Last March GBB(Galway Bay Brewery) took to social media to announced the release of a one off special beer, a TRIPLE RED IPA ! three of my favourite words in the beer world i had to check it out.
As I walked up to the Salthouse bar that evening there was already an impressive crowd outside everyone glass in hand sipping on the mammoth 11.5% Red IPA. Inside the bar was packed out with the barman flat out pouring glass after glass . The beer was called “Change of the guard” a collaboration between the old head brewer of GBB Chris Treanor and the newly appointed head brewer Will Avery.
Having been to release nights of GBB beers before I expected a busy bar but this was different. I couldn’t help but think to myself is craft beer in Ireland starting in some way reaching the levels of attention and interest it gets in the U.S and U.K?
Probably wishful thinking on my part but craft beer interest is on the up in Ireland and GBB has played a big part in the movement. If your drinking a craft beer in Dublin chances are it’s in a GBB bar with 9 bars dotted around the capital city. The formula to their success as been well run bars to showcase there own range of beers along side a great selection of other beers from Ireland and abroad.
From humble beginnings a brew pub the Oslo in Salthill Galway to a now expanding brewery and 11 soon to be 12 bars. Business is going well but every good business needs to be built on steady ground and in this case it’s the beer that makes up the solid foundations of GBB
The man now charged with the job of keeping the foundations in place is the new head brewer Will Avery.
Will a native of Atlanta Georgia began his brewing at the age of 18 as a means of negating US alcohol laws, if you can’t buy it well you just have to make it.
Home brewing remained a hobby throughout his collage days and after several career changes he found himself working in the Burnt Hickory brewery.Over time he climbed the ranks and eventually found himself in the position of head brewer.
In his time there he brought Burnt Hickory from a local nano brewery to one the most respected in the state
While on a family vacation in Ireland last year Will of course took an interest in Irish beer. Inevitable he came into contact with GBB and head brewer Chris. Will must have made a good impression as some months later he was contacted by GBB about a potentially move to Galway too become the head brewer as Chris Treanor was making a movie to White frontier brewery in Switzerland.
The opportunity for a new adventure in Ireland for the Avery family was grabbed with both hands. Will made the move to Galway last February and it has been a busy time keeping all the GBB bars supplied while overseeing the new expansion.
The collaboration beer between Will and Chris was indeed a fitting way to celebrate the handover but it wasn’t all smooth sailing the “brew day from hell” as Will put it tested the GBB equipment to the max!
The now well used mash tun struggled to handle the massive grain bill required for the giant beer. The 12 hour plus brew day highlighted the need for the upgrade that was already planned.
The new system will doubled their output capabilities, too accommodate the new gear GBB have literally busted a hole in their wall to the unit next door. As well as housing the new equipment it leaves room for further expansion down the road.
Will also has his eye on some of the space for a potential barrel ageing project. Something that has proved very successful before with the 200 Fathoms stout Teelings whisky collaboration. This limited edition cask aged beer has fans all over Ireland scrambling for bottles of the latest version.
The brand new brewing system comes from Italy from the Eco brew tech company. Installation took one hectic long week with the new equipment been put to the test asap. The new more efficient brewery will open the door to more exciting brews while the old system as served them well it had its limitations. On my visit to the brewery Will and crew where busy getting the hang of the new system but very excited about what lies ahead creatively for GBB exciting times indeed for Irish beer lover’s.