Smithwick’s has welcomed homebrewing duo Stephen Ryan & Brian Mooney and Polish native Sebastian Kondol into St. James’ Gate – a first for the brewery and a once in a lifetime opportunity for homebrewing enthusiasts as part of Smithwick’s Homebrew Challenge.
Over the past two months, homebrewers across the country have been brewing Christmas Ales for this inaugural challenge. Judged by Smithwick’s brewers, members of the National Homebrew Club and expert beer bloggers, Stephen and Brian’s cinnamon, nutmeg and star anise brew ‘Old Town Christmas Ale’ and Sebastian’s apple, cinnamon and spiced ginger brew ‘Apple Pie Ale’ were selected from over 70 entrants in a rigorous process which examined taste profile, aroma, mouthfeel and appearance.
The two finalists had the rare opportunity to recreate their Christmas Ales at scale in the 10hl brewhouse alongside the Smithwick’s Brewers. “We already feel like winners. The real prize for us was going into St James’s Gate. This is the first homebrew competition we’ve ever entered, and only our second attempt at an all grain beer – and now we’re getting to brew in St James’s Gate, it’s a dream come true” commented Stephen Ryan.
Over the coming weeks 30 kegs of each brew will be sampled in selected pubs across the country, with the winner being voted for by the public. “I’ve brewed over 100 batches and each year I have always brewed a special beer for Christmas time. This year will be incredible as I will get to enjoy the beer that I create in St James’s Gate with my friends in the pub” commented Sebastian Kondol.
Jennifer English, Marketing Director of Smithwick’s said, “We are delighted to partner with the National Homebrew Club in encouraging people to enjoy brewing great beer at home. We know that there is a huge sense of achievement behind brewing a beer from scratch and we are excited to welcome homebrewers into St. James’s Gate to collaborate with our brewers in brewing their own recipes”.
Trade locations of where the two brews will be available to sample will be available in the coming weeks. The winner of the inaugural Smithwick’s Homebrew Challenge will be announced following the public vote at an event in early December.
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