Last weekend, I visited my Dad in Enniscorthy. The day before I was set to go down, I did a quick check on the BeoirFinder app as I was sure there was an up-and-coming brewery nearby. Called Jack Doyle's, it was about 25 minutes away from Enniscorthy so I shot them a mail to see if anyone would be around on Saturday afternoon. sure enough, there would be.
The brewery was actually in a large house. It turns out that Liam, the owner was in construction until the recession and he built that house along with a couple of others in the area. The brewery is named after his son, Jack.
Walking through the door however, I emerged in to what I can only describe as a pub. This could be any country pub in Ireland and it's more spacious than some. The plan is that it will be a tasting room for visitors. The bottles on the shelves are empty and for only for display. They catalogue the "research" that was undertaken before they started brewing. The only two taps are for the two beers that they currently brew. There was actually no finished beer on site because they had just sold it all.
In a little room, just behind the bar was their little microbrewery. It was about as large as I expected from a small start up brewery that looked to be a brew pub of sorts. It's a 3 barrel kit, a unit of measurement I never understand so converted, it's a little under 500 litres. I've seen smaller kits used commercially but it is really tiny and only suitable for a brewpub scenario unless you have lots of fermenters, something this little room was lacking. I was told they would bring me out to see the rest so I figured they had a separate fermenting room. It turned out they didn't.
They had a great big brewery in what I can only describe as the best use for a swimming pool I have ever seen. It cost so much to run during the recession that they just couldn't justify it. Potential brewers should take note, find an old swimming pool and stick a brewery in it! I don't recall the kit size but I think it was a 2000 litre kit with plenty of fermenters and conditioning tanks. It hasn't been used yet, or at least not commercially. They were planning on starting to brew this week or maybe next so I imagine that the reach of Jack Doyle's beer will soon extend beyond the local towns of Wexford. They will be moving the small kit in to the main brewery to act as their pilot brewery.
The swimming pool idea serves a duel purpose. The gentle slop down to the deep end provides the ideal drainage but they put rails around it so when they have tours, they can simply walk people around in safety while brewing is going on, without having to worry about someone slipping or falling. They can then head back to the tasting room to try the beer.
I said that there was no finished beer available but I was treated to the beer straight from the fermenters. The stout was 5 days and the pale ale was 9 days in the tanks and they were pretty much ready to drink in my opinion. In fact, having them that way meant I could see what the beer would potentially be like if they ever decide to cask condition. The two beers are ideal for this.
They have barely started producing beer and already, they have received an honourable mention at the Brussels Beer Challenge. I can't really review the beer as I haven't had the finished product but both were fantastic from the fermenter. Especially the stout. It leans more towards the sweeter chocolate end of the scale rather than the bitter roast end so think more Murphy's and less Guinness.
I didn't write anything down so I hope I got the details correct, if anything is in error, I will correct it later.