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McGargles will be at Craft Beer Days 2017 in Hamburg!

 

McGargles are delighted to be returning to Hamburg for this year’s Craft Beers Days event. Taking place on the 26th and 27th of August the festival will play host to twenty eight breweries from Germany, Denmark, Austria and of course Ireland! There will be plenty of great food, live music and a wide variety of beers on draught.

This year McGargles will be bringing some of the favourites we brought to last year’s Craft Beer Days. We will be pouring our Dublin Beer Cup winning Francis’ Big Bangin’ IPA which has won the hearts of our friends in Hamburg.

Craft Beer Days takes place in the very relaxed and friendly environment of Altes Mädchen, a very popular brewpub and restaurant on the appropriately named Lagerstrasse. The event is curated by Craft Beer Store who source the finest beers from around the world and they have handpicked the breweries to attend the festival.

See you there, prost!

McGargles’ Beers with Chef Sham’s Sauces

McGargles’ Beers go really well with a variety of dishes. Here’s a couple of pairings that we tried recently:

We met Chef Sham at a recent food festival and he gave us some of his sauces to try with our beers. The first one we tried was the Sweet Chilli Sauce which we used in our Kedgeree. The dish is one brought back from India when it was a part of the British Empire. It includes Haddock, Boiled Eggs and Rice. Kedgeree was traditionally eaten for breakfast because we are non traditional sorts here at Rye River Brewing we had it for dinner instead. Of course we had to have a beer with it! We paired this with our Lager and the crisp cool beer provided a pleasant contrast to the hint of spice from the sauce.

Why not give this pairing a try yourself?

McGargles’ Lager with chef Sham’s Sauce

Another food pairing we tried recently was Chef Sham’s Chilli Ketchup with Homemade Sausage Rolls. McGargles’ Big Bangin’ IPA went down a treat with this. Keep it in mind when planning your next picnic.

You can order Chef Sham’s sauces and check out his recipe videos here:

http://chefshamsauces.com/

Why not share your own favourite McGargles food pairing with us?

McGargles’ Big Bangin’ IPA with Chef Sham’s Chilli Ketchup and Homemade Sausage Rolls

 

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The McGargles Big Wheel of Excuses

This Sunday Ireland will square up to France in Euro 2016.

To say we have a score to settle with France is probably an understatement (you know what we’re talking about Henry). This is guaranteed to be a huge match. Win, lose or draw, there’s a very big chance there might be a you-shaped hole in work on Monday.

Never fear, if you need an exit strategy for the day after, we have you covered. Spin the wheel, pick the excuse, ring the boss then head back to that fort you had started to build in bed. Happy days!

 

The McGargles Big Wheel of Excuses

Beer: How Is It Made

We get a lot of queries about how exactly we make beer. It’s a difficult question because brewing is the perfect merge of art and science. How do you easily describe that?!?! Really, you can’t. But what we’ve done here, is try supply you with a good base for being able to follow discussions with your beer enthusiast friends at the pub.

First things first: Beer is made with four ingredients: grain, water, hops and yeast
Of course you can use more ingredients, but anyone who claims to use less than four ingredients is spinning you a yarn that isn’t worth listening to. Malted barley and wheat are the most common grains used in beer, but many others can be used (although usually not as the main grain because they cannot convert enough starches to sugars) like rye, spelt, oats, and rice.  Water will affect the beer’s flavour and body.  Hops are used to give beer bitterness and aroma.  Yeast creates alcohol (and has a major influence on taste). Other “things” can be added to beer (like fruit, spices, herbs, whatever), but unless it has the four ingredients listed, it ain’t beer.

Let’s get our beer on!

1) Mashing: Grain + Water = Wort
Beer is made by extracting sugars from various types of grain using heated water. This process is called mashing.  We want sugars to be extracted from the grains into the water to create a fermentable solution (called “wort”).  When we say “fermentable”, we mean able to be fermented by yeast to produce alcohol (yeasts “eat” sugar and produce alcohol and carbon dioxide gas).  Temperature and time are key factors in the mash process.  Too hot or too cold will not get the right amount or right types of sugars into the wort.  And the mash must be held at the right temperature(s) for enough time to extract enough of the desired sugars.  For reference, a mash takes on average 60-90 mins and is at a temperature of roughly 65C.

You may have seen some homebrewing kits which use a syrup-like malt extract. The extract is simply mixed with hot water and produces the wort instantly so you can skip the mash step.  This is called extract brewing while the paragraph above describes all-grain brewing.  The main difference is that the latter is more time consuming (and requires equipment to mash the beer in), but allows for a wider range of beer styles to be brewed. Literally, if you can dream it up, you can brew it up. (WARNING: it might be brutal)

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2) Boil the wort
After the wort is ready, it must be boiled.  Beyond ridding the solution of any bacteria or potential sources of infection, boiling separates out certain proteins from the wort and ensures that the wort gets to the right volume for fermentation.  As the wort boils, water is evaporated, leaving a higher-sugar solution.  The longer it boils, the more sugar it has (usually).  This will lead to a higher alcohol content after fermentation (at the expense of volume).  Most boils take 60-90 mins, but there are of course exceptions.

3) Add the hops
Hops can be added to the wort at several stages: Start of boil; during the boil; at the end of the boil.  The longer hops are boiling, the more bitterness they create.  As the time they are in the boil decreases, the amount of flavour and aroma they contribute to the finished beer increases.  Hops can also be added during fermentation (called dry hopping) to give a very hoppy aroma and flavour. We like dry-hopping at Rye River Brewing Company.

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4) Add the yeast
When the boil is complete, the wort must be cooled to a temperature that is not hostile (or deadly) for the yeast.  This is typically done very quickly (within 30 mins) to prevent off flavors from the buildup of certain compounds and also cause proteins which could affect the clarity of the beer to drop out of the wort.  It is important to remember that anything that comes in contact with the wort after the boil step must be sterilized.  When the wort is cool enough (approx. 24C depending on the yeast used), the wort can be transferred to the vessel where it will be able to ferment.  The yeast is then added (or pitched as we say in the business).  The wort can also be aerated (shaken up, for example) to increase the oxygen levels for the benefit of the yeast.

5) Let it ferment
The fermentation vessel (usually a carboy or bucket for a homebrewer) which the aerated wort with the yeast is in must be airtight to prevent oxidation and infection from undesired microbes.  Most vessels have a lid and airlock (a device which only allows gas/air to escape and not enter).  The vessel is then put in a dark place (to prevent damage to the yeast and subsequent off flavours) at a controlled temperature which maintains the fermenting beer within the yeast’s recommended fermentation temperature.  Temps outside of this range (which varies based on beer type) can cause undesirable flavours or stop fermentation altogether.  Most of the fermentation may only take up to a week, but it is most common to leave the beer to condition for a period of time before bottling or kegging.

6) Bottle it

When fermentation is complete, many large scale or commercial brewers will filter the yeast out of the finished beer and force carbonate it (pump in CO2) when bottling or kegging.  This is why typical commercial lager beer is usually very clear and there is no residue on the bottom of the bottle.  Most homebrewers, (and lots of craft brewers) however, do not filter out the yeast.  This means that the beer in the bottle/keg is still “alive”.  Apart from enabling the beer to “age” and change its taste profile over time, the remaining yeast in the beer will also help carbonate it naturally.  When brewers do this they first must check to make sure the fermentation/conditioning process is complete by taking a reading of the sugar content in the finished beer at bottling time (remember: the yeast ate the sugar during fermentation, but if there too much left, it will cause overcabonation and too much pressure will build up in the bottles since there will now not be a way for the CO2 to escape).  If this happens, the bottles can explode.  But, to get carbonation, you need some fermentation to continue in the bottles.  So, when the brewer knows that the fermentation has stopped, some extra sugar (called “priming sugar”) is added to the beer so that a little fermentation will start again.  The beer is then transferred to sterilized bottles and capped.

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7) Drink it
Unless the beer is filtered and force carbonated, then depending on the temperature the bottles are stored in, the beer will need a few weeks to ferment the priming sugar and cause the beer to be carbonated.  Time is also needed to additionally condition/age the beer for optimal taste. If you do decide to brew and go for a very hoppy beer though, the rules change a bit. Hoppy beers (IPA for example) are best drunk fresh as the hop flavour starts to dissipate quickly.

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Which Craft Beer Glass Should I Use? Craft Beer Glasses

Craft beer is a serious business, regardless of the carry on that goes on at the brewery! Craft beer glasses are a serious business too!

Great beers should be appreciated, and for just about every craft beer, there is a craft beer glass to go with it. If you’re like us, you’ll drink it out of whatever is closest (like a boot) but if you want to up your glass game, we’re here to help. Here’s a simple guide to show what glass should go with what beer. (Click the image for a full sized version).

Craft Beer Glasses

Glasses

Want your own McGargles Pint Glass? Check out our shop HERE

The Real McGargles?!?!

Can you imagine our surprise?! The real McGargle’s have been in touch – no joke!

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Recently, Patricia Goplin from Wisconsin in the United States contacted the us. Incredibly, she was born ‘Patricia Anne Bridget McGargle’!

Patricia’s father was 100% Irish with all his grandparents coming from Ireland. The family think the original name may have been McGarrigle because that name appears in numerous places on family records, including the family farm papers which was purchased in 1876. There were also several variations of the spelling of “McGargle” listed in the same records.

Records back then were fairly haphazard in rural areas in the States, but the family has always gone by McGargle!

Last year Patricia and her family even visited our brewery and spoke with Alex (our head brewer/chief beer geek) about the name behind the beer.

This year, Patricia braved the cold on Christmas Day to show off her McGargle’s swag with her sister Sue (another original McGargle) and her daughter Teresa.

Happy new year McGargles!!!

Santa Stout Christmas Cookies

It’s almost that time of year! You can almost hear the sleigh-bells…and as sound a bloke as Santa is, he’s also bloody demanding!

He’s coming a long way to be fair, so I suppose it’s only fair that we give himself and Rudolph a little something to nibble on after he’s made his way down the chimney. Here’s something we think he will love, and you’ll love making too. For Rudolph, you can’t go wrong with a carrot. If it ain’t broke and all that jazz…

Stout Cookies

What you’re going to need:

  • 200ml Uncle Jim’s Stout
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 Tbsp black cocoa (or unsweetened cocoa)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg

What you’re going to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with parchment.
  2. In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powders, salt, baking soda, baking powder and chocolate chips.
  3. In a larger bowl beat the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the maple syrup, vanilla and egg and beat well.
  4. Alternate the flour and the Uncle Jim’s Stout with the egg mixture until combined.
  5. Chill the dough for about 30 minutes, or until it has firmed up enough to scoop out cookies.
  6. Scoop on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes or until the top springs back lightly when touched.
  7. Cool completely.