July 29th 2017, Ballymote in county Sligo 'the whest' was the setting for possibly the greatest Irish Craft Beer festival in the country, #Hagstravagansa!
The Ireland Craft Beer team took off down to Sligo for what was to be one of the finest displays of craft beers in the country. Living up to all the hype, we parked up at the infamous 'Student Village Halls' in the center of town and went direct to The White Hag Brewery in anticipation of what was to be.
Arriving slightly behind schedule, we were met with swarms of excited beer enthusiasts, alongside plenty of the familiar faces amongst the Irish craft beer scene.
At the entrance, we were greeted by the friendly staff from The White Hag Brewery team who loaded us up on a quick swipe of our tickets - in exchange for the event beer listings of 60 draft pours, alongside a personalised White Hag glass and beer chips to begin our quest.
With 60 Beers on offer that had never poured in Ireland, we had an abundance of tastes to explore and get through over the next 8 hours, starting with the lightest on offer, we went with Eight Degrees Raspberry Gose, Honest Brew & Northern Monk Citra IPA with Vermont Yeast, followed up with Lervig Tasty Juice.
Soon after was followed by an array from Basqueland , White Frontier, Brasserie De La Senne, moving onto some Irish selections from Rascals Brewery, Black Donkey and White Hags new range of pours.
Even with all these beers being produced by man and not machine, it would have taken a machine to go through all 60 in one sitting!! Inevitable Pitt stops were made to check out the great range of food on offer around the breweries circumference. From fresh Irish Oysters to Indian, we were spoilt for choice. After a few games of corn hole with the locals we were ready to get back to the board and satisfy our curious taste buds with more 'unfamiliar' pours.
Throughout the afternoon and evening we had the pleasure of being entertained by a number of amazing bands and musicians to help accompany the foot-tapping while discussing the food and beer pairings. Though with the clock ticking down before the Train to Town was due to arrive, we quickly finished up our last tokens with some amazing imperial stouts, starting with Lervig 3 beans and finishing off with the star of the show, White Hags Black Boar Bourbon Barrel-Aged to finish up the day's tastings.
10.30pm struck, and the personal White Hag Train that had been promised, soon arrived to take the crowd of 1,000 (now a little tipsy) Beer Festival goers into town to continue the nights entertainment on a craft beer crawl. With everyone on board the Beer Express Train, we could now get the sing songs and banter hitting its peak while we slowly made our way back to where the day all began.
First bar on the agenda was The Swagman, famous for its selection of great pours and tunes, the doors packed in as many as they would allow before people continued their beer exploring and jiving skills in the center of town. With the night nestling to a close at 3am it was a very slow crawl back to the Halls for the team after what was a jam-packed day of meeting great people and beer lovers alike! It really was an Irish Craft Beer Day to remember and congratulations to The White Hag Brewery team for smashing it out of the water.
Looking forward to next years!