As travel slowly picks up in 2021, I’m sure you have a long list of destinations to eventually visit. Maybe a hop to England for the London Beer Mile, or Belgium for a selection of Trappist ales. Like many others, maybe you want to visit Ireland for a smooth pint of Guinness in a cozy pub. However, if you only think of Guinness when considering Irish beer, then you’re missing out. Ireland has become one of the most interesting beer markets in Europe, and you are sure to find plenty of brews to fulfill your specific interests. I could easily fill an article with killer breweries and bars that have wrecked my bank account over the years. However, if you’re looking for a truly unique Irish beer, make your way to County Clare. Clare is most well known for the Cliffs of Moher, which may have been on your bucket list for years or maybe you just recognize them from the 6th Harry Potter film. However, only a short drive from there you will find the town of Lisdoonvarna. Lisdoonvarna is home to the Burren Brewery, named after the surrounding Burren National Park, a park known for its unusual lunar-like landscape. What should you order first? Their Euphoria beer.
Euphoria is a gruit beer, a style historically brewed with absolutely no hops. Euphoria is made exclusively with three wild yeast varietals that the brewer found locally in the Burren park. Instead of hop flavors, the taste is defined by the addition of Yarrow, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Blossom, Mugwort, Rosemary, and sometimes Nettle, all of which are also found in the Burren park. The resulting beer is refreshing and lemony, pours like a cider, and is almost Lambic-like. The beer is even said to sometimes have mild euphoric effects, resulting in the tag “the happy beer”.
This brew can only be found at the Roadside Tavern in Lisdoonvarna, where you can also find the Burren Brewery’s Stout, Lager, and Red Ale pouring. If you’re trying to turn this unique beer excursion into a longer stay, then consider booking accommodation in September, when the famous Matchmaking Festival is hosted in Lisdoonvarna. It’s the largest matchmaking festival in Europe, and it is a sight to see. It draws thousands every year, whether they’re looking for a relationship or just to day-drink with friends.
Seriously, give it a google. The festival centers around matchmaker Willie Daly, who over the past 50 years has helped arrange over 3,000 marriages. He keeps it old school and stays organized using a giant book full of love profiles. When I wandered around the festival, I was met with packed pubs, non-stop Irish Country music (a genre that simply cannot and should not be described), and decorations that brought back horrid memories from awkward Valentine’s Day parties in elementary school.
Euphoria is a seasonal beer so consider contacting the Burren Brewery in advance if you’re hoping to taste this unique beer on your travels. Regardless, safe journey, happy drinking, and sláinte!