This blog was written by Ashley Smith, a former guest at Ashfield Hostel and now ex-pat Canadian living in Ireland.
Coming from Canada, craft beer is all the rage. To admit that you’d rather drink a Molson Canadian than a pint of Barking Squirrel, Mill St, or whatever other craft beer is all the rage at the time, would make you seem like a wildly inexperienced beer drinker.
Although craft beer is a rather new trend sweeping into Ireland, you can still find a handful of great pubs near the city centre that will allow you to drink local and international craft beer. To name a few…
The Porter House
The obvious first choice, The Porter House has many locations in Dublin including right in the heart of Temple Bar. Priding themselves as being Ireland’s largest independent Irish Brewery, they have five locations in Ireland, one in London and even one in New York City. When the Porter House opened its door back in the late 80s, they were a small craft pub fighting in a city built on Guinness, but have been successful at bringing craft beers worldwide into the hands of the local drinkers and tourists. In addition to the international brews they bring in, they also operate a brewery out of Ballycoolin where they craft a couple handfuls of small-batch brews. If you love beer you will not be disappointed in The Porter House, plain and simple.
The Black Sheep
Located in Smithfield on Capel Street, just 10 minutes North of the Liffey on foot, is The Black Sheep Gastropub. They have 23 craft brews on tap with frequent rotations in selections, so you can become a regular and try something new all the time! They also have an extensive list of bottled craft beers available with choices worldwide as well as plenty of Irish crafted beers. They have a delicious food menu and a selection of board games, so you really don’t ever have to leave. I’d suggest the Galway Porter on tap…if you’re asking.
Also located on Capel Street in Smithfield is the Beerhouse. They host live music nights, have regular craft beer specials (including a pizza and a pint deal for €10), and an eclectic atmosphere to boot. With a great selection of Irish and international pints to choose from, you may have trouble deciding which beer is really going to quench your thirst. The Beerhouse offers Craft Beer Tasting, where you can taste 6 half pints of your choice for around €15. This is a great place to hit if you’re new to craft beer and want to really dive right in!
If you’re staying at Ashfield or Abigails (possibly reading this right now), then you can walk for about a minute and you’ll be at J.W. Sweetman. Located on Burgh Quay, J.W. Sweetman is the only pub in Dublin with its very own micro-brewery, a fact they are extremely proud of. You can take a tour or just pop in for a pint. They offer five beers on tap (fresh from their micro-brewery), a selection of craft bottles from six different countries, and even a selection of craft beer cocktails which sounds weird enough to be great. If you’re at the hostel and looking to duck out for a quick pint, you know where to go.
Now if Ireland would only import some the fine craft beers from Canada, I would be a truly happy, beer-drinking ex-pat.