Food Month podcast: Tasting beer for a living. Well someone’s got to do it

Lilly Higgins and Sorcha Hamilton discuss craft beer, destination breweries and no-alcohol brews

Lots of people might see drinking beer as an ideal job, and Irish Times Beerista Sorcha Hamilton's journey of discovery with craft beer has been full of eye openers.

Hamilton didn't drink beer much at college – "my memory of beer then is not of enjoying it" – but when her husband started home brewing years later, she started to take an interest in the process and in the ingredients, a curiosity that has developed over the past seven years, as the craft brewing scene has got momentum in Ireland.

Mind you, “it really takes over your home. The house was full of hop fumes. We were getting interesting deliveries to the door of foil-wrapped yeast and dried hops.” And Hamilton observes: “There’s a lot of hard graft in brewing. I’m happy to be on tasting end.”

In the podcast Hamilton and Higgins also chat about how to organise a fun tasting session; the advantages of cooking with beer; why breweries have started using cans instead of bottles; the trend for lower alcohol craft beers, and how no-alcohol beer tastes so much better than no-alcohol wine.


Then there’s the growth of destination breweries, such as the Burren Brewery, where Hamilton describes the joy drinking their beer, made from wild yeast, while looking out at the Burren from the brewery.