Brewers on the Bay returned to The Oslo in Salthill for the second installation of their celebration of Irish craft beer. Having missed out on attending last May, I was really excited to trundle up to Galway to experience it first hand this year, rather than hearing all about how great it was through @metalman_tim. So we set off in the Metalman mobile with beer, a borrowed bar, and a miscellany of barware – some of which we even knew what to do with!
Set-up on Saturday morning was manic, as we continue to learn the things about keg dispense that never cross your path as an I.T. monkey or a mere beer drinker (who knew there was more to this stuff than flipping the tap open?) and with a cool 20 minutes to spare, we were ready to serve at 3pm on the nose. Plenty of time to fuel up on chicken and chips from The Oslo before the masses descended.
There were 11 bars in all, with 12 breweries represented, including Breweyed from Banagher in Co. Offaly, making their festival debut with a pale ale and lager. The kick off of the festivities coincided with the Leinster rugby game, which was shown on the big screen in the beer hall, and attracted a mixed crowd who were not necessarily there to sample the delights of Irish craft beer on offer. Many pints of cider and macro lager pervaded the room, some of them were even left on *my* bar, harumph! The staff at the Oslo were stellar though, and quickly swept all this detritus away out of sight
Before long, those not interested in plunging into the waters of non-macro beer filtered away, and many eager faces appeared, brandishing their menus and looking for something to galvanise their tastebuds into action – and we didn’t disappoint. Our Windjammer on keg proved a great hit, and sold almost as much as our Pale Ale, to the point where we are wondering if “seasonal beer” is going to be appropriate for this beauty after all – maybe we need to think about making it available for more than a couple of months in a year?
Sunday saw more of the same – a soccer match in the afternoon on the big screen drew its own crowd, but by Sunday evening it was Irish craft beer all the way in the beer hall of The Oslo. We managed to get a few photos of the proceedings, take a look at the slideshow here. For only its second year running, this was a great festival, and will surely only go from strength to strength based on what we saw this weekend. I’m already looking forward to next year, and have decided what my aims will be – at least three beers available, a much faster set-up, and no falling down the stairs when packing up to leave!