Back to the originals: celebrating the craft beer trail-blazers

Beerista: New initiative aims to encourage drinkers to sample the founding beers of the craft movement

The beers that first got the craft movement rolling will be back in the limelight next month for the launch of “Flagship February”. It’s all part of a drive to remind drinkers of the founding beers that sometimes seem a little lost in the vast mix of newbies and one-offs on the shelves these days.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Founders All Day pale ale have a special place in the hearts of many beer drinkers – being the first beers to convert them to craft – though you’d have to wonder how many return to drink these brands now, given there’s so many other, locally-produced and high-quality beers on offer.

I guess the originators of any movement always tend to get a bit left behind when everyone else catches on – either way, reflecting on the first craft beers that hit Irish pubs, and inspired many of the brewers now running their own operations here, certainly marks an interesting point about how far we’ve come in the evolution of craft beer.

Originating in the United States, the Flagship February initiative has also spread to these shores where Grand Cru Beers are hosting a series of events over the month to get people sampling – or returning to – some of the old favourites including Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, Saison Dupont and Porterhouse Plain, which is one of Ireland’s original craft beers.


“We want to bring new drinkers back to the original of the species,” says Phil Tavey of Grand Cru Beers. “It’s also an attempt to refocus people on what got craft beer to where it is now . . . it’s an homage to the trail-blazers and flagship beers.”

Look out for Flagship February pop-up events and “pint buys” in pubs around Ireland, including Sin E, the Porterhouse, Against the Grain and others in Dublin, Caribou in Galway, Impala in Cork and plenty more to be announced.