left. Boo, Beer strike two.

Finally Mom and I decide to walk to what was our original plan all along…Oslo. Yes, a bar named Oslo in Galway. But the bar is attached to Galway Bay Brewing. Apparently we missed the speech an employee gave to a group of tourists but he ended up sitting with us and having about a 45 conversation about the craft beer scene in Ireland and America. I got a few tips for breweries to look for in Dublin and where to buy bottles to bring home. 

I started with the Galway Bay Irish Red Ale, it was really tasty, smooth, and balanced. Then I was going to try their stout but the brewery employee chatting with us actually recommended the oatmeal stout from Trouble Brewing. It was a good suggestion. So good that I finished my half pint before I even realized it. Malty, smooth, with just a hint of bitterness on the finish. 

It took almost 36 hours on the ground in Ireland for me to get my first beers, but it was worth the wait to get something good and local. Now, it`s time for another night of sleep so I am ready for another full day. 

It never hurts to ask!

So there are a lot of beers I'm anxious to try while I'm abroad, but as I've looked through various brewery websites, The Kernel was the first one on which I noticed a sour.
I'm pretty new to sours, and some are still WAY too much for me. But I'm increasingly fascinated by the style. So much so that I was REALLY excited to attend the local sour beer event “Where the Wild Beers Are.” Sadly, it got scheduled while I'm out of town. Like all the other beer fests. Seriously – I'm gone for three Saturdays and there is a beer event ALL THREE SATURDAYS! Surly Fest, Autumn Brew Review, and WTWBA. Boo. I shall be forced to drown my sorrows across the pond.
Anyway, back to The Kernel. I got all excited about their London Sour, clicked to check their hours, and the brewery is open 9a-3p on Saturdays. Only problem? I'm flying from Dublin to London, landing at Heathrow at 2:30. DAMN YOU SATURDAYS!
Obviously, I'm not going to make it in time. But I figure what the hell, I'll email the brewery and see if the beer is available anywhere else. I'm determined to get my hands on this stuff. If nothing else, I'd love a bottle of it to bring home and be my “admission beer” to next year's WTWBA. Unless of course it's scheduled on a day I'm having surgery or something, which seems likely.
Not only did they point me in the direction of some other sours to try in London, and bars with good selections, they actually offered to let me swing by the brewery on a weekday. YAY! Obviously it will be during working hours so I can't expect them to entertain me, but I'm still grateful for the chance to pick up a bottle or two. They also offered to open a couple of their bottles if I bring some from my neck of the woods. So yes, that will be happening!
This is just more evidence of the awesomeness of beer people!!

Oh yeah, what do I like?

Every brewery has beer. Not every brewery has beer *I* like. That’s not to say it’s bad beer, just not to my tastes.
I’m not a big fan of hoppy or bitter beers. I like balance, I love malty. I drink a lot of stouts and porters. Recently, I’ve become fascinated by sours.
What are the can’t miss beers I should be seeking out?