I spoke today with Scott from Eight Degrees Brewing, the latest entrant into the Irish craft beer market. Based in North Cork, Eight Degrees is taking a slightly different trajectory than other Irish craft brewers. Their vision is to produce their beers in 330 ml bottles and look to sell them by the six-pack. This is something that would be very common in the American market but something that Irish brewers have not yet tried. Currently most Irish brewers sell their beer in 500ml bottles. Scott hopes that this packaging will differentiate them in the Irish market.
The beer they will be releasing initially will be Howling Gale Ale, and this looks set to be followed by a red ale and a porter. I tried the Howling Gale this afternoon and it was very good. Bittered strongly with Chinook at the start of the boil, it is then finished off with Amarillo and I think Centennial, all of this hoppiness is backed up by a nice sweet malt base. The beer will be bottle conditioned and Scott says that their bottling set up will allow up to 48 bottles a minute and so we should hopefully be seeing six packs of Howling Gale available in your local off-licence very soon. Better still is the price point, the six-packs will be sold for approximately €12, will special pricing reducing it to closer to €10 on occasion!
Howling Gale will also be available on draught and should be reaching pubs in the next week (Bull & Castle, Against the Grain and L Mulligan Grocer, all in Dublin, will be getting kegs shortly).