Daragh Merrigan started working as an Assistant Brewer with Rye River in March 2015 and got promoted to Shift Brewer not long after. Once Bill Laukitis took up his role as Head Brewer late last year, Daragh became our Lead Brewer.
Daragh is the man behind one of our most popular and successful beers to date, Daragh’s Session IPA, formerly known as Little Bangin’ IPA. This beer has won numerous awards since it’s inception, including Best Session IPA in the World at the World Beer Awards last year. So, needless to say, we’re looking forward to Daragh’s next big idea. We sat down with Daragh earlier in the week and asked him a few questions!
How did you get into Brewing?
I initially became interested in brewing when I moved in with friend of mine, Dean, (who has since started working at Rye River as an Assistant Brewer) was really into home brewing. This opened my eyes to it and I also started trying new beers. The more beers I tried the more interested I became.
What gave you the idea for Daragh’s Session IPA?
At the time, there was a lot of tropical west coast style IPA’s that had come out and it got me interested in exploring the lighter side of IPA’s. I wanted to make something sessionable, without compromising the big hop characters you would normally get from these IPA’s.
Have you any other recipes planned for the future?
So, currently Fiachra is testing a hoppy lager with our 1HL SS Brewtech system. Once he’s finished and it becomes available again, I have a recipe planned that I’m quite excited about, but I’m going to keep it under wraps for now! I have plenty of recipes I’d like to try out though.
Do you still homebrew?
Now that I’m brewing on a large scale and we have the 1HL pilot system, I feel like that satisfies my creative needs with regard to new beers. However, I still try to get a brew done the odd weekend.
Besides brewing – What are your hobbies?
I’ve been playing guitar for 21 years. Although im not in a band, I still find lots of time to play with my friends and the other brewers, many of whom are musicians themselves. We’ve music playing in the brewery non-stop as well, which is great.
What’s your favourite beer style?
My favourite beer style changes very frequently, but one style I’ve always liked is traditional Belgian lambic’s, these are sour ales fermented with wild yeast.
What’s your favourite beer?
My all-time favourite beer is Mariage Parfait by Brewerij Boon. I’m also a big fan of Black Ball Porter by TO OL but they don’t make it any more. If they started to make it again, I’d be all over it. From our McGargles range though, I’d have to choose Uncle Jim’s on Draught!
What was the last beer you had?
A bottle of Orval, a trappist ale I had been aging for about 8 months. It was gorgeous. The bitterness was more rounded due to the aging which also brought forward the floral yeast character.
What beer is in your fridge?
I have a cellar at home and I currently have 3 bottles of Boon stored (vat 94, 108, 110). I also have a Rodenbach Caractère Rouge and a 2015 Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René. Oh, and more bottles of Orval!