Wednesday, March 25, 2015

THE recently established 12 Acres Brewing Company at Clonmore, Killeshin, Carlow has scooped a bronze medal at the Alltech Dublin Craft Beer Cup at the Dublin Convention Centre in the Irish Financial Services Centre (IFSC).

12 Acres is a newly-established micro brewing company, which has been set up by the four McDonald brothers – Patrick, Ian, Barry and Rory – on their family farm. It is one of the new wave of craft breweries being established on the island to satisfy the growing demand for local artisan craft beer.

Paddy McDonald told The Nationalist “We are thrilled with the award. I only entered the competition in the hope of getting some feedback from the panel of judges, who are all master brewers and beer tasters from all over the world.

“I did not expect to win a medal because there were over 450 beers from around the world from as far away as Venezuela, Russia and all over Europe, as well as Ireland. The 12 Acres beer was in the pale ale category, which was a very competitive category as it is a particularly popular style of craft beer. We brew with our own malting barley grown on the family farm and utilise our own spring water from deep beneath the same ground, which makes it very unique and traceable from ground to glass.

“Our pale ale uses our own malted barley as the majority of the grain bill. We also use a mix of three other European speciality malts to give it some caramel flavours and extra texture.”

Paddy says 12 Acres is all natural, fresh beer, unfiltered, unpasteurised and has no preservatives. “We are getting great feedback and support locally from the trade and the public, which has been beyond our expectation,” he commented.

The brewing company name comes from the 12 Acres field on the McDonald farm, which was bought by the brothers’ great-grandfather, John McDonald. Patrick picks up the story: “Back in the 1920s, he started growing malting barley for the brewing industry. An image of him during the barley threshing is the main feature of our labels and branding, so it’s a nice tribute to him and a nice connection to the land and the barley.”

The idea for a brewing company ‘fermented’ when Paddy McDonald got home from travelling in 2010. “It was the middle of the recession and things were quiet on the work front, so I started to learn how to brew and got a basic qualification through the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.

“We are in the process of setting up a micro brewery on the farm and as that is happening we are brewing on-contract with a micro-brewery in Co Cork, where we bring our malted barley and water down every month and brew a small batch and bring it back in bottle and keg to distribute from Clonmore”.

The 12 Acres beer is stocked in all local independent off-licences in Carlow, in O’Brien’s Wines nationwide and it’s distributed by Tully’s Wholesale Ltd across the region.

12 Acres Brewing

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By Charlie Keegan
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