Friday 3 June 2011


There wasn't a cloud in the sky over Dublin today, perfect weather for the annual Bloom garden festival in the Phoenix Park. I was there as a guest of Metalman Brewing. I don't know much about beer but after a long walk in the sunshine up Chesterfield Avenue, a glass of their brew truly hit the spot. It could easily tempt me away from the hard liquor. Great name and logo too.

There is whiskey in this story, don't worry. I met Linda, Alex and John from Cooley, reminding Irish foodies that there is an independent, Irish-owned distillery. John was doling out his Spiked Apple cocktails. So refreshing. He'll have to tweet the recipe because that's a secret that should be shared with the world. I've heard him say before that you can still taste the Kilbeggan whiskey in a long drink and now I can vouch for it. It shone through the apple and lemonade. Very pleasant.

From Alex, I heard the news that the bog oak-matured Connemara is ready to ship. I've mentioned this before, when Alex presented it as an experiment to the Irish Whiskey Society. The ends of three casks were replaced with bog oak and used to finish Connemara malt. The casks were stored on their sides. I'll have to confirm the details later but it probably won't have an age statement, though at least some of it is 12 years old.

Round the corner, I met Alex Mount Charles, of Slane Castle fame. He has been building the Slane Castle whiskey brand for the past two years. Manufacture is contracted out to Cooley but he has a great vision of where it could go, including growing and malting the barley on site and distilling right there at the castle. I really hope it happens.

That's it for the whiskey buzz from Bloom, though I did run into the guys who make Bluebell Falls Goats Cheese. Their hard cheese was one of those matched with whiskey at our Whiskey & Cheese night last year. Today I had the chance to tell them how well their cheese was received by the society members.

There were lots of artisan food and drink producers at Bloom and I had my fill of cheese, pulled pork sandwiches, cookies and so on. I discussed woodturning with the Irish Woodturners Guild and I even toured the show gardens though I'm not a gardener. There was such a good atmosphere there and so much to see. I had a wonderful time.

Bloom is on for two more days. Go!