Irish Breweries
styles - history - beers


The latest version of this site is at my new domain

This page lists all the breweries currently active in Ireland and all the beers they brew.

I have created a single page for the whole of Ireland, both the Republic and the North, for no other reason than the small number of breweries. And, of course, the common brewing tradition.

Irish brewing industry
Irish beer statistics
Irish beer styles
Irish Breweries
The Irish brewing industry

Unless you've spent the last 50 years in a sealed concrete bunker, you'll be aware of Guinness's dominance of the Irish brewing scene. Their last Dublin rival (Findlaters) closed in 1949 and by the mid-1960's they had rounded up the last few stray ale breweries.

The only challenge to total control was in Cork, where the tied house system of Murphy's and Beamish & Crawford kept Guinness at bay, at least for a while.

Under pressure from their own landlords (who wanted to sell Guinness), the Cork brewers gave up their tied houses in the 1970's. They soon ran into trouble and were snapped up by foreign globalists, eager to own an "Irish stout" brand. Their stouts are now often easier to find abroad than in their native country.

The micro revolution
Ireland is one of the last of the traditional brewing nations of Europe to undergo a microbrewery boom. The stranglehold of Guinness on the licensed trade has surely played a role in suppressing new brewery startups. In 2005 progressive beer duty was due to be introduced. It should proivide a boost to the fledgling micro industry.

There was a brief flirtation with Dublin-brewed real ale in the early 1980's (Dempsey's and Harty's), but neither lasted very long. It wasn't until the 1990's with the Biddy Early brewpub that anyone dared try again. A steady trickle of new brewpubs and micros has continued since, though they are still of minor significance in terms of volume (45,000 hl to Guinness's 5.2 million hl). The lack of a sliding scale of duty is seen as a major obstacle to new breweries entering the market.

The story in Northern Ireland has been much the same, where Bass and Guinness have long enjoyed a duopoly. Hilden, Ireland's oldest microbrewery (founded 1981) has survived rather than prospered. The long absence of cask-conditioned beer and the lack of proper cellars in many bars has not helped their cause. Whitewater joined them in 1996. A couple of other micros and a brewpub came and quickly disappeared again in the 1980's. All the new brewereies have produced cask-conditioned beer on a regular basis.

Ireland now has more breweries than at any time since the early 1920's. This is how the 20 active breweries (16 in the Irish Republic, 4 in Northern Ireland) can be classified:

Brewery No. Details
Diageo 3 Guinness, Smithwicks, Harp.
Heineken 1 Murphy's.
Scottish & Newcastle 1 Beamish & Crawford..
Interbrew 0 The former Bass brewery in Belfast closed in 2005.
Independents 0 There are no established independent breweries in Ireland.
Brewpubs 3 Dublin now only has one - Porterhouse have a separate brewery..
Microbreweries 12 Considering the hostile climate - no progressive beer duty, Guinness's control of the on-trade - it's surprising how large this sector is.

Irish beer styles

Ireland is famous for one style of beer: stout. Originating in 18th century London, porter became immensely popular in Ireland around 1800. Eventually Dublin ousted London as porter capital and by 1900 Irish brewers were exporting huge quantities to England. The extent of this trade can be deduced from the statistics for UK beer imports: with the independence of the Irish Republic these increased from around 50,000 barrels (82,000 hl) a year to 1,500,000 barrels (2,455,000 hl).

Guinness pioneered mixed-gas dispense (carbon dioxide and nitrogen) in the early 1960's. Today it's widely used for serving both draught stout and ale. The older system of serving draught stout involved two barrels behind the bar. Each glass was first filled about two-thirds with old, relatively flat beer from the lower cask ("low stout"). It was topped up with lively, young beer from a smaller cask on a high shelf ("high stout").

Modern stout is a mere shadow of its pre-WW I self. The classic porter strength - from the early 18th century up until 1900 - was around 1056º. Stout was a minimum of 1060º.

If you want to get an idea of old-fashioned Irish stout, try Guinness Foreign Extra Stout. It's the closest approximation you'll find today. You'll notice that in 1840 Guinness Extra Stout was stronger than the current FES.

Stout gravities across the years
1840 1879 1880 1884 1889 1896 1901 1914 1917 1918 1919 1923 1934 1945 1970 1983
Dublin X (Single) Stout   1060º                            
Dublin XX (Double) Stout   1083º 1074º                          
Dublin XXX Stout     1089º                          
Guinness Porter*           1063º   1058º 1050º 1036º 1036º 1041º 1041º      
Guinness Extra Stout* 1079º     1070º   1079º   1074º 1067º 1049º 1054º 1054º 1054º     1042º
Guinness Foreign Extra Stout*           1079º 1075º                 1072º
Murphy's Porter         1056º                      
Murphy's X (Single) Stout         1060º                      
Murphy's XX (Double) Stout         1072º                     1038º
Beamish & Crawford XX Porter                         1035º      
Beamish & Crawford XXX Stout                         1048º 1042º 1039º 1039º
Beamish & Crawford Export Stout                         1073º      
"Guinness 1886-1939", by Dennison & McDonagh, p. 2, 153, 159
"Classic Porter and Stout", by Roger Protz
"The Murphy's Story" Diarmuid Ó Drisceoil & Donal Ó Drisceoil, p.53
"American Handy Book of Brewing , Malting and Auxiliary Trades", by Wahl & Henius, Chicago 1902, page 825.

* Before 1896 Porter was called Single Stout , Extra Stout was called Double Stout.
Foreign Extra Stout was also known as Foreign Export Double Stout and West Indies Porter at different dates.. It was the same strength as the domestic Double Sout, but more heavily hopped and matured for longer (up to 2 years)

In the years 1900 - 1916 a high proportion of beer brewed in Ireland must have been the stronger stouts. The average Original Gravity hovered around 1065º. As a comparison, in England and Wales it was 1051 - 1052º and in Scotland only 1047 - 1049º. You can find the full details here.

Irish beer styles today
Stout has steadily lost popularity with drinkers over the last 40 years, but is still the most popular style. Ireland is the last country in the world where the majority of beer is still top-fermented.

The first lager brewery (Darty Brewing Co.) was established in Dublin in 1892, but only lasted a five years. A second attempt was made with the wonderfully named Regal Lager Brewery Ltd. (in Kelis, county Meath) in 1937. It lasted slightly longer, closing in 1954. Serious lager brewing began when Guinness converted the Great Northern Brewery in Dundalk to produce Harp in the 1950's.

Murphy and Beamish followed Guinness into the lager market, brewing a variety of foreign brands under licence. The names have come and gone with the changes of ownership, but the product has remained largely the same. They have been surprisingly successful in this section of the market, the only one where Guinness has punched below its weight. Their market share of only around 50% - in what is an expanding sector - must be a worry.

This is the only area where a British brewery (the former Bass subsidiary Tennents) has made any lasting impact on the Irish market.

For decades the three large breweries (Guinness, Murphy, Beamish) were happy to brew nothing but porter-style beers. There was a parallel world of quite small ale breweries which struggled along until the 1950's. The remaining half dozen or so merged to form the imaginatively-named Irish Ale Brewers, which Guinness bought in 1965.

Keg ales made big inroads in stout's market share during the 1960's and 1970's, before being overtaken by lager as the drink of the moment.

Their fortunes have been revived in the last 15 years by sales outside their native country. Keg Kilkenny is a "must have" beer for fake Irish pubs across Europe. Caffrey's started the fad for "smoothflow" ales in Britain. Both Murphy and Beamish now brew "Red Ales", but their impact inside Ireland has been minimal, where Guinness brands still dominate.

Style alc. Description
Pilsner 4 - 4.5% The standard very pale, slightly hoppy sort of crap sold everywhere. Most new breweries make pale lagers, often using genuine continental hops.
Porter 4% The lowest-gravity member of the stout family. It was gradually dropped by breweries as beer gravities were reduced after 1918. Guinness phased out its porter in the early 1970's. Has been revived by new breweries.
Stout 4 - 5% The classic Irish beer. Also known as "Extra Stout" or "Dry Stout". Black, bitter and with a burnt note from the use of roasted barley.
Export Stout 7-8% A strong export type of stout. Dark and powerful. Guinness Foreign Extra Stout is a good example (now I think about it, the only example).
Irish Ale 4 - 5% Dark amber (they are often called "Red Ales") in colour, relatively lightly hopped and with an amount of smokiness from roast barley. Generally darker and less hoppy than English bitter.
Wheat Beer 4 - 5% Golden ales with a proportion of wheat in the grist. A recent innovation, brewed exclusively by micros and brewpubs.

Brewers' Trade Organisations

The Irish Brewers' Association
84/86 Lower Baggot Street
Dublin 2
Tel. : (353) 1 660 10 11
Fax : (353) 1 660 17 17
Director : Paddy Jordan

The big boys' club.
Brewers and Malsters Guild of Ireland

Founded (or refounded) in 1996.

An organisation representing the interests of micros and brewpubs.

Irish Breweries

Beer production (barrels)
Year 1857 1860 1865 1871 1875 1880 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1890 1895
production 926,000 1,213,307 1,242,671 1,616,654 2,025,614 2,066,269 1,919,992 2,044,413 2,143,899 2,114,488 2,229,997 2,460,645 2,670,803
Year 1900 1905 1910 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922
production 2,669,225 2,799,960 3,059,210 4,115,000 3,532,902 3,412,520 3,279,032 2,850,170 1,603,679 1,806,096 2,969,498 3,481,312 2,939,893
Average O.G. - 1063.49 1064.78 - 1065.93 1065.93 1066.43 1065.69 1057.89 1044.43 1048.35 1050.18 1049.44
Year 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948
production 2,004,109 1,908,761 1,755,761 1,472,678 1,494,036 1,465,569 1,750,140 1,631,009 1,534,040 1,798,450 2.063,093 1,952,583 1,988,580
Average O.G. 1051.76 1051.88 1051.78 1051.12 1051.58 1050.11 1045.62 1043.63 1044.97 1044.60 1044.41 1041.71 1041.51
Year 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961
production 2,119,583 2,304,668 2,279,655 2,339,224 2,145,110 2,233,346 2,257,251 2,374,460 2,417,097 2,314,967 2,283,000    
Average O.G. 1041.76 1042.36 1043.86 1044.45 1045.21 1045.09 1045.36 1045.63 1046.16 1046.12 1046.33    
1857-1922 Reports of Commissioners of Inland Revenue and of Customs and Excise, and Trade and Navigation. (via "The Brewers' Almanack 1928")
1936-1953 Brewers' Almanack 1955, p.107-110
1954-1959 Brewers' Almanack 1962, p.107-108

up to 1881, calculated according to the Quantities of Malt and Sugar used
1884 - 1895, 1913 Standard Barrels Charged with Beer Duty
1900 - 1922 the Number of bulk barrels upon which duty was paid during the year.
1 barrel = 163.656 litres.

Number of breweries
1850 1900 1901 1904 1905 1906 1911 1914 1915 1920 1923 1925 1926 1930 1937 1940 1946 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960
Breweries 95@ 36 35 32 31 29 28 27 25 24 21 20 18 16 14 14 13 14 13 13 12 11 11 8
my own calculation
1954-1959 Brewers' Almanack 1955, p.107-108
@ Weekly Dispatch, April 13th 1851

up to 1922 all Ireland, 1923 onwards Irish Republic only

1961 1974 1976 1980 1983 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Consumption (1,000 hl)       4,174#     4,072f 4,182f 4,412f 4,632f 4,632f 4,840f 4,700f 4,792f 4,932# 5,196# 5,406# 5,592# 5,699# 5,595# 5,625#          
Consumption per head (litres) 58.1f 130f 126c 121.7# 108d   106.4f               112.7b 118 123.7@ 150.5e 126 125a 125&          
Production (1,000 hl)       6,000#   4,479g 4,360g 4,624g 5,094g 5,236g   6,680 6,910 7,186 7,402# 7,764# 8,152# 8,478# 8,648# 8,710# 8,712# 9,157h        
Imports                               513#   559# 570# 741# 645i          
Exports (1,000 hl)                               3,300#   3,445# 3,519# 2,142# 2,442#          
No. breweries (Irish Republic) 8* 7* 7* 7* 9* 8* 7* 7* 7* 7* 7* 7* 7* 7* 9* 11* 12* 16* 17* 17* 18* 20* 19* 17* 19* 16*
No. breweries (N. Ireland) 1* 1* 1* 1* 4* 4* 4* 4* 3* 2* 2* 2* 2* 2* 2* 3* 3* 3* 3* 3* 3* 3* 3* 4* 3* 4*
# The Brewers of Europe (2003)
& Bryggeriforeningen (Norway)
a Brauwelt 31-32/2002
b Economics Department, German Brewers' Association.
c World Guide to Beer, Michael Jackson
d Bier in Belgie, Geert van Lierde, 1986
@ Brauwelt Brevier 2000
e Brauwelt Brevier 2001
f Competition Authority Decision of 17 June 1998, relating to a proceeding under Section 4 of the Competition Act. Notification No. CA/17/97 - Guinness Ireland Group Limited/United Beverages Holdings Limited. Decision No. 512
g United Nations Statistics Department
h Brauwelt Brevier
i Centraal Brouwerij Kantoor
* my own calculation


Beer sales by type
  1967 1975 1996
Stout 80%a 58%a 47%b
Ale 15%a 31%a  
Lager 5%* 14%*  
a "The Murphy's Story" Diarmuid Ó Drisceoil & Donal Ó Drisceoil, p.132
b Competition Authority Decision of 17 June 1998, relating to a proceeding under Section 4 of the Competition Act. Notification No. CA/17/97 - Guinness Ireland Group Limited/United Beverages Holdings Limited. Decision No. 512
* calculated from the other figures

Market share by brewery (1996)
Percentage Share Guinness Murphy Beamish & Crawford Others
- Stout 88.4% 5.1% 6.2% 0.3%
- Ale 96.4% 0.0% 0.0% 3.6%
- Lager 52.4% 38.6% 6.3% 2.7%
Packaged 60% 17% 12% 11%
- Stout 89.2% 5.0% 5.5% 0.3%
- Ale 87.2% 0.0% 2.7% 10.1%
- Lager 49.6% 18.4% 12.3% 19.7%
Total 73.7% 16.3% 6.5% 3.5%
Competition Authority Decision of 17 June 1998, relating to a proceeding under Section 4 of the Competition Act. Notification No. CA/17/97 - Guinness Ireland Group Limited/United Beverages Holdings Limited. Decision No. 512

What do my scores mean?
< 20 cut out the middleman and pour straight down the sink
21 - 30 pretty nasty, gulp down quickly or hold your nose
31 - 40 chill heavily and pray
41 - 50 can be drunk unchilled without evoking nausea
51 - 60 safe to drink
61 - 70 you might actually enjoy this
71 - 80 can survive a serious examination
81 - 90 don't swallow too quickly
91 - 100 treat like 50 year-old Islay

Irish Breweries

Acton's Country Pub and Microbrewery
The Brooklodge Hotel,
Co. Wicklow.
Tel: 0402 - 36444
Fax: 0402 - 36580

Annual production:

Microbrewery in a leisure complex.

Árainn Mhór Brewing Company
Árainn Mhór Island,
County Donegal.
Tel: 087 630 6856

Founded: 2006
Annual production:

Beer alc Plato Description score (100)
Ban 4.2%   Golden ale.  
Rua 4.2%   Dark ale. Bottle-conditioned.  

Microbrewery on an island in county Donegal.

The Balbriggan Brewing Co. Ltd.
Ballymaguire Brewery,
Co. Meath.
Tel: 8437512
Homepage: http://www.

Founded: ***** CLOSED 2005 *****
Annual production:

Beer alc Description Score (100)
Ballymaguire 4.8%    

Microbrewery. ***** CLOSED 2005 *****

Beamish & Crawford Brewery
South Main Street,
Tel: 021 - 4911100
Fax: 021 - 4911111

Founded: 1792
Annual production: 574,000 hl (2002)

Beer alc Description Score (100)
Beamish Irish Stout 4.1% (OG 1039) Stout. A touch paler than Guinness or Murphy's. Probably closer to a porter than a stout.  
Beamish Red Irish Ale 4.2% Irish ale.  
Miller Genuine Draft 4.2% Pale lager.  

Owned by Scottish & Newcastle. Beamish stout is far harder to find than its main Irish rivals, despite being under globalist control.

Alfred Barnard, wrote in his 1889 book 'Noted Breweries of Great Britain & Ireland':
"The business of Beamish & Crawford in Cork is a very old one dating as far back as the seventeenth century and it is said to be the most ancient porter brewery in Ireland.

The home of the brewery at South Main Street, lies in the heart of what was the medieval city. Originally one of the old city gates stood nearby as did the Cork jail. Indeed a stone from the jail, upon which the severed heads of the executed used to be displayed, now stands outside the counting house door at the brewery. The huge lock on the door also came from the jail.

The business partnership prospered and within fifteen years output at Beamish & Crawford had grown from 12,000 barrels per year to a phenomenal 100,000 barrels in 1805, making it the largest brewery in the country and the third largest in Britain and Ireland."
The brewery has been traded between globalists (more accurately, would-be globalists) in the past four decades. Here are the details:

1962 The company was purchased by Canadian brewer Carling O'Keefe Ltd.
1987 Elders IXL (now Foster's Brewing Group) purchased Canadian Breweries, including Beamish & Crawford.
1995 Beamish & Crawford was bought by Scottish & Newcastle.

Biddy Early Brewery
Co. Clare
Tel: +353 65 683 6742
Fax: +353 65 683 6742

Founded: 1995
Annual production: 850 hl

Beer alc Description Score (100)
Black Biddy 4.2% (OG 1044) Stout. Brewed from roast barley, crystal malt, pale ale malt and British hops. Fined with Carrigeen Moss  
Blonde Biddy 4.2% (OG 1044) Pale lager. Brewed from lager malt and German Hallertau hops. Bottom-fermented.  
Red Biddy 4.9% (OG 1050) Red Irish ale. Brewed from Pale Ale, Chocolate and Crystal Malts, and Bog Myrtle (used instead of hops).  
Real Biddy 4.9% (OG 1050) Red Irish ale. Cask-conditioned version of Red Biddy.  


Carlow Brewing Co.
"The Goods Store",
Station Road,
Co. Carlow.
Tel: +353 (0)503 34356
Fax: +353 (0)503 40038

Founded: 1998
Annual production:

Beer alc Description Score (100)
O'hara's Celtic Stout 4.3% Stout.  
Curim Gold Celtic Wheat Beer 4.3% Wheat beer. Ingredients: pale malt, torrefied wheat, caramalt; Challenger, Mount Hood and Cascade hops.  
Molings Traditional Red Ale 4.3% Irish Ale. Brewed from pale malt , torrified wheat, crystal malt and roasted barley.  
Beerkeeper Gold 4.3% Wheat beer. Brewed for The Beerkeeper in Dundalk.  

Microbrewery. Next to the railway station in Carlow town.

The Celtic Brewing Co.
Enfield Industrial Estate,
Co. Meath
Tel: (0405) 41558
Homepage: http://www.

Founded: 1997
Annual production:

Beer alc Description Score (100)
Finnians Red 4.3% Irish ale.  
Finnians Organic Lager 4.3% Pale lager.  
Finians Stout 4.3% Stout.  
Shiva Premium Lager 5% Pale lager.  


The Dublin Brewing Co.
141-146 North King Street,
Dublin 7,
Co. Dublin.
Tel: 01 - 872 8622
Fax: 01 - 872 8653

Founded: 1996 *** CLOSED in 2005 ***
Annual production: 6,240 barrels (10,200 hl) (2003)

Beer alc Description Score (100)
Beckett's Dublin Larger   Pale lager. Ingredients: Water, malted barley, roast barley, yeast hops, irish moss.  
D'Arcy's Dublin Stout 4.3% Stout. Ingredients: Water, Malted barley, wheat, yeast, hops, irish moss.
A recreation of a famous 19th century Dublin stout, brewed at the Anchor brewery until its closure in 1926.
Revolution Red Beer 4.3% Irish ale. Ingredients: Water, malted barley, roast barley, yeast, hops, irish moss.
Named after the revolution of 1798.
Maeve's Crystal Beer   Pale wheat beer. Ingredients: Water, Malted barley, torrefied wheat, yeast, hops, irish moss.
Named after a famous 17th century Dublin brewster, Maeve Quinn.
Wicked Apple Organic Cider   Organic cider. Ingredients: Organic Apple syrup, water, and yeast,  


Dwan - Tipperary Brewing Co.
Co. Tipperary.
Tel: (0504) 26007
Homepage: http://www.

Founded: 1998 CLOSED 2003
Annual production:


Emerald Brewery
Business Centre,
Racecourse Rd.,
Co Roscommon.
Tel: 0903 - 25737
Fax: 0903 - 25455
Homepage: http://www.

Founded: 1999
Annual production:

Beer alc Description Score (100)
Emerald Gold 5% Pils.  
Connaught   Stout.  
Rua   Irish ale.  


Franciscan Well Brewery
14 North Mall,
Co. Cork.
Tel: (021) 210130

Founded: 1998
Annual production: 2,500 hl

Beer alc Description Score (100)
Shandon Stout 4.2% Stout.  
Blarney Blonde 4.2% Blond ale.  
Rebel Lager 4.3% Pale lager.  
Rebel Red Ale 4.3% Irish Ale.  
Purgatory 4.5% Pale Ale. Anglo-American-style, hopped with Cascades.  
Friar Weisse 4.7% Unfiltered pale wheat beer. German style.  
Bellringer Winter Warmer 6% Strong Ale. Malty and hoppy, the brewery says. Sounds like a Burton to me.  


Great Northern Brewery
Carrick Road,
Co. Louth.
Tel: 042 - 34793
Homepage: http://www.

Founded: 1897
Annual production: 1,000,000 hl

Beer alc Description Score (100)
Harp lager 3.6% Pale lager.  
Harp Export 4.5% Pale lager.  

Owned by Diageo (Guinness). It was bought by Guinness in 1959 to brew their lager.

Arthur Guinness Son & Co.
Saint James's Gate,
Dublin 8.

Founded: 1749
Annual production: 4,000,000 hl (2003, capacity)

Beer alc Description Score (100)
Guinness Mid-strength 2.8% A low-strength version of the stout being test marketed in Ireland in early 2006. Probably won't be around for long.  
Draught Guinness 4.1% (OG 1039) Stout. Served by mixed gas pressure. Filtered and pasteurised. Nowadays served ridiculously cold. For those who can't take the minute amount of flavour still discernible at 5º C, they have "Extra Cold".
Milk and burnt aroma; bitter taste with burnt, fruit and cream aromas; bitter finish with liquorice, burnt, toffee and cream aromas.
Not much aroma, but otherwise OK.
Guinness Original 4.2% Stout. The bottled version found in the British off-licences. Filtered and pasteurised.
Cream, burnt, coffee and cream aroma; sweetish/bitter taste with burnt, fruit, cream and liquorice aromas; very bitter finish with burnt, hop, liquorice and black chocolate aromas.
Bottled Guinness without its soul. Surprisingly, still a worthwhile beer. Lacks the sourness and complexity of the bottle-conditioned version. Still packed with roast barley bitterness.
Guinness Draught 4.2% Stout. Can with a widget and mixed gas. Filtered and pasteurised.
Malt and burnt aroma; sweetish/bitterish taste with burnt and cream aromas; bitterish finish with burnt and liquorice aromas.
Looks impressive, but almost flavourless. How do they make it so bland? For people who drink with their eyes. It improved immensely when I topped it up with FES.
Guinness Extra Stout 4.3% Stout. Bottle-conditioned. Still available in Ireland, last I heard (I hoped). A classic - worth going to Ireland to drink. It was a sad day when it was withdrawn from the UK.
It has an intense burnt bitterness, balanced with a sour cream undertone. A truly wonderful beer. I do hope that it still exists. A pity that the idiots who run Guinness don't realise what a treasure they have.
Guinness Export Draught 5% Stout. A stronger draught beer sold in "Irish" pubs across continental Europe. Served by mixed gas pressure. Filtered and pasteurised.  
Guinness Foreign Extra Stout 7.5% (OG 1078) Export stout. Filtered and pasteurised. The sort of Guinness you find in the tropics. Very nice.  
Guinness Special Export Stout 8% Export stout. A version of Foreign Extra Stout that is sold in Belgium and Holland. Filtered and pasteurised.
Burnt, toffee, bread, chocolate, fruit and milk aromas.; sweet/bitter/sourish taste with dates, burnt, toffee, liquorice and milk aromas; very bitter finish with burnt, black toffee, cream, coffee, liquorice and fruit aromas.
A big, beefy beer with a subtle touch of sourness. The sort of beer that bravely resists brewery conditioning and doesn't quite lose.
I'm lucky enough to have an off licence 100 yards from my house that sells it. It's a beer that always gets me into a 19th century mood. What a pathetic nostalgic I am. If I were to be granted one beer wish, it would be: a bottle-conditioned version of this beer. Knowing the depth bottle-conditioning added to Extra Stout, I'm certain an unfiltered Export/Foreign Stout would be sensational. Bet the useless gits never do it, but I can dream.

Owned by Diageo. Excuse me if I have omitted some of the many variations Guinness produce of their 3 basic products - bottled Guinness, draught Guinness and Foreign Extra Stout. The company seems perversely determined to destroy a product and a business developed over more than two centuries.

As their London brewery (capacity 2.6 million hl) is closing (Summer 2005), all the Guinness in Europe will soon come from Dublin. The capacity of St.James's Gate will be expanded to 6,000,000 hl to cope.

An interesting article about the boats Guinness used to own for exporting their beer.

Guinness brands over time

In 1796 Guinness brewed two beers: ale and porter. In 1799 the ale was dropped. In 1801 they introduced Keeping Porter and in 1803 Country Porter.

Superior Porter was brewed from 1806 on an occasional basis, After 1840 it was known as Single Stout. In 1896 it was renamed Porter. It was last brewed in the early 1970's.

Extra Superior Porter was occasuionally brewed from 1806 onwards. After 1821 it was brewed regularly and became the mainstay of exports to England. Around 1840 the name was changed to Double Stout. In 1896 in was renamed Extra Stout. This is the forerunner of today's Guinness Extra Stout. In the early days a "Keeping" version was brewed, which was matured longer and blended with fresh beer in the Summer to maintain quality during warm weather.

West Indies Porter, was also brewed occasionally in the early 1800’s. By 1840 it was a regular product and was called Triple Stout. After 1896 it was called Foreign Export Double Stout This is the direct ancestor of today’s Foreign Extra Stout. In the 1800's, it was the same gravity as the domestic Double Stout/Extra Stout but hopped more heavily and matured longer, which meant it was stronger too. Around 1900, both had an OG of 1074 but the export stout was 7.8% ABV, the domestic stout only 7%.

"Guinness’s Brewery in the Irish Economy 1759-1876", Patrick Lynch and John Vaizey, pages 150-151.
"Guinness 1886-1939", by Dennison & McDonagh, p. 2, 153, 159
"American Handy Book of Brewing , Malting and Auxiliary Trades", by Wahl & Henius, Chicago 1902, page 825.

Hilden Brewery
Hilden House,
Grand Street,
Co. Antrim BT27 4TY.
Tel: (028) 9266 3863
Fax: (028) 9260 3511
Homepage: http://www.

Founded: 1981
Annual production:

Beer alc Description Score (100)
Hilden Ale 4% (OG 1038) Amber ale. Cask-conditioned.  
Molly Malone's Porter 4.6% (OG 1048) Porter. Cask-conditioned.  
Scullion's Irish 4.6% (OG 1048) Ale. Cask-conditioned.  
Original 4.6% Ale. Bottle-conditioned.  

Microbrewery. The oldest independent brewery in Ireland.

Irish Brewing Co.
Unit 3,
Newbridge Industrial Estate,
Co. Kildare.
Tel: 045-435540
Fax: 045-435541
Homepage: http://www.

Founded: 1995
Annual production:

Beer alc Description Score (100)
Brew No. 1 5% Pale lager.  


Kinsale Brewery
Co Kerry.

Founded: 2001
Annual production: 17,000 hl (2003)

Beer alc Description Score (100)
Kinsale Cream Stout. 4.3% Stout. Served by mixed gas.  
Williams Wheat 4.3% Unfiltered pale wheat beer. Belgian-style with orange peel and coriander.  
Landers Ale 4.3% Pale lager.  
Kinsale Irish Lager 4.3% Irish ale. Uses coriander seeds.  


Macardle, Moore & Co. Ltd
Cambrickville Brewery,
Ardee Road,
Co. Louth.
Tel: 042 - 35441
Homepage: http://www.

Founded: 1850 CLOSED 2003
Annual production:

Beer alc Description Score (100)
Macardle's Ale 4% Irish Ale.  

Owned by Diageo (Guinness). Macardle's is now brewed elsewhere.

Messrs Maguire
1 & 2 Burgh Quay,
Co. Dublin.
Tel: (01) 670 5777
Homepage: http://www.

Founded: 1998
Annual production:

Beer alc Description Score (100)
Plain 4.3% Porter.  
Haus 4.3% Pils.  
Yankee   Pale lager. Supposedly American-style.  
Rusty Red Ale 4.5% Irish ale.  
Messrs. McGuire Extra Stout 5% Stout.  
Dublin Pilsner 5.6% Pale lager - pils.  

Brewpub. The beers are sold in both nitrokeg and cask-conditioned forms. The latter seem mostly intended for the UK's guest ale market.

College Green Brewery
Molly’s Yard,
1 College Green Mews,
Botanic Avenue,
Belfast BT7 1LW.
Tel: 028 9032 2600

Founded: 2006
Annual production:

Beer alc Plato Description score (100)
Molly’s Chocolate Stout 4.2%   Stout. Cask-conditioned.  
Belfast Blonde 4.7%   Blond Ale. Brewed from lager malt, maize and continental and British hops.  
Headless Dog 4.3%   Amber Ale. Cask-conditioned. Named after the unusual mural of a headless dog at the front door to the brewery.  


Murphy Brewery Ireland Ltd.
Lady's Well,
Leitrim St.,
Tel: 021 - 503371
Fax: 021 - 503926

Founded: 1856
Annual production: 1,010,000 hl (2001) 1,030,000 hl (2002) (Source: Heineken website)

Beer alc Description Score (100)
Murphy's Irish Stout 4% (OG 1038) Stout. The draught version. Served by mixed gas pressure. Filtered and pasteurised.
Milk. burnt and malt aroma; bitter/sourish taste with burnt and milk aromas; bitter finish with burnt, coffee, charcoal and liquorice aromas.
Quite oily in texture and surprisingly sour. Good roast malt character.
Murphy's Irish Stout 4.3% Stout. The bottled version. Filtered and pasteurised.  
Murphy's Irish Red 5% Irish ale. Filtered and pasteurised.
Bitterness: 23 EBU Colour: 24 EBC.
Also brewed in Holland. Introduced in 1995.
Amstel Lager   Pale lager.  
Heineken   Pale lager.  

Owned by Heineken.

Murphy's has led a difficult life in the last 40 years. After teetering on the edge of extinction, it appears now to have a fairly secure life as a Heineken niche market brewery. Then again, that's what I said about Ridder of Maastricht a year or two before Heineken closed them down.

1965 Watney Mann buy a 30% stake.
1967 Watney Mann stake increased to 51%..
1969 Watney's make a deal to sell draught Guinness in their English pubs.
1971 Watney's pull out and sell Murphy to Taiscí Stáit Teoranta (TST), the state rescue agency.
1974 The Licensed Vintners Co-operative Society (a group of 1,000 publicans) buy the 48.7% of the shares not owned by TST.
1982 The company goes into receivership.
1983 Heineken purchases all Murphy's assets.

In the dark days of the early 1970's, output dropped below 15,000 barrels (25,000 hl). Very sad, compared to the 140,000 barrels (230,000 hl) brewed in 1900. Here's an overview of the brewery' output from its founding until the 1970's:

Year output (barrels) output (hl)
1858 22,725 37,190
1860 41,465 67,860
1865 41,306 67,600
1870 76,480 125,164
1875 99,706 163,175
1880 98,205 160,718
1885 112,875 184,727
1890 108,000 176,748
1895 125,000 204,570
1900 140,000 229,118
1971 11,000 18,002
1972 14,472 23,684
1973 14,879 24,350
1974 30,423 49,789
1975 59,759 97,799
1976 94,263 154,267
"The Murphy's Story" Diarmuid Ó Drisceoil & Donal Ó Drisceoil, p.45, p.61, p.129, p.131

Beers brewed
Porter 1056º
Single Stout or X Stout 1060º
Double Stout or XX Stout 1072º
"The Murphy's Story" Diarmuid Ó Drisceoil & Donal Ó Drisceoil, p.53

X Stout was a blend of 80% XX Stout and 20% porter.
Porter was discontinued in 1943.

The Porterhouse Brewing Co.
Unit 6D,
Rosemount Park Road,
Tel 01 822 7415

16 Parliament Street,
Dublin 2,
Co. Dublin
Tel: (01) 679 8847

Founded: 1996
Annual production: 2,500 hl

Beer alc Description Score (100)
TSB 3.7% Bitter.  
Chiller 4.2% Pale lager. Brewed from Lager Malt, Wheat Malt, Torrified Wheat; Galena, Nugget, Cascade, Tettnang and Hallertau Perle hops. "Super Cooled North American Style Lager" the brewery calls it. My guess is that it's "Super Hydrated International Type".  
Haus Weiss 4.3% German-style wheat beer. Brewed from Pale Malt, Wheat Malt; Galena, Chinook and Hallertäu Perle hops.  
Plain Porter 4.3% Porter. Brewed from Pale Malt, Flaked Barley, Roast Barley, Black Malt, Crystal Malt; Galena, Nugget and East Kent Goldings hops. Your only man.  
Temple Bräu 4.3% Pale lager. Brewed from Lager Malt, Torrified Wheat; Galena, Nugget, Hallertau Perle and Hersbrücker hops. Almost as good a name as Grunhalle.  
Porterhouse Red 4.4% Red Irish Ale. Brewed from Pale Malt, Crystal Malt, Wheat Malt, Chocolate Malt; Galena, Nugget and East Kent Goldings hops.  
Oyster Stout 4.8% Stout. Brewed from Pale Malt, Roast Barley, Black Malt, Flaked Barley; Galena, Nugget and East Kent Goldings hops; oysters. An oyster stout worthy of the name.  
Wrasslers 4X Stout 5% Stout. Brewed from Pale Malt, Crystal Malt, Wheat Malt, Flaked Malt, Flaked Barley, Roast Barley, Roast Malt; Galena, Nugget and East Kent Goldings hops. Based on a recipe used by Deasy's of West Cork in the early 1900's.  
Hersbrucker 5% Pale lager, Brewed from Lager Malt, Cara Malt, Torrified Wheat; Galena, Nugget, Perle and Hersbrucker hops.  
An Brainblásta 7% Barley wine. Brewed from Pale ale Malt, Crystal Malt, Torrified Wheat; Fuggles, East Kent Golding, Nugget and Galena hops.  

Microbrewery. Though the brewing kit is still in place at the city centre pub, all the beer comes from a standalone brewery in the suburb of Blanchardstown.

According to their website "The Porterhouse uses a traditional true top fermentation Bi strain Yorkshire stone squar yeast or, alternatively, your eyes may start to glaze over at this point. It's highly flocculent and comes from the Old Romsey brewery in Kent by way of the East Riding Brewery."

E. Smithwick and Sons Ltd.
St. Francis Abbey Brewery,
Parliament St,
Tel: 056 - 21014
Fax: 056 - 62101
Homepage: http://www.

Founded: 1710
Annual production: 1,200,000 hl

Beer alc Description Score (100)
Smithwick's Irish Ale 3.5% Irish Ale. Domestic version. Filtered and pasteurised.  
Smithwick's Irish Ale (Kilkenny Ale) 5% Irish Ale. Export version. Filtered and pasteurised.
Bread and malt aroma; sweetish/bitter with biscuit, fruit and burnt aromas; bitter finish with hop, burnt and toast aromas.
Much better than I expected. Has a high level of malt bitterness. Either it's changed or my memory is playing tricks again.
Smithwick's Barley Wine 5.5% Barley wine. About 4% too weak for the style.  

Owned by Guinness (now Diageo) since 1965. Usually sold under the name Kilkenny outside Ireland. The brewery is in the grounds of St Francis's Abbey. Also brews Budweiser under licence.

Strangford Lough Brewing Company Ltd
Braidleigh Lodge, 22 Shore Road,
County Down,
BT30 9UE,
Northern Ireland
phone: +44 (0)28 4482 1461
fax: +44 (0)28 4482 1273

Founded: 2004
Annual production:

Beer alc Plato Description score (100)
Barelegs 4.5%   Golden ale.  
Legbiter 4.8%   Golden ale.  
St Patrick's Gold     Golden ale.  
St Patrick's Best        
St Patrick's Ale        


Ulster Brewery
Glen Road,
BT11 8BY.
Tel: 028 9030 1301
Fax: 028 9062 4884

Founded: 1897 **** CLOSED 2005 ****
Annual production: 1,227,000 hl

Beer alc Description Score (100)
Caffrey's Irish Ale 4.2% Irish ale. Served by mixed gas pressure. Filtered and pasteurised.
Sherbert and milk aromas; sweetish taste with fruit and biscuit aromas; bitterish finish with malt and biscuit aromas.
Pretty bland. A little bit malty but almost no hop character. The beer that popularised "smooth" ales in Britain.
Also brewed under licence in England.
Caffreys Irish Stout 4.7% Stout. Served by mixed gas pressure. Filtered and pasteurised.  
Bass Ale   Pale ale.  
Tennents Lager   Pale lager. Brewed under licence.  
Tuborg Lager   Pale lager. Brewed under licence.  

Owned by Interbrew.

Formerly Thomas Caffrey & Son. Acquired by Charringtons (later Bass Charrington) 1964 & by Interbrew 2000. Keg only.

Summer 2004 Interbrew announced that they wanted to sell the brewery. They had no takers and it closed in 2005.

Waterford Brewery
Mary Street,
Homepage: http://www.

Founded: 1792 CLOSED 2003
Annual production:

Owned by Diageo (Guinness).

Formerly Cherry's Breweries Limited. Ceased brewing Smithwicks in 2003. Now makes the special concentrate used in Guinness breweries across the world.

Whitewater Brewing Co.
40 Tullyframe Road,
Co. Down BT34 4RZ.
Tel: (028) 41769449
Fax: (028) 41769449

Founded: 1996
Annual production: 4,500 hl (2003, capacity)

Beer alc Description Score (100)
Mill Ale 3.7% (OG 1038) Amber ale. Cask-conditioned.  
Natural Blonde Lager 3.7% (OG 1037) Pale lager. Cask-conditioned.  
Belfast Ale 4.5% (OG 1046) Amber ale. Cask-conditioned.  
Summer Solstice 4% Seasonal - Summer. Cask-conditioned.  
Glen Ale 4.2% Ale. Seasonal. Cask-conditioned.  
All That Jazz 4.2% Seasonal. Cask-conditioned.  
Nut Brown Ale 4.2% Brown ale. Seasonal. Cask-conditioned.  
Dappled Mare. 4.3% Seasonal. Cask-conditioned.  
Snake Drive Bitter 4.3% Bitter. Seasonal. Cask-conditioned.  
Sanity Clause 4.5% Seasonal - Christmas. Cask-conditioned.  
Bee's Endeavour 4.8% Seasonal. Cask-conditioned.  
Knight Porter 5% Porter. Seasonal. Cask-conditioned.  

Microbrewery. Owns one pub.

Questions? Suggestions? Click to email me.

© Ron Pattinson 2005 - 2006

All articles and photos on these pages are property of Ron Pattinson. If you would like permission to reproduce either on your own site or in a book, please contact me first.