#KKCBF16 – The Week That Was
Date: 30 Jul 2016
Oh the week that was #KKCBF16. What a week for the crew here at Costellos. Whilst getting the day jobs (brewing Costellos) done we also had to organise a week long beer festival in Kilkenny.
Kilkenny Craft Beer Festival is the only week long beer festival in Ireland and unique in many other ways too. But it all takes a load of planning and hours of hard work, painting, chalkboard writing, decorating, and of course brewing.
We kicked off the week with a film about what it takes of open a Craft Brewery. We had a good crowd join us in Billy Byrnes Outdoor Cinema and although the documentary was US based the lessons, troubles and pit falls all hold true here in Ireland too. It is no small task to get a brewery off the ground.
It’s no mean feat organising a week long beer festival either and one of the many obstacles to be overcome was the family of swans in Weir View, hindering the timely collection of #KKCBF volunteer t-shirts.
Next up the festival descended on Brewery Corner in Parliament Street for an event called ‘A Sester of Brewers’. Sester, as we all found out is the collective noun for a group of brewers. So we got together some of the finest regional brewers from Laois, Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny to give us a taste and chat about their latest beers. It’s fair to say ‘first up best dressed’ in this case as Danny and Seamus from Yellowbelly (The Wexford Crew) stole the show. Connor from O’Hara’s introduced us to a relatively new style of beer – White IPA, a mix of a Witbier and an IPA.
Next up on the Friday night was a festival highlight. Rothe House was the venue and a more unique or inspiring venue you won’t see at any beer festival, in the world. We had a tasting event of over 100 Irish Craft Beers. One of the principles we have in organising the festival is to make it a welcoming and relaxed affair.
For this tasting event we didn’t want to lose the opportunity to teach you all a thing or two about beer also. So we arranged the tasting ‘By Style’. All beers were assembled for tasting in groups according to their beer style, e.g. Reds, Stouts, and Pales etc. With over 100 beers to taste most people didn’t make it through the full list, while everyone enjoyed the night and found their taste in beer.
Traditionally a beer festival in Ireland means copious amounts of different beers, from dozens of different breweries all served to you from dozens of different bars. #KKCBF takes a different approach and rather than bring 20 different bars from 20 different breweries to town we brought 1 bar, 20 breweries and 20 beers. Leave out all the branding, marketing and sales spiel, throw in Billys Beer Garden, Bula Bus, great tunes and you’ve got yourself the hippest most relaxed beer festival in the country, well that’s what we think.
The day started with a bang, setup from 8am, breakfast at 11am and doors opening slightly late at 2:20pm we got the show on the road. With a full day’s entertainment including cooking demo’s from Podge of Bula Bus fame and Craft Beer cocktails with Ryan from Billy Byrnes we started with some very interesting things indeed. As the sun descended having put in another long summer shift we were left to party the night away to the tunes of NC Lawlor (go see this guy when you get the chance).
The week was a success and we drew people to Kilkenny from both far and near. A few of the Comer boys even made the trip in and they met a few yanks and a couple from Isle of Wright with hollow legs.
So were off back to the day job, brewing Costellos for the fine folk of Kilkenny and working on getting the brewery open this year. Costellos the first new brewery in Kilkenny since …………. I don’t know. I’m sure one of our local historians can let us all know.