O’Briens Wine Beer & Spirits
33 Spruce Avenue Stillorgan Industrial Park Co. Dublin Ireland Ireland
+353 1 2931040 online@obrienswine.ie Monday-Saturday 10:30am-10pm Sunday 12:30am-10pm

Beer News

  • Ballast Point in Ireland

    Coming soon!!!

    Great news, a new line up of beers from San Diego’s finest, Ballast Point Brewing, will be arriving in stores from next week.

    San Diego has its fair share of breweries, but from the start of the microbrewery revolution in America, Ballast Point has been a cut above. They have built a reputation for innovation in brewing and producing some of the most exciting beers America has to offer. Name a beer style and Ballast Point have nailed it.

    This multiple award-winning brewery was founded in 1996 by a small group of home brewers lead by Jack White. It began as a small brewery in the back of Home Brew Mart, a home brew supply store that White had run for the previous few years. The brewery has grown and expanded to a larger production facility and several tasting rooms and restaurants. From its humble beginnings Ballast Point has grown to employ over 400 people. Meanwhile Home Brew Mart is still in operation today serving the home brewing community of San Diego.

    Many of the beers are named after fishing or nautical terms

    The core range in cans will be

    Sculpin IPA, the flagship beer from Ballast Point, displays a whole lot of apricot, peach, mango and lemon flavours and aromas. Constantly rated as one of the best IPAs in the world, this is not one to miss.

    Grapefruit Sculpin brings all that the original Sculpin has to offer with more citrus zing from added grapefruit.

    Mango Even Keel, is a fresh and citrusy session IPA. This easy drinker, with added mango, is going straight in to our 4 for €10 mix

    Fathom IPA, the newest release of the pack, is straight up West Coast IPA in style with plenty of zesty orange and piney hop notes.

    There is also a small amount of the excellent, limited release, Victory at Sea stout and the whisky barrel aged version High West Victory at Sea. Both of which you will find sitting high up on RateBeers World Top 50 best imperial stouts list. If you are a stout fan, then don’t miss out on these!

    Pick this up in our 4 for €10 mix 'n' match from next week

    Please note prices are correct at time of publishing, please check our website or stores for the most up to date pricing.


  • Russian Imperial

    I don’t usually limit this blog to just one beer, there’s just too much to choose from, but this one caught my attention and well there is a lot to talk about.

    The beer? Black Chocolate Stout, a seasonal release from Brooklyn Brewery. This ‘Russian Imperial Stout’ has made its way across the water once again, and it’s one I look forward to each year.

    First a little history lesson… In the early 18th century, Anchor Brewery in London began exporting their stout to Russia. The first shipment seemingly didn’t survive the voyage, the second attempt, with higher alcohol and bitterness quickly gained popularity. Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, was reportedly one such fan of the style. Hence the name adopted by the Anchor brewery, Russian Imperial Stout. The name stuck for this rich, dark and boozy take on stout.

    Brooklyn are laying down a marker for this Black Chocolate Stout by calling it a Russian Imperial, a stout that leans heavily on the hops and alcohol content, but you have to have plenty of malt to back it up.

    I think they’ve nailed. The aroma is upfront rich dark chocolate with hints of coffee and dark dried fruit. The body is velvety smooth, its drinkability aided by low, soft carbonation while the high alcohol content is noticeable more in the viscosity than flavour.  That flavour delivers roasted malt, molasses and dark chocolate notes with hints of black coffee and vanilla while those bitter hop notes finish it off.

    This beer’s robust nature and high alcohol content makes it a great contender for aging. Check out my blog from a while back on developing your beer cellar. Of course, it tastes great now. Go all out and try it with some rich chocolate dessert!


  • This Seasons Must Have Beers

    Ah it’s that time of year, the time when you’ll hear people say ‘grand stretch’ with a lightness in their voice, before a quick cold snap freezes their breath in the air. However, spring is certainly in the air and after hibernating through dry-January brewers have emerged with new beers for February.

    Last week we had a new entry from across the water with Five Points Brewing along with the return of a few favourites from Beavertown but we had a lot of new brews from Irish brewers drop in the last week as well. Here’s a round up of just a few that crossed my desk. This seasons must haves if you will.

    From one of Irelands newest breweries, Dead Centre, comes a fresh release </soursecode> a very sessionable pale ale at just 4% abv but coming packed up with fruity citrus hops. Landing in stores soon. As fresh as can be!

    New Core Release for Wicklow Wolf

    Wicklow Wolf also have a new release, a reinvention of their Sorachi Red ale, a very popular seasonal from way back in 2016. This is now joining their core range.  The new tweaked recipe matches the smooth caramel and roasted barley of an Irish red ale with Sorachi Ace, a unique hop variety with distinct lemon and spicy herbal character, think lemon grass and dill.

    YellowBelly, dropped not one but two new beers this week. Electric Dreams a juicy pale ale hopped up on Simcoe and Amarillo for plenty of soft tropical fruit and a light piney bite. The second beer, Kellerbier, is a full bodied, smooth and naturally cloudy lager with light sweetness to the finish. This one is, as YellowBelly put it in their own inimitable style, “best enjoyed in [their] new monster 500ml cans.”

    It should also be noted there is a notable day drawing near, if the love of your life is also a craft beer lover, then you couldn’t go wrong with our special Valentines Kinnegar mixed pack. On offer at just €20.00. Pick it up while stocks last!

    It's the 14th of February in case you forgot!

    Please note prices are correct at time of publishing, this offer will end on 18th February, please check our website or stores for the most up to date pricing.


  • Five Points Brewing

    As I write a fresh batch of Five Points beers are making their way from East London to Dublin, soon to be distributed across the country.

    A Victorian railway arch beneath Hackney Downs Station, is where you will find Five Points busily brewing away. Since 2013 they have been making unfiltered and unpasteurized beers with a focus on consistency and quality. Each year they have been racing to keep up with demand. So much so that they have out grown the confines of the railway arch, recently spreading to next door Arch 440, which now houses their new barrel aging project. We can expect to see the benefits of this program with barrel age releases later this year.

    Five Points founders: Ed Mason, Managing Director (left) and Greg Hobbs, Head Brewer, (right)

    But what of those beer bound for Ireland? Well there are some very fresh beers on the way, with all the beers brewed within the last three weeks. Some, such as the fruity and hoppy XPA, canned just the day before collection. It doesn’t get much better than that!

    We are delighted to be stocking the Five Points range in stores with the core range beginning to roll out to a number of stores this weekend with more to follow next week.

    XPA is a juicy and tropical Pale ale dry hopped with Citra and Galaxy, all packed in at just 4% abv makes this superbly sessionable.

    Five Points Pale displays plenty of citrus hops, think orange and grapefruit, with a bitter bite to the finish.

    Five Points IPA is all upfront New Wold hops with juicy tropical citrus and stone fruit with a pine resin edge.

    Hook Island Red heads to the malt side of things for a great take on modern red ale. Toffee malt cut through with light fruity hops and a touch of rye spice.

    Brisk Field Brown is for those who want it darker still. A full, rich brown ale with classic caramel, nutty and earthy tones.

    Pick these up in stores soon

  • Non-Alcohol Beers?

    The popularity of non-alcohol beer (NA for short) is growing but what’s it all about and are they any good?

    NA beer first started appearing in America at the time of Prohibition, at the time anything greater than 0.5% alcohol was outlawed for consumption. This percentage has stuck and today, by common definition, to label beers as non-alcoholic they must not exceed 0.5%

    NA beer is made in the same way as ‘regular’ beer, from mashing in, to adding hops and on to fermentation to produce alcohol. Usually the beer would then be bottle or kegged, however NA beer gets another process to remove the alcohol content.

    The most common method is by heating the beer as alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature than water, approx. 78°C. This process does affect the flavour of the beer, however, as you are effectively “cooking out the flavour”. To mitigate this some brewers heat the beer in a vacuum, this brings the boiling point down, resulting in less flavours and aromas being lost to evaporation.

    Another process that is less destructive to flavour is reverse osmosis. Here the beer is passed through a filter, separating the alcohol and water from the flavour compounds and sugars. The alcohol/water mix is then distilled separately, removing the alcohol before the water is mixed back in with the sugar and flavour compounds. However, this does require more specialised equipment and is more labour intensive.

    But would you miss the alcohol? Alcohol does contribute to the mouthfeel of a beer, giving it a greater feeling of weight in your mouth but the major flavour difference is not the alcohol itself but rather the process of de-alcoholising that strips out some of the flavours in the beer. However, with greater demand and technological improvements the quality and flavour of non-alcoholic is certainly improving. There’s now a range of non-alcoholic craft and world beers to try.

    The increasingly popular Nanny State

    Germany has been leading the way in NA beers for a number of years, Weihenstephaner produce a very good Hefeweiss, wheat beer, with classic flavours of banana, lemon and clove spice. A little lighter in body than their original alcoholic version but still delivering plenty of flavour. Or from neighbouring Austria try Stiegl Freibier for crisper style with light citrusy hop notes.

    Producing a hoppy NA beer has always been a challenge as the more delicate hop flavour and aromas succumb to the dealcoholizing process. Brewdog do a good job with their Nanny State, an American pale ale delivering hoppy citrus and pine notes

    These beers are included in craft beer sale with 6 for the price of 5 across the range continuing through January…

    Dry Hopped Soft Drink

    For a slightly different take try the limited release Designated Diver. This is an unfermented, 0% alcohol soft drink made in collaboration between YellowBelly and Black Castle Drinks. They have created a lemon and pear soda dry hopped with Citra and Huell Melon hops. Dry hopping is when hops are added to almost finished beer to increase flavour and aroma and is used to great effect here balancing fruity hop notes with refreshing lemon tartness.


  • Warming Winter Drinks

    Hopefully the storms have passed and the worst of the winter weather is behind us. But as the nights draw in and the temperature drops here are a few warming drinks to get you into the winter mood. A mood for cosying up by a roaring fire with a drink to warm the heart as well as the body. So, put the feet up, relax and unwind. Its much nicer in doors.

    We are big fans of hot toddies here in O’Briens but why not try out some mulled cider? Gently warm the cider and add a slice of orange studded with cloves a cinnamon stick for a little spice and you have one of the most aromatic and invigorating alcoholic drinks. Longueville Medium-Dry from Longueville house in county Cork is a great choice for this and you can pick it up on offer at 3 bottles for €10.

    For those looking for a gentler winter warmer could do a lot worse than try some warm Sake. Sake is a Japanese rice wine made from polished rice fermented at low temperatures in a process similar to brewing. Heating sake mutes the bitterness and brings out the bolder and drier flavours for a smoother, rounder flavour and a rich aroma. Don’t heat up too much or you will lose the flavours. Serve it warm rather than hot at about 40 degrees. Choya Sake is a great easy drinker and a good introduction to the world of sake.

    For a luxuriant winter warmer one has to turn to chocolate. You may have had a hot chocolate with a drop of brandy or rum but if you really want to get the fires burning try it with a dash of Tequila instead. Olmeca Tequila Reposado (on offer this month was €33.50 now €28.95) would be perfect for this. You may be surprised at how well the slightly sweet but smokey black pepper note works with chocolate. If you are feeling extra adventurous, try it with a pinch of cayenne pepper!

    I hope you enjoy these winter warmer drinks. They are also the perfect drinks to enjoy while having the annual debate about ‘when does winter actually begin?’

    Please note prices are correct at time of publishing, these offers will end on Tuesday 31st October, please check our website or stores for the most up to date pricing.

  • Autumn Ambers

    Autumn leaves are turning to amber and red, which of course got me thinking about red ale. But what is a red ale? It’s all down to the used of kilned malts such as the aptly named Caramel malt, which lends the beer its red colour, however the colour is, and ought to be, secondary to the primary purpose of creating a great tasting beer.

    There is a whole range of beers that are encompassed within the ‘red/amber ale’ category ranging from delicate and hoppy to robust and toasty, and almost everything in between. The use of different malt types produce flavours from delicate red fruits to bolder toasty tones. Add to this different hop varieties and fermentation methods and the world of red ales becomes quite large.

    So, here is just a few picks from our range of what you might call ‘red ales’.

    Franciscan Well Rebel Red is perhaps what many would consider a traditional Irish red ale, soft and approachable with some smooth caramel tones and a touch of sweetness. You can try this out in our 4 for €10 offer.

    Also in our 4 for €10 can offer is Rascals Big Hop Red, this takes a different approach creating what is often called an ‘American Amber.’ Think red ale but hopped up with fruity varieties of New World hops. Here Rascals have balanced the sweet caramel malt with a big hit of American hops adding a citrus and pine flavour and aroma.

    Dialling down on the hops but in no way losing the flavour and balance is Dot Brew’s Amber Ale. This is a soft, and balanced session ale where the subtle caramel sweetness is lifted with delicate tropical fruit and the lightest hint of pine.

    Carlingford Brewing again takes the red ale style in a very different direction with their Taaffes Red. Here its all about big toasty malt flavours with caramel on the midpalate and red fruits balanced with earthy hop notes.

    Now for something completely different! We do like our red ales in Ireland but of course we are not alone here. The Flemish region of Belgium has a long tradition of brewing red ales albeit quite different to traditional Irish red. Flanders red ales are sour ales aged in cask before blending with younger ales. Expect complex fruitiness reminiscent of red wine, alongside rich malt and an unmistakable sour tang. Perhaps the most famous is Rodenback Grand Cru, well worth checking out.

    As they say, you can have any colour you want, as long as its red!

    Please note prices are correct at time of publishing, these offers will end on 31st October 2017  please check our website or stores for the most up to date pricing.

  • Salute - New Italian Brews

    This week I’m very happy to introduce a new brewery to Ireland, Birrificio Del Doge, hailing from the Treviso area of Italy. The story of how the brewery came about is a familiar one when a pair of craft beer fans, the Giuman brothers, decided to try their hand at brewing their own. After years of perfecting their recipes these homebrewing enthusiasts decided to take the plunge and in 2013 they took it to the next step and opened their own brewery with the help of professional brewer Federico Casarin. Their philosophy for brewing and beer styles takes a leaf out of the German tradition with attention to detail in the brewing process and a focus on ingredient selection, such as their pride in their local spring water.

    Earlier this year they added a new line of beers with their Doge People range with a focus on easy drinking but flavoursome beers. First up they have two quite different lagers with the smooth, light and biscuity Take Easy Helles lager and the more robust malt driven Keep Up Vienna lager with caramel sweetness and a dry finish. Their Now You IPA is very easy drinking, smooth and fruity with a light resinous finish. While their Belgian style golden ale Go Over is full, soft and rounded with honeyed fruit and a touch of sweetness. You can try out the full range for yourself as they are current on offer for a superb price of 5 for €10.


    Please note prices are correct at time of publishing, these offers will end on 31st October 2017, please check our website or stores for the most up to date pricing.


  • Kölsch, A Beer Like No Other

    Beer is usually grouped into different groups by the type of yeast used. The two primary groups are ale and lager. A third group is a bit of a catch all for beers brewed using other yeast, often described as ‘wild yeast’, responsible for sour beers. But back to ale and lager; ale is made with ‘top fermenting’ yeast at warm temperatures while lagers are made with ‘bottom fermenting’ yeast at cooler temperatures. But of course things are never that simple, enter ‘hybrid beers’. Beers that don’t comfortably sit in either camp. One such outlier is Kölsch.

    Kölsch is a style that takes a little of both, being brewed with top fermenting ale yeast but then conditioned at colder temperature like a lager. The cold conditioning gives the beer a dry and crisp finish that one would expect from a lager while the ale yeast delivers subtle fruity aromas normally associated with ale. The style is all about subtlety and balance with light fruit tones sometimes described as vinous (grapey) in character, light sweet malt and decidedly dry finish. Smooth yet crisp and very easy drinking.

    A traditional serve from a Kobes

    Unusually for a beer style, since 1997 Kölsch has enjoyed protected status under European law, similar to Champagne or more recently Waterford blaas. Only beers brewed in the Cologne area can be label as Kölsch . Outside of this area, and indeed in Ireland, beers of this style are often labelled ‘Kolsch-style’. In Cologne  Kölsch is served in traditional Brauhaus in a 0.2 litre glass, a tall, narrow, cylindrical glass called a stange. Here the servers, called a Kobes, continue to swap out empty glasses with fresh beer unless told otherwise by placing a beer mat over your glass.

    If you would like to try out this style at home, without the Kobes serve, then pick up the traditional Früh Kölsch our German sale at 4 for €10. Or you can pick up some great Irish ‘Kolsch style’ brews like 9 White Deer Stag Saor Kolsch, Wicklow Wolf Arcadia Kolsch and  12 Acres Single Malt Lager.


    Please note prices are correct at time of publishing, these offers will end on 31st October 2017, please check our website or stores for the most up to date pricing.

  • Prost! Raise a glass to German Brewing

    In 1810 the citizens of Munich were invited to festivities to celebrate the royal marriage of Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese. The celebration was held on the fields in front of the gates of the city, named Theresienwiese (Theresa's fields) in honour of the Princess ever since. Horse races held in the presence of the Royal family brought the festivities to a close, with the decision to repeat the horse races in the subsequent year giving rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest. While the horse races are no longer held, the small beer stands that served refreshments in those early days have certainly grown with over six million visitors to the event each year.

    The traditional style of Oktoberfest beer is a Märzen. Before refrigeration it was nearly impossible to brew beer during Germany’s hot summer months as it could easily become infected during brewing. In fact, due to a law created in 1553 it was illegal to brew between 24th of April and 28th of September. To maintain the supply of beer a stronger and hoppier beer was brewed in March (März in German) and stored in cool cellars over the summer months before being brought up in August or September.

    The introduction of pale malt revolutionized brewing

    The Märzen style as it was then would have been quite different from today’s understanding of the style and perhaps closer to a Dunkel or Schwarzbier, a dark lager with a roasted character. It was not until improvements in English malting technology brought lighter kilned malts, thereby ushering in paler beers.

    Having studied malting techniques in England, Gabriel Sedlmayr II, owner of the Spaten brewery, developed lighter Munich malt and from it the modern Märzen style. His pale Märzen was first sold at the Oktoberfest in 1872 and its popularity soon lead other brewers to follow suit. Spaten Oktoberfest still retains ‘Ur-Märzen’, original Märzen, on its label today. Try Spaten Oktoberfest for yourself, currently on offer at 5 for €10.

    Oktoberfest is Germany's largest 'Volksfest', combining beer festival and traveling funfair

    We also have a range of other styles on offer in our German sale, starting 27th of September, with a variety of great beers on offer at 4 for €10 or 3 for €9. So, celebrate your own Oktoberfest by filling your stein with a range of beer styles from dark beer like  classic Helles lagers like Weihenstephaner Helle and wheat beers like Paulaner to modern hoppy IPAs such as And Union Friday.


    Please note prices are correct at time of publishing, these offers will end on 31st October 2017, please check our website or stores for the most up to date pricing.

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