Home Blog Page 2

Cook: Best Beer and Prawn Pairing

Reverse engineering can be a lot of fun. That’s what I’m about to show you. A reverse-engineered recipe. I can’t take credit for it though. I first came across it in Masterson’s Steakhouse, Swords, three years ago. Since that first encounter, a friend of mine, Nigel, has done the reverse engineering side of things. This sizzling creamy spicy prawn recipe has become one of my goto favourite dishes and I thought it only right I pair it with the perfect beer for the job.

best beer to pair with prawns

Info and Cook Time

  • serves 2
  • takes about 20 minutes


  • 12 prawns (feel free to add more)
  • A nice loaf of bread (ciabatta)
  • 250 ml double cream
  • a squeeze of lemon
  • 2 small shallots/onions
  • 3/4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 proper hot red chilli


The reason I love this recipe is the flavour, the simplicity and the ingredients. Without further ado, let’s tuck in.

The Creamy Sauce

Grab a pot and get it onto a low heat. Add your chopped shallots with a wee bit of butter. You want to sweat them, not cook them. Basically, avoid them getting brown.

Now, add the double cream and give the lot a stir. Next, finely chop the red chilli and get that in the pot too. Stir again. Get some salt and pepper in there, but make sure you taste it all to get the balance right. If you have some fresh parsley, it’s optional, but now is the time for that too.

Let that simmer away for about 8 minutes, but don’t let it boil.

Cooking the Prawns

Ideally, you’re going to need a skillet for this, but a pan works too. Get the pan up to medium heat and melt in a knob of butter. Drop the prawns in with some salt, pepper and lemon juice. Leave them to cook for about 5 minutes and give them the odd turn.

Get the skillet up to a high heat and add the sauce to the prawns. About 5 minutes later, the sauce is reduced and the


I love to serve the skillet on a timber chopping board and eat the prawns straight off. It’s a stunning shared dish. You’ve simply got to serve with some nice fresh, crusty, bread. If you do this, you’ll likely not even have to clean the pan because the sauce combined with bread is nearly why you make this, not the prawns.

Beer Pairing

I’ve made this recipe a few times and it never fails to impress. The one criticism I’ve had is when I buy a crap chilli. In my opinion, if you’re buying your red chillis from a supermarket, they’re likely not going to be hot enough. Get down to a speciality store or Asian market. Here, you’ll find proper chillis with proper heat.

Once you manage that, the beer pairing gets quite easy. Many will opt to pair a spicy dish with a cooling beer, like a lager or German beer. I prefer to pair spicy food with something that ramps up and complements the heat. To do that, you want a beer with a bit of bitterness to it.

I went with the Big Bunny East Coast IPA from Donegal-based brewers Kinnegar. Big Bunny is a gorgeous hazy IPA. It pours lovely with a massive head that goes nowhere for an age. That head-retention means the aromas are going nowhere until you’re ready for them. The Big Bunny has big flavour too. With a 45 IBU, it’s a somewhat middle of the road East Coast IPA in terms of bitterness, but it’s the overall combination of fruitiness and bitterness that tackles the flavour of the sizzling spicy prawns.

I’ve already paired some foods and plan to pair many more. But this is one of the safest bets if you want to impress someone. If the food doesn’t get them, the beer will. If the beer doesn’t get them, the food will. However, chances are both will appeal and you’ll blow their minds.

Try This Beer

Big Bunny

Where?Craft Central
How much?€3.75
Special offer?No
Vessel440ml can
Delivery Fee?€4.99

Cook: Pesto, Steak and Rocket Salad With IPA

Not everything needs to be complicated. These days I think we’re all learning that the simple things in life are great. Last week, the Kildare Brewing Company released their Lockdown IPA. It’s a complex dry-hopped IPA bursting with fruity flavour. With the IPA complex, I sought a simple meal to pair with it. I went for a gorgeous cut of sirloin steak served on homemade pesto with a rocket Parmesan salad.

Info and Cook Time

  • serves 2
  • about 15 minutes to cook


What you’ll need:

  • 2 sirloin steaks
  • 2/3 cloves of garlic (peeled)
  • 70g pine nuts
  • A handful of fresh basil
  • washed rocket leafs
  • 80ml olive oil
  • 50g grated Parmesan cheese
  • Some more shavings of Parmesan
  • 2 cans of Kildare Brewing Company Lockdown IPA


Now, you can use pesto from a jar, but it’s so simple why would you bother! Make your own, it’s so much nicer. Knowing how to make pesto is just one of those goto recipes that’s always handy have.

Cooking the steaks

The steaks were simple to cook. Get a pan up to high heat with a dash of olive oil. Season the steaks with salt and pepper then pop them on the pan for 30 seconds each side to seal the meat. Drop the heat down to medium heat and cook as per the instructions. I was cooking a medium-rare and medium steak. This took 9 and 11 minutes respectively for my steaks.

While they’re ticking over, it’s time to make the pesto.

How to make pesto

First thing’s first. Roast your pine nuts. This only takes about 3 minutes. Get them all nice and golden. Take these off the heat and leave about 20g of pine nuts to the side – you’ll need these later.

Lob the other 50g of pine nuts, 80m olive oil, 50g grated Parmesan cheese, fresh basil and as much garlic as you like (3 cloves for me) into a blender. Blend it all up until it’s liquid. Boom, you have pesto.

And that’s it lads. This dish is ridiculously simple


To plate up, heat up plates in the microwave for 30 seconds. Split the pesto fifty-fifty between the two plates, pop a steak onto both plates and then place the rocket on top too. Add some Parmesan cheese shavings and the rest of the pine nuts from earlier. If you want to, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and drizzle the steak juices over both dishes.

Oh my days. Where has pesto and steak been all my life?

Beer Pairing

Pairing beer and steak is both simple and difficult. There are just so many beers than match the dish. For a run of the mill pairing, you could go for a Belgian beer. For this one, I looked beyond the meat to the peppery rocket and the pine nuts along with the gorgeous aroma of basil.

The mixed hops of the Lockdown IPA complement the entire dish. It’s not a light salad. It’s a powerful pesto with added peppery flavour from the rocket. Lockdown IPA is floral and fruity. It’s dry-hopped with Citra, Centennial, Cascade, El Dorado, Simcoe and Amarillo which means there are bundles of flavour.

Mixed with your homemade pesto, this is an aroma experience to behold.

Buy This Beer

lockdown IPA preview

Lockdown IPA

BreweryKildare Brewing Company
Where?Molloy’s Off-license
How much?~€3.20
Special offer?No
Vessel440ml can
Delivery Fee?€7.99

Review: Togouchi Japanese Blended Whiskey Aged 9 years


If there’s one thing that we enjoy as much as an ice-cold craft beer, it’s a fine Whiskey It’s easily one of my favourite gifts to receive. I would never dream about taking the shine off the gorgeous golden nectar that we produce on our tiny island but I do particularly enjoy getting a dram of Japanese origin… there’s something about the dedication and meticulous attention to detail that the Japanese malt makers apply to the craft, as they do with anything they apply themselves to.

Getting a Bottle of Togouchi

I was lucky enough to receive a bottle of Togouchi 9-year-old blended whiskey for my birthday and was immediately intrigued by the beautiful bottle.

ogouchi Japanese Blended Whiskey bottle
Bottle of Togouchi Japanese Blended Whisky Aged 9 years

It looks like something that you would receive at the end of a quest of a JRPG by defeating a duo of flaming beasts. A life reviving elixir. That’s generally a fitting description for Whiskey.

Tasting the Togouchi

It’s described as a nod to Scotch and Canadian whiskey and on the nose, there’s plenty of peaty smokiness as you’d expect from good scotch. I’m also getting apricot, caramel and citrus rind with hints of clove and cinnamon.
Going down, the first hit is peaty smoke, with a nice rich burn to it. This is definitely closer to Scotch than other Japanese whiskeys I’ve had. It then begins to mellow out with a rich poached plum in the aforementioned spices.

It finishes caramel sweet with the rind of lemon, bitter orange and star anise.  It’s a little thinner on the mouth coat than I was expecting, not as round or rich than I’ve had in whiskeys at this price range but it’s still a divine drop and certainly a nice way to kick off my birthday libations.

Kanpai 喝采

Cook: Spicy Jammy Drumsticks and Red Ale

This recipe was neither created nor cooked by me. It was cooked by my better half from a recipe in Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings: Hungry for More cookbook. There were a few on the fly amends made. All in all, it was so good, I had to share the recipe and the incredible pairing with Rascals Big Hop Red Ale.

Info and Cook Time

  • Serves 4
  • 1 hour 15 minutes


What you’ll need:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 15 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup apricot jam
  • 2 red chillies
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 or 2 cans of Rascals Big Hop Red Ale (depending on the audience)


To get started, get that oven up to around 220 degrees celcius.

Take out a large skillet, pour out the oil onto it over a medium-low heat. You don’t need to chop either the onions too finely or worry about doing anything fancy with the garlic. My better half cracks the garlic to ensure flavour escapes. Lob your onions and garlic into the pan. Let it cook, remembering to stir often, until they are soft and golden. It’ll taken in or around 20 minutes.

Next up, get the apricot jam into the pan. This jam, seriously, just came from Lidl. It’s nothing fancy and quite possibly it’s the jam your parents or housemate accidentally bought that’s in the back of the press. Finely chop your chillies and bung them into the pan too. Give it all a good stir until the jam melts – that should take about 30 seconds. Lightly season with salt and pepper.

Time to prep your baking tray. Pour the sauce you’ve just made into the tray. Season your chicken drumsticks with salt and pepper before lining them up in the tray. Using a spoon, scoop the sauce up and over the drumsticks. Get it all up over it.

The final step is somewhat predictable. Get all that goodness into the oven and bake until you see that sauce bubbling. Every 15 minutes, get the spoon in there and scoop the sauce back up over the chicken. You’re aiming for the chicken to be cooked through and the skin to be somewhat crispy. This should take around 40 minutes. You might want to hit the tray with 2 or 3 minutes under the grill to crisp them up.

Finally, give the sauce a taste. Season the whole tray with salt and pepper, but only if you feel it’s needed.


We kept the serving of these drumsticks really simple. Place 3 or 4 drumsticks on a plate and drizzle that amazing fruity sauce over them again. On the site, some thin-cut fries, seasoned with paprika mixed with salt.

Beer Pairing

And for the really fun part. Pairing a beer. I was a late comer to Ales if I’m honest. Being a Kilkenny man, that’s quite the shocker given we’re the home of Smithwicks. However, today I appreciate a nice Ale as much as anyone, in particular Amber or Red Ales. Rascals, a Dublin-based brewery founded in 2014, has once of the mightiest craft Red Ales on the market.

Rascals’ Big Hop Red delivers refreshing zest hit with touches of sweetness too. The fact that sweetness isn’t overpowering is what makes this a match made in heaven. The chicken drumsticks are gorgeous and have enough sweetness on their own. If you can get that crispness down to a tee the rewards and there to be had once you quench your thirst with a stunning mouthful of Big Hop Red. We used fairly tame chillies in this recipe so don’t be afraid to ramp that up if you like heat. The Rascals has plenty of punch to put out the fire.

This was one of those pairings that left me looking at my glass and by plate, wondering why everything was vanishing so quickly.


A hoppy red ale, a smash up between zesty, piney hops and sweet caramel malts. Big Hop Red is late and dry hopped with lots of American aroma varieties; Cascade, Chinook and Equinox. The hops offer pine and resin on the nose with lots of fruity citrus, pine and resin in the flavour which is finely balanced by caramel and biscuit malt notes.

Hoppy and malty, the best of both worlds!

Buy This Beer

Big Hop Red

Where?Craft Central
How much?€2.99
Special offer?4 for €10
Vessel330ml can
Delivery Fee?€4.99

A – Aroma | Craft Beer Dictionary


Chances are you’ve never stood in a bar beside someone with a mighty thirst and just as they finished that first massive mouthful, you hear they say, “ohhhhhh that smells great”. With a mouthful of beer, it’s all about the taste. However, taste is the first cousin of smell.

Taste buds are capable of grasping five basic fundamental things:

  • salt
  • sweet
  • sour
  • bitter
  • unami

While that may seem like the full tool kit, most of what goes on when you taste something has the heavy lifting done by your nose.

If you’re going beyond cracking a beer and drinking it down, the aroma is the second thing involved when you assess a beer. The other characteristics under the microscope being the look and the taste of your beer.

Watching videos of craft beer tastings can be intimidating. Seeing seasoned professionals list off seven things they smell while you smell beer can put you off. Don’t let it. If you do want to start assessing your beers, crack your can, pour, and get your nose down into the glass. There’s a rule of thumb in the craft industry that you’re not really into it all until you get your nose covered in suds. It’s a badge of honour – wear it!

Finally, the glass really does make a difference. Some glasses are designed to push the aromas up towards your nose, increasing the amount of purchase you can get on the given scents.

Review: Luponic Distortion IPA Series no. 13

Promises, Promises…

We at The Hoppy Ending HQ love a good juice bomb of an IPA. Particularly when it is achieved through hops alone. I ain’t complaining about some added fruity business. In fact, I wholeheartedly implore more brewers to add something delicious to a frothy delight.

That said, if you can achieve juiciness through a geansaí load of hops, colour me impressed.

Promises, Promises…

When I saw Luponic Distortion, Firestone Walker Brewing’s latest offering, I was intrigued. They had promised hints of piña colada, key lime and nectarine in a neat little 5.9% IPA. I’ve been promised things before on a neatly packaged 330ml can which ended up resembling lightly fizzy rust water so I was sceptical but what have you got to lose? If it’s a bad beer, it’s still beer. 

Cracking the Luponic Distortion

Upon cracking the can and giving it a pour, it’s golden with not much head. First on the nose is a nice IPA and there are definitely hints of lime and the sweetness of nectarine so I’m getting excited for this bad boi.

Giz a sip so.

Nice IPA flavour and the first whack is nectarine and an undercurrent of lime which is flipped on the nose. There’s a definite creamy sort of flavour resembling Piña Colada. Oochie Wawie… this is a good un.

I think I’ll have another… or maybe I’ll try something else… the world is our beer oyster, “lock in” or not.

Food Pairing

Your favourite takeaway burrito or make a spicy quesadilla with guac. Heck, maybe we’ll throw a recipe up in the next few days for that.

Where to Buy

Luponic Distortion IPA Series no. 13

BreweryFirestone Walker
Where?Craft Central
How much?€3.29
Special offer?4 for €10
Vessel355ml can
Delivery Fee?€5

Kildare Brewing Company: Lockdown IPA Preview

Starting this site left me in a bit of a bind. It’s our first post and there’s a raft of craft that I would like to talk to you about. I’ve been on my own journey of discovery over the past year or so. Finding my favourite crafties has been fun and now I’m ready to write about them. I had planned to discuss The White Hag’s Atlantean NEIPA, namely because that was the wee can that made me start this site. But I’m going to keep that for, maybe, post number two. Instead, I’m going to feature a beer born out of the bat shit crazy world we find ourselves in today. I want you to meet the Lockdown IPA from Kildare Brewing Company.

The Current State of Craft Brewing

The whole Covid-19 thing is beyond crazy, isn’t it? While I said there that I started this site because of a NEIPA from The White Hag, that wasn’t the sole reason. For nearly two years I’ve been experimenting with crafties on draft and from cans, trying to understand what my palette wanted. Then, because of Covid-19, this suddenly came under threat.

Again, without trying to just harp on about The White Hag, online has become a critical outlet for craft brewers. The White Hag launched their latest IPA amid fears their beer would “be poured down the drain if [they couldn’t] sell it online, such is the drop off in demand from the pub trade, and subsequently the brewing trade in Ireland.

So it occurred to me that I have the skills required to bring gorgeous Irish crafties to the people of Ireland, replacing shite beer everywhere as we go. At least, I have the skills in terms of I like craft beer and I can build websites. So here we are. The Hoppy Ending was born.

The Story Behind Lockdown IPA

Anyway, I digress. While the whole Covid-19 thing has been a seismic shock through the craft brewing industry, some are trying to harness what’s going on in an effort to make a purse from a pig’s ear. Kildare Brewing Company is one such brewery.

Upon finding themselves isolated in a brewery with nothing but water, grain, hops and years, the team in Sallins did what any self-respecting craft fans would. They got brewing.

Now, I’ve not tasted this brew at all. I’m reading of the can they have online and I’m taking their word for it because I couldn’t pass up featuring them as our first beer of the week. But the Kildare Brewing Company’s Lockdown IPA promises was crafted for the strange times that we now live in.

It ticks the first box of excitement for me as it’s a hazy IPA using classic Minch Malts with added oats, wheat & honey malt. The lot has been dry-hopped with Citra, Centennial, Cascade, El Dorado, Simcoe and Amarillo. On paper, it’s an absolute beaut offering a smooth mouthfeel and fills the palette on impact.

If you’re looking to match this up with some grub, it goes mighty with meaty pizzas, BBQ vegetables or white meat dishes.

Floral and fruity this beer is a one-off seasonal but beyond the stunning combination of ingredients in this IPA, there’s something more going on.

Craft for a Good Cause

The craft industry could have laid down and died but it didn’t. They could have stopped brewing, but they won’t. Not only are they surviving, but the Kildare Brewing Company is also sharing the profits from their new Lockdown IPA. They’ll be donating money to local hospitals to help them in their fight against Covid-19.

We’re hoping to have a more personalised experience of this brew in the next week or so, so be sure to follow us on Instagram for updates.

Pick yourself up a case of 12 x 440ml Lockdown IPA 6.3% cans on the Kildare Brewing website for €38 for collection if you’re nearby. They’re also hoping to get into some of Ireland’s top craft off-licenses, so watch this space. Finally, you can also grab the same case of Lockdown IPA from Beer Cloud. Note, these are going to be part of a very limited run so keep an eye and do your best. Already got one? Let us know what you think below.