Vanguard Beer Collective

Month: May 2014

By in News 0

Tempted? We are…

We are pleased to welcome Tempted? Irish Craft Cider to our product portfolio this week.  You can now stock premium Irish craft cider along side your Irish craft beer offerings!  Woohoo!

What do we love about Tempted? Irish Craft Cider?  Well, for starters they are an entirely family owned cidery based in Co. Down.  Davy began making juice and cider out of locally sources apples in his very own purpose built cidery at home.  For Davy quality is key which is why he hand picks only the best apples from Armagh and Tipperary for his cider.  Let’s say that again, he hand picks his apples.  We highly recommend learning more about Tempted’s brewing methods here.

So… a delicious, refreshing, high quality cider made in Ireland by a family of four? Are you Tempted?

The entire Tempted? range is now available in 500ml x 12 cases with the Summer Sweet also available in 30L KeyKegs.  For more info please email


By in News 0

Talking Craft Beer & Food at Ballymaloe

This past weekend we were proud to be a part the second annual Ballymaloe Literary Food and Wine Festival in Co. Cork. The festival brought acclaimed chefs from all over the world for demonstrations, panel discussions, book signings and more.  Local producers sold and sampled artisan products while musicians and DJs carried us through the night.  Plus there wasn’t a big brand brew in sight!  Only Irish craft beer flowed through the taps at this event which was a refreshing, and delicious, change from normal events of this scale.

Our very own Julie Levy held an intimate Introduction to Food and Wine Pairing demo in The Big Shed on Saturday where she featured beers from Blacks of Kinsale, N17 Brewery and Eight Degrees with local fair (see delicious pairings listed below).  You see, we believe in tasty beverages full of flavour so it is only natural that we are big into the delicious flavours of food as well.  Contrary to what you might have been told beer is a much more versatile libation to pair with food than wine.  There are more variations and styles of beer so you know you can always find something to accompany even the most difficult to pair items like vingerary salad dressings or bitter dark chocolate (fyi berliner weisse and barely wine respectively). Not too mention you can pair different beers with the same dish for different, yet equally enjoyable, results.  For example, grab a big hoppy IPA to bring out the spice in Thai coconut curry or if you rather put out heat and highlight the other flavours go for a sweeter, yeasty beer like a Belgian tripel.

Much fun is to be had in the ways of matching beer and food, as you may have seen already in our other beer and food pairings here and here.  Watch this space for more beer and food pairing tips and recipes from Julie soon to follow.


Perhaps we should take this opportunity to officially introduce our fantastic marketeer Julie Levy who joined the team this March and who has, among other things, contributed fun, beer filled posts to this blog ever since.

Julie is from Calif-rado! That’s California & Colorado. Yep, raised in California, and fell in love with(in) Colorado, our Ms Levy is adventure. She surfs the cold waters off the Irish coast, trail runs in the Wicklow Mountains and enjoys cycling around the city. Described as a lover of noodles, craft beer enthusiast and superb parallel parker she knows which end of a camera to point and has a degree to prove it. Having worked for brewers on both sides of the Atlantic she knows her beer and wants you to know it too.  Which is why she loves leading staff trainings and beer tastings for our customers continually on a mission to bridge the gap between the brewer and the consumer. She manages all of our PR and digital marketing, including this here blog, she designs chalkboard menus, window displays, brochures and more.  Did we mention she is also studying graphic design? So you can blame her for those fancy Irish craft beer posters.  Be sure to try out her craft beer and food pairings below if you missed them at her demo on Saturday.


Blacks of Kinsale Pale Ale w/ Gubbeen cows milk cheese.

N17 Rye Ale w/ Gubbeen fresh chorizo.

Eight Degrees Knockmealdown Porter w/ Morton’s chocolate peanut butter cookies.

By in News 0

Beer and Food Pairing: Blacks KPA and Salt Baked Fish

Welcome to our next beer and food collaboration with the very talented Chef and Food Stylist Jette Virdi. Last time Jette brought you a tasty steak salad creation that we paired with Bo Bristle’s Amber Ale.  Today we have a salt baked fish recipe for two paired with Blacks of Kinsale Pale Ale (KPA).

I promise this recipe is simpler than it looks and it is guaranteed to wow your date when you crack open the salt shell at the table.  Because the recipe brings the heat with a blend of chili and garlic we paired it with a the hoppy, but light, KPA from Blacks of Kinsale.  Besides, what better beer to have with fish than one from a fishing village ;-)

We found Blacks KPA to be delicious with this dish because it didn’t over power the delicateness of the fish yet it was bold enough to highlight its spicy and aromatic flavours.  The beer’s delicious tropical and citrus flavours from cascade and citra hops paired really nicely with the lime and fresh herbs in this recipe. But don’t take my word for it.  Try it out for yourself.  And do let us know how you get on!



2 whole fish unscaled but gutted. Preferable sea bass or rainbow trout

Salt…lots of it. Regular table salt or rock salt

4 chillies: 2 green, 2 red

2 garlic cloves

1 lime, cut into wheels

handful of parsley/coriander


Poppy Seed Slaw

¼ red cabbage, sliced finely

4 carrots, peeled and shredded

2 Tbsp natural yoghurt

juice of one lemon

1 tsp poppy seeds


Preheat oven to 180C.

Get the 2 green and 1 red chillies and pop into a blender with a bit of olive oil and garlic.  Whiz till a paste.  Generously spread the mixture around the cavity of the fish.  Then lay a few slices of lime, remaining red chili (halved) and the fresh herbs in the cavity of each fish.


In a bowl mix a large amount of salt with a couple of tablespoons of water.  You want a consistency of wet sand.  Add water little by little until you have the right consistency.


On a baking tray make a layer of the salt/water mix. Place the fish and its filling on this.  Then cover with salt and pack tightly.  You ideally don’t want to be able to see any part of the fish although if the tail is sticking out it’s no big deal.  Pop into the oven for 15-20mins.  Check by sticking a knife into the the flesh.  When taken out if it’s piping hot then the fish is cooked.


Whilst the fish is cooking, mix the veggies, yoghurt, lemon juice and poppy seeds together to make a slaw.


Remove fish from the oven and crack open the salt at the table. Peel the skin off and enjoy with a cold glass of Blacks KPA.  Cheers!


 Jette Virdi is a regular contributor to Easy Food Magazine and Image Magazine and is co-founder of The Workshop People, a one-stop-workshop for an evening of bespoke food, DIY, meeting new people, plus a couple beverages, all under one roof.  You can follow Jette@WoodandC or visit her website

By in News 0

Now Available on Draught!

Bo Bristle Pilsner Lager


Introducing the latest brew from Bo Bristle Brewery out of Co. Offaly, their No. 3 Pilsner Lager!  Now available to pubs and restaurants in 30L KeyKegs. (bottles available soon)

This refreshing, medium-full bodied beer uses tangy Czech varieties of hops that impart floral aromas and leave you with a crisp, bitter finish.  Pours light in colour with a dense, white head.  Best served cold (4 – 7 C)* in a pilsner glass (pictured here).

pilsnerglassThis beer goes great with lighter foods like chicken, salmon and salads.  Or try the classic pairing of pils and brats. Yum!

For more information on how to get your hands on some of this tasty lager please email us at

*Temperature recommendation from 
By in News 0

The Rotating Craft Beer Tap

What is the story with the “rotating beer tap” anyway you ask?

The rotating beer tap offers customers a different (craft) beer every time they walk through the pub door.  It is common practice for bars and restaurants in the US and UK to do this and craft beer drinkers love it!  They are always interested in trying the latest beer on the market or the newest brew from one of their favorite breweries.

You could look at this concept from three perspectives; as the consumer, the publican, and the brewer.

Again, your typical craft beer drinker knows which breweries are making good beer and they will always willing to try a new brew from a reliable brewery. Much of the fun for the craft beer drinker is to stay ahead of the curve by sampling the newest brews on the market.  As the craft beer industry grows in Ireland so too will off-licence sales as more people will turn to having one or two nice beers at home with dinner rather than hit the pub or drink nothing at all. Publicans and off licences can use craft beer to mix it up regularly in order keep customers interested.

It may be daunting for the publican to think about switching to a new brew every time a keg goes dry.  Not to mention having to open a new account every time a new brewery is formed (which is pretty often these days).  Of course, that is where we come in.  We offer the publican or restaurateur access to many different breweries with a single consolidated order, delivery and invoice saving them the time and hassle.  Irish craft beer pubs are almost expected to rotate through a few different beers, especially seasonals.  In fact, if you are self proclaimed Irish craft beer pub and aren’t rotating  through beers you are missing out on a huuuge opportunity. However, If your bar has only one or two taps dedicated to craft beer, hidden back in a corner, it may be wiser to stick with one brand until you are ready to offer a wider range.

The craft brewers are potentially the ones most affected by the rotating beer tap.  There exists a concern that it could be more challenging for breweries to develop brand awareness if they are constantly being shuffled in and out of establishments.  However, it is possible for breweries to get around this by embracing pubs with rotating taps while also targeting accounts that are willing to dedicate more permanent real estate.  All is not lost.  Brewers can be sure that Vanguard is rotating their beer regularly through these taps.  We make it easier for the brewer by managing the installation of taps and line cleaning,  as well as point of sale marketing and promotion, emergency maintenance and payment processing.

So, the conclusion is…

Rotating craft beer taps = good

Rotating IRISH craft beer taps = better

Rotating Irish craft beer + Vanguard = BEST



Stayed tuned for my next rant about the growler.

Sidenote:  I have reason to believe that some of the articles I have linked to in this post are 3 or 4 years old because this concept has already been so heavily addressed outside of Ireland. It may very well be that rotating beer taps is old news at this point.


Posted by Julie Levy

Julie is Vanguard’s PR and Marketing Guru.  She is a native Californian, Angeleno in fact, so please excuse her strange way of speaking and weird sense of humor.