Beer School anyone?

I last attended school a good while ago so the idea of returning fills me with fear but a beer school you say?

Hmmm *rubs chin* this has potential. And surely there’s bound to be a few scoops on the go as well.

The whole thing started when I received an email from CAMRA NI saying one of Ireland’s most popular breweries, Kinnegar from Letterkenny, was holding a Beer School at the Northern Lights bar in Belfast and would members like to attend? Reply sent – yes please!

Regardless of who or what you are: brewer or drinker, there’s always more to learn about beer and you could do a lot worse than learn from the engaging and softly-spoken Rick LeVert, owner and head brewer at the award winning Co. Donegal brewery. Core beers like Scraggy Bay, Black Bucket and Crossroads have earned Kinnegar a loyal and passionate fanbase across Ireland and beyond.

With an impressive brewing repertoire from the past six years ranging from rhubarb sours to coconut porters, Rick knows about beer. He knows a damned sight more than you, me, or anyone else you’ll meet anytime soon.  

And so to the Beer School – upstairs in the Northern Lights was the perfect spot, where Rick greeted the 30 or so beer enthusiasts ranging from home brewers to simple drinkers such as me. Starting off with chatting about different malts, hops and yeast before diving into a taster of a Galway Bay Helles lager – well, we were in a Galway Bay Brewery bar so fair’s fair.

An amber ale and one of Kinnegar’s longest running creations, Devil’s Backbone, made an appearance before the relative newcomers of a saison, double New England IPA and a lime and basil sour were all shared and eagerly explained by the enthusiastic Rick, taking many questions along the way.

Thanks to CAMRA NI, Kinnegar and Northern Lights for a great evening’s education.

Beer School? GCSEs were never like this.