Brian and Stephen’s ale is now available to the public in the Open Gate Brewery at St James’s Gate for a limited time.
The two finalist brews were picked from over 70 entrants nationwide as homebrewers across the country began brewing Christmas Ales last September for this inaugural challenge.
Judged by Smithwick’s brewers, members of the National Homebrew Club and expert beer bloggers, the top two brews were examined for taste profile, aroma, mouthfeel and appearance.
Prior to the announcement, Stephen and Brian’s cinnamon, nutmeg and star anise brew and runner-up Sebastian Kondol’s apple, cinnamon and spiced ginger brew ‘Apple Pie Ale’ were sampled in 10 pubs – JW Sweetmans, P Macs, The Old School House, The Jar – all in Dublin, Lavery’s in Belfast, Seven Bridge Street in Galway, The Ovens and The Thomond in Cork, The Curraghgower in Limerick and Cleeres in Kilkenny – for a national taste test with the public asked to choose their favourite brew.
The winner was revealed at an event in the Open Gate Brewery attended by national beer brewing enthusiasts and media.
Taste was the most important factor in the Challenge. Smithwick’s brewer Jasmin Winterer profiled Brian and Stephen’s Old Town Christmas Ale as having ‘a liquorice and cinnamon aroma with a hint of orange’ and as ‘a cinnamon, nutmeg and star anise beer’ with ‘a warming full body and dry finish’.