Farmhouse beers from Donegal

On the ground

Missing Your Favourite Kinnegar in the West of Ireland?

We recently changed our distribution partner for the west of Ireland. And while we hope the transition will go as smoothly as possible, we can’t rule out the odd bump or two in the supply chain.

But don’t despair! Should you find yourself unable to get your favourite Kinnegar in your favourite pub, restaurant or off-license, be sure to let the staff know that they can either contact us here at the brewery or else call Paul Russell of Grand Cru Beers on 086 185 2944. Between us, we’ll get the beer flowing to them again.

And a big thanks, as ever, for your continued support.

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Where was Kinnegar four years ago?

As the clock ticks rapidly in the direction of K2, it’s hard not to think back to what was going on when K1 was coming to life. We’re going to root out some photos of the development phase over the next few days but this photo provides the answer to the first question.

Four years ago, in January 2013, we were still working in the pilot brewery. Rick brewed. Libby packaged. Very straightforward. Here’s a rare photo of Rick at work in what our future American intern, Maxmarie, would immortally dub “Minniegar”. Photography in the steam-filled room was always a bit of a challenge.

We brewed 50L batches and production, by the time we moved out of Minniegar, was 150L per week. That translated into an average of 120L of packaged product, or 240 bottles of beer a week.

Limeburner, Devil’s Backbone, Scraggy Bay and Rustbucket were all born in Minniegar.

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Proud to be Independent Irish Craft Beer

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Today we’re proud to make a small but immensely significant update to our admittedly antiquated website. Those of you lucky enough to be viewing it on a desktop may rotate your eyes slightly to the right and note the Independent Irish Craft Beer symbol at the side of this page.

At a time when our big beer brethern have disgraced themselves, we intend to beat the drum with renewed vigour to herald the presence of the quality beers that we brew and bottle in our independently-owned brewery in Ireland.

On the 3 October 2016, the Independent Craft Brewers of Ireland (ICBI) launched the official symbol for independently brewed Irish craft beer. This symbol differentiates real Irish craft beer from the less authentic pretenders. It reassures consumers that what’s in their glass is an Irish beer made from start to finish at an independently-owned Irish microbrewery.

Over the coming months we’ll be proudly displaying the symbol on our packaging, promotional material and in every other meaningful context.

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Belfast beats the craft beer drum

April has a distinctly busy feel to it, despite the absence of its usual tenant, Easter. Amongst a lengthening list of activities, two trips to Belfast feature prominently on the Kinnegar calendar. We’re not the only ones focussed on the Lagan — The Guardian has already been doing some legwork scouting for craft beer (> read here):

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Tomorrow, Saturday 9 April, Rick will be at BrewBot for a Kinnegar Tap Takeover featuring an eclectic-sounding beer and food pairing menu. Tickets for the main menu are long sold out but don’t let that stop you going along to enjoy the full range of beers.

And on 21/22/23 April, we’ll be setting out our stall for the inaugural Belfast Craft Beer Festival at Custom House Square. There we’ll join an impressive line-up of friends and colleagues from Ireland’s fertile brewing landscape.

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How did we end up here?

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Anita Guidera and Don McMahan of Soft Irish Rain Productions asked the question as part of their 10-part documentary series for Highland Radio.

> You can listen to the answer here.

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Tom gets us out of a tight squeeze with a tight squeeze

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On a day when we had a dire need for cases and empty kegs Tom pulled out all the stops: 6 pallets of cases and 7 empty kegs in Big Red. An all-time record. All in a day’s work for Tom…

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The Tea Break

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Spring sunshine quickly banishes memories  of last week’s winter…

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The Louandron: Efficiency in the high-tech world of beer labelling

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Ever wondered what kind of a machine we have for labelling our specials? It’s a very unusual custom-made model called a Louandron and is absolutely unique to Kinnegar Brewing. Here it is concluding the labelling of Geuzberry yesterday in record time.

Note that the pallet of cases in the photo below is the sum total of the 384L of bottled Geuzberry stock. Please don’t give your local outlet grief if they don’t have any — there’s just not enough to go round!

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Brewers v. Packagers on a sunny September day

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There are no rules about lining out according to department — it just looks like a stand off!

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From horses to hoses: Lateral thinking for brewers

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We get pretty good at thinking laterally to solve problems in this remote rural corner of Europe.

Problem: How can we find out how the inner surfaces of our trusty brewery hoses are standing up to daily wear and tear after two years of hard use?
Clue: What else around us is similar to a hose? Eureka! A horse’s windpipe!
Solution: Rhona the vet scopes our hoses just as she would one of our horses!

No stone left unturned in the quality control at Kinnegar… Good thinking, Rachel. Thank you, Rhona!

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Brewers sunrise on the Swilly

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Double-brew days here at Kinnegar mean a very early start for Rachel. Barely a week ago she was deafened daily by ferocious squalls hurling themselves against the tin roof of the brewery as she went about her brewer’s work. This week has been serene by contrast. As she says herself, a camera just can’t do justice to the view out the malt loft window.

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Finding a Kinnegar in Kinnegarland

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With many local products, finding them “locally” can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. Fish in Donegal, for instance…

While Kinnegar’s reach nationwide has grown steadily over the last 18 months, in our local territory of north east Donegal the heavy lifting has been done by a relatively small number of outlets. In the off-license world, Whoriskey’s in Ramelton and The Counter in Letterkenny have been true Kinnegar heroes and remain the best local source for our full range of beers, specials included. Happily they’re now receiving strong support from a few more key outlets. You’ll find our regular range in Kellys Centra on the Mountain Top and Kernan’s Eurospars in Moorefield and Newtowncunningham.

Our reach across pubs and restaurants locally has also grown. Our Kinnegar heroes here in Rathmullan are the White Harte, Beachcomber, Belles Kitchen and Rathmullan House, while Aengus in the Olde Glen Bar is the daddy of all craft publicans in this part of the world and is responsible for more Kinnegar conversions than any other man standing. Nearby in Carrigart, Chris in Logues is following in Aengus’s footsteps while Ryan in the Carrigart Hotel is now championing the cause. And in Dunfanaghy, we’re very happy to see the Dunfanaghy Golf Club add us to their shelf, joining The Mill, Arnolds and Cafe Arnou in that part of the world.

Close to home in Ramelton, the Bridge Bar continues to please its clientele with Kinnegar while down the town, another American Rick in Shaughnessys and Joe in Conways are now proudly stocking our beers. Michael in the Travellers Inn in Milford is a longtime supporter as is Aaron in Nora’s, Kilmacrennan. Perennial Letterkenny favourite, McGinleys, stock our bottles and for an impressive draught offering (which includes some Camden and Porterhouse as well as Kinnegar), Voodoo’s new upstairs taproom and winebar, House, is not to be missed. Pats on the Square and the Lemontree, two of our most loyal advocates, are now joined in the beer-with-food cause by the Yellow Pepper, Stateside and the Radisson. On the fringes of our local bright lights, Browns on the Green at Letterkenny Golf Club and the Silver Tassie proudly serve their local beer.

For a comprehensive list of stockists (which we keep as up-to-date as we can), take a scroll down through our stockists page.

And just one word of caution: Don’t be too hard on your local publican or off-license if they’re out of Scraggy Bay. It’s not their fault that we just can’t keep up with demand for Yellowcap!

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And on the subject of lambs…

Our colleague Louise has discovered a great new use for Scraggy Bay at her home farm. We’ll leave it to her to reveal what’s actually in the bottle and how tasty the marinade turns out to be!

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Brewery Woollies

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We’re not sure what position this lad is applying for this morning? Then again he may have been casing the joint because he had a back-up gang waiting just outside the wall…

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Taproom opening hours for holiday season

With the exception of Monday 29 December, The Taproom is open from Saturday 27 December to Saturday 3 January. Opening hours are 5–9pm daily except for New Year’s Day when we will be open from 1–8pm.

Brewery Tours are available on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day at 1pm. Booking is essential (086 830 1392).

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Farewell to the hops

Every gardener (and farmer, presumably) scratches his head now and again and wonders whether more effort is spent on life or death. It often seems that more time goes into killing pests or keeping them at bay than actually growing plants!

Our virgin hop harvest has succumbed to a plague of flies and Margaret, Head of the Hop Crop, has taken positive action. We’ll just have to give it a shot again next year…

Farewell to the Hops


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Donegal!!!!!

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Work of art

Isn’t art the mirror of its time? Ronnie Blake takes great pride in the quality of the meals he serves at his excellent café in Rathmullan, Belle’s Kitchen. He takes equal care with what hangs on the walls. He reconciled the two when commissioning his sister-in-law, Linda, to create an artwork to suit the business. We’re very proud to take our place alongside all the great subjects of the centuries-old tradition of still life. And how nice it is to have a permanent reminder of our early labels – hopefully they’ll ensure that Ronnie’s enlightened commission becomes a real collector’s item.

Still Life with Devil's Backbone


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And not forgetting the real Kinnegar…

The Kinnegar 23 July


Rubbing shoulders with gardening nuns and bakers

It’s a while now since Mary Brophy visited the brewery as part of her series “Our Food”. Recorded over six months, Mary travelled the county meeting pig farmers, oyster farmers, vegetable producers and restaurateurs — and of course a brewery. She’s discovered how good food isn’t just about nutrition, it’s also about community and getting back to basics.

The first episode was broadcast last Thursday and you can now listen to the podcast, if you missed it:  Our Food, Episode 1

We’re Mary’s second visit on this episode but be sure you hear from the gardening nuns of south Donegal before us and the folk at Ramelton’s country market afterwards.


New York 1988 to Donegal 2014

Who ever knows where life will lead? Rick could hardly have guessed that a job at CIEE in New York in the late 1980s would eventually lead him to the periphery of Europe and the life of a brewer. Yesterday evening we welcomed some old friends from those halcyon days and found that we enjoyed each other’s company as much as ever. Little has really changed except the quality of the pizzas and beer!

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Summertime and The Taproom is open

It’s summer season and The Taproom is open full time. Enjoy our farmhouse beers with wonderful wood-fired pizza from 1pm until 9pm daily. Great food and beer guaranteed — have a word with God about the weather.

Chris McGlynn x 4 Pizza Again


Reconciling different strands of life

There are very few brewers in Ireland who have pursued a linear career path. Kinnegar’s roots are broad and diverse. They include the world of visual communication, perhaps explaining why displays like these at McDaid’s in Dublin and Shells in Strandhill appeal to us. Thanks to both of you for promoting Kinnegar so beautifully and thanks to Di-Sien for sending on the Shells photo.

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David and Goliath

We love this photograph that Dave Robb shot in Furey’s pub, Sligo. We didn’t even have to sharpen our elbows to get in amongst the big boys — Paul O’Donnell is a great supporter of craft beers and is introducing them very successfully to an increasingly enthusiastic clientele.

David and Goliath