Vanguard Beer Collective


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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

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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 
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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.

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May Craft Beer Events

We are looking forward to some fun, beer (and food) filled events this month.  Take a peak!

First up is the Killruddery House and Gardens Craft Beer and Cider Market this Saturday 3rd of May from 10 am to 6pm.  This is your chance to meet the people behind the beer and cider as they serve up some tasty brews.

Then we have a Bo Bristle Brewer’s Night at Hugh Lynch’s Pub and Restaurant Friday 16th May at 8pm where head brewer Dave Guilfoyle will talk about the beer with free samples and a Q&A sesh.

Lastly, we are thrilled to be participating in this year’s Ballymaloe Literary Food Fest 16-18 May where we will giving a short food and beer pairing demo in The Shed.




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Beer and Food Pairing: Bo Bristle Amber Ale and Harissa Steak Salad

It’s Friday afternoon and the sun is shining so thought we would bring you little weekend meal inspiration with a yummy harissa steak salad recipe.

We paired up with the talented chef and food stylist Jette Virdi to create this simple light meal that tastes great with Bo Bristle’s Amber Ale.

The beer’s light roast malt flavour is pairs nicely with the caramelization of the steak while the spice from the harissa brings out the hops on the finish.  We found it to be a delicious union and we hope you do to!  Please feel free to share your comments below.


Harissa Steak Salad Recipe:

Serves 4 as small starter


1 large sirloin aged steak

Harissa paste ( bought or made yourself , see below)

250g baby leaf mixed salad

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and pepper


Spread a good amount of Harissa paste over both sides of steak and leave overnight.

Heat griddle pan.



Wash and drain salad, place in bowl and squeeze lime juice over, give it a good mix.



Once griddle pan is hot place steak and cook roughly 3 mins on each side depending how thick. This should give you medium cook.



Slice and lay over salad, season and serve with Bo Bristle Amber Ale. The perfect summer starter!


Harissa recipe:

3 garlic cloves

4 red chillies

Good glug of olive oil

Cumin seeds

Coriander seeda


Pop everything into a blender and whizz up well. Taste and adjust, may need salt and pepper,

Squeeze of lime. Will last in fridge for roughly a week.


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
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Have you met Seán?

We think it’s right time for you to get to know our team here at Vanguard Beer Collective.  And to start off we have our fabulous craft beer representative, Seán Kenny, answering a few questions about beer, dead people and Irish expressions.  (Just be glad we didn’t ask any questions about his cat ;-)


Coffee or tea?

Tea, milk, no sugar please.

What was the best meal you had this week?

Cheese burger in Bunsen, Wexford St., yum yum.

Which famous person in history would you like to meet for a pint?

I never think about pints with dead people. I met Cam of 8 degrees, Sarah of N17 & David the Dublin Brewer so a pint with more of the Irish craft beer revolutionaries would be great.

What beer is in your fridge right now?

None- don’t get high on your own supply or I can resist anything but temptation :-)

If you were a type of beer which one would you be?

What beer is light, pale, a li’le interesting & occasionally a bit heady?

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Cheese alert. The beer sells itself so the people I meet & the places I get to visit are the juice. One place has a Muckser, Goose, Maverick and TwinkleToes to name but a few!

Favorite thing to do on a sunny Dublin afternoon:

That’s easy, go have a look under the sea – I’m a diver!

And your favorite Irish idiom:

I’m waiting for my very next opportunity to add some version of the following to a conversation- ‘and then all the toys were thrown out of the pram’!


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Amber-Ella takes home bronze from World Beer Cup

Eight Degrees Brewing pulled a fast one on the American’s and took home a bronze medal in the American Amber Ale category at this year’s World Beer Cup in Colorado.  (I can say this because I am American….and from Colorado.)

Their Amber-Ella beer fits the style perfectly with it’s American and Australian hops and balanced malt flavours. This is a big deal not just for the brewery but for all Irish craft brewers as it helps put Ireland on the map in an American and UK dominated market.

Keep in mind that there were over 4,700 entries from 1,400 breweries from 58 different countries in this “Olympics of beer” competition.  This was no easy feat and we are delighted for the lads (yes I say lads) at Eight Degrees.  Well done!

You can still hear the gittyness in Cam’s voice in an interview here on Today FM (scroll to 46:45)

Now, go grab an Amber-Ella and judge for yourself.



Scott, Mike and Cam