New US artisan beer company inspired by Beara
THE Beara peninsula is about to become a force to be reckoned with in the artisan beer industry. A new US-based micro-brewery in planning, the Beara Irish Brewing Company, is not only naming its beers after places on the peninsula, but aiming to source Irish barley as the base of its brews and looking to connect with Beara businesses for other ingredients.
The Beara Irish Brewing Company is run by husband and wife team Michael and Louise Potorti. Louise is from Bere Island, and it was on one of their regular visits to the island that they came up with the idea of an artisan micro-brewery, using where possible, ingredients sourced from both Beara and Ireland as a whole.
Louise and Michael lived in Europe for five years, where they had the opportunity to sample many local brews and Michael visited the famed beer festival, Oktoberfest in Munich. On relocating to New Hampshire, USA with their three young daughters, they soon came to realise that there was a market for genuine, handcrafted artisan Irish beers.
Louise commented: ‘When we returned to the US, we thought so-called Irish beers were an insult to Ireland, to be quite honest. We knew we could do better and that the public deserved good, quality beer. So, we got to work on developing brews with a pure Irish barley malt base. The recipes were a hit with our friends and our Castletown Honey Brown Ale even won an award. We knew we were onto something so now we are looking to expand on our home-brewing capabilities by expanding into a commercial facility here in New Hampshire.’
The couple import genuine Irish barley malt, and currently use locally sourced ingredients from New Hampshire for their beers:
‘We use genuine two-row Irish barley malt as the base for all our brews. We don't think any other brewery based in the US is doing this.’
Currently the company produces three ales, which include Castletown Honey Brown Ale, an Irish ale made with local honey, and their Baruil Irish Pale Ale, which is made from three different hops, and named after Louise’s family, the Baruil Sullivans. Reflecting on the cosmopolitan nature of the Beara Peninsula, the Hungry Hill Hefeweizen is made with Irish barley and German wheat and yeast.
Michael and Louise say that although their current set-up is quite small, they are in the process of expanding to a 400-litre system, which will allow them to supply restaurants, bars and retail outlets with their brews.
Michael says ultimately they would like to combine quality brews with great food. ‘The couple will be visiting Beara in the next few weeks and plan to provide samples of the Beara Irish Brewing Company offerings while there.