April 2017 Promoting Colorado Malts At BrewCon

BrewCon 2017 was very interesting with informative and entertaining presentations by industry experts. Four of the HomeBrewWest team were there promoting Colorado Malts.

Pictured here are Bianca from HomeBrewWest wearing her Colorado t shirt (left), Brandon Jones from Embrace the Funk (middle) and John Palmer the famous author of How To Brew (right). Approx 200 attendees were given a discount code to get this Colorado and Viking Malt Pack for free from HomeBrewWest: BrewCon Malt Deal.

February 2017 New Nitrogen Flush Vac Packer

Our new nitrogen flushing chamber vac packer is the bee's knee for packing home brew hops and other homebrew products. To get a handle on just why this is, take a look at the video:

This one doesn't show the nitrogen flushing because we are waiting for food grade nitrogen. We'll add another video when it arrives. It creates a vacuum in the chamber including the hop pouches. The pouches are then still sealed . . . they look swollen but there is no air in them. Then the air is let back into the chamber and the pouches get squashed because there is a vacuum inside them. The next challenge is to get down to 1 or 2 millibar and then flush the tiny bit of air left with nitrogen before sucking the nitrogen back out. This way we can get the oxygen content down to about 2% of what is in competing products . . . that's some improvement! It would be pointless though if the aluminium pouches are too thin . . . because oxygen will seep back in. So we can either opt for expensive heavy duty pouches or else get cheaper ones but leave some nitrogen in there to reduce the outside pressure from air on the pouches. Either way, the end game is to package hops in a way that ensures they stay as fresh as possible for as long as possible.

February 2017 Full Truck Of BestMalz Grain Arrives

We just took delivery of a full container truck containing 30 pallets / 24 tons of grain from Germany. This marks a big development in malt supply for all grain home brewers in Ireland and for all the Speidel micros we supply.

It establishes us a major player in this sector. We've been slow to get here but we intend to be the best in Ireland over the coming months.

January 2017 Homebrew West Agents For Colorado Malts In Ireland

Homebrewwest are the Viking agents in Ireland. About a year ago, a new collaboration was finalized between them and the Colorado Malting Company (a pioneer of craft grain in America). Viking are now producing Colorado malted barley for the European market and we are delighted to bring these unique American malts to Ireland. This will be of particular interest to homebrewers and also small micros who want to produce authentic American craft beers. Colarado and Northern Europe are very similar climate wise, and the barley variety is the same; this means that the new malts will be almost identical to the US grown ones. At the time of writing, the available types are 2-row Pale Ale, Honey Malt, and Crystal 10 oL (20 EBC).

January 2017 Homebrew West Granted Official Euro Distributor Status In Ireland By Hambleton Bard

This is an important development for Irish homebrewers (and retailers) since it asssures prices stability at a time when many other wholesalers will be forced to increase pricing due to Brexit. We have already seen price increases near the end of last year and this is set to accelerate in 2017. So its great news, particularly for homebrew winemakers: Ireland's most popular wine kit range (Australian Blend) is set to remain affordable. We will see even better value in beer kits too, particularly Black Rock and Tooheys.

November 2016 New Homebrew Beer Kits For Ireland

We added a new kit to the ever popular Craft Range: a Golden Ale. Long overdue, this is another superb beer kit. We also announced a new range of gluten free homebrew beer kits. These are the first affordable gluten free kits that are made from barley malt (not sorghum which was the only alternative until recently). The gluten free barley malt uses natiral barley enzymes to remove the gluten and the manufacturers claim it is indistinguishable from standard barley malt extract.

October 2016 Extended Viking Malt Range Now Available For Homebrewers In Ireland

We got in most of the range of these amazing malts, their reputation is second to none worldwide. We also extended the USA malts make under licence by Viking. So you can now make authentic American homebrew beers.

September 2016 HomeBrewWest Launches Colorado "Honey Malt" for Irish All Grain Homebrewers

Made by Viking under licence from Colorado, honey malt is now available for the first time in Ireland. Its an amazing malt that adds a unique flavor to all grain beers. Previously, it had to be imported from the USA. This will facilitate some interesting new beers.

June 2016 HomeBrewWest Launches The Bulldog Brewer All In One Grain Brewing System For Homebrewers In Ireland

The V1 sold out in 36 hours! HomeBrewWest have invested heavily in these amazing devices. At a fraction of the price of competing systems in Ireland, they are the first really affordable systens of their kind. We do expect some teething problems so we've invested a lot in support, even putting a few sytems aside for replacements. As expected these sold like crazy are like gold dust . . . impossible to get. So we pre-booked another large batche of them and guaranteed delivery.

April 2016 New Woodchip Mix Transforms 7 Day Homebrew Wine Kits In Ireland

This took a bit of magic and a long long time. We've been working closely with our customers, suppliers and doing a whole lot of trials. Eventually we found the magic wood chip mixes to transform the Australian Blends Cabernet Sauvignon and the Chardonnay wine kits. Takes an extra week to make them, but the difference is very pronounced. This is what we drink at home ourselves these days.

August 2015 HomebrewWest Apointed Agents For Kilner In Ireland

Lots of interesting products here, including their new Homebrew offerings. In particular their amazing swing top bottles will definately be of interest to Irish homebrewers.

June 30 2015 Speidel Come To Galway To Deliver New Microbrewery Courses

A "must have" for anyone thinking of setting up a small brewery in a pub, hotel or restaurant, we are running a series of one day courses in County Galway in association with Speidel and Joe Sheridan of Walsh's Brew Pub in Dunmore. We were very privileged to have Ralf and Stefan from Speidel. Stefan owns Speidel and we are really chuffed that he came the whole way to Dunmore to participate. Ralf and Stefan made an excellent presentation on Speidel and their products. Joe fired up a 38 Degree Wheat Beer brew on the Speidel and gave a very detailed and informative talk on regulations pertaining to setting up a micro and selling beer. HomeBrewWest made a presentation on costs, ingredients, and various system configurations for different customers. The course was a resounding success and all felt they benefited substantially from attending. Followed by lots of beer naturally! The media were there for the official launch, and it made the front page of the Tuam Herald on 1st July.

May 15 2015 HomeBrewWest Launch Craft Range Auto Syphons and MasterCraft Beer Kit Range

Better than the old ones in that the tubing isn't kinked, the new Craft Range Auto Syphons are also better value; there are new homebrew syphons in the range. The new MasterPint 1.6 Kg Beer Kits are taking the UK by storm and we have them at much better prices until we supply the other stores. Packed in a plastic standing pouch, these beer kits are made from specially selected liquid malt extracts, and come with varietal yeast strains matched to each beer style.

March 28 2015 Hambleton Bard To Launch New Dublin Store

Saturday, March 28, 2015 Hambleton Bard, one of the world's foremost beer and wine kit makers are on their way back to town. Promoting a new homebrew store in Dublin this time. Come on Belfast, Cork and Donegal! Hambleton Bard know how to make it work, and with 100% local knowledge and support from us, all you have to do is follow our guidelines. Hambleton Bard will be announcing new products and promotions in store on the day. As will we. With over 3000 wholesale products between us, you won't get better wholesale support anywhere in Europe.

January 2015 HomeBrewWest Expands Craft Range

The Craft Range beer and cider kit ranges have been incredibly successful. The Craft Range IPA is already the best selling 3 Kg+ beer kit in Ireland; many of those who have brewed it will not brew any other beer kit. Followed closely by the new Craft Range Citra APA, another gem. We have just launched 2 new Craft Range Pilsner kits, one with a very clean top fermenting yeast (recommended), and the other with a true bottom fermenting pilsner yeast. The top quality equipment side has also completely transformed homebrewing in Ireland: Craft Range bottle trees, rinsers, and so much more. A hard act to follow, we can't keep surprising the market, our next initiative is the new range of Craft Range Easy Flow Auto Syphons, available April 2015. The Craft Range brand is all about bringing you the highest quality products (worldwide) at a very affordable price.

October 2014 HomeBrewWest Appointed Kilner Agents

We have the entire range of Kilner products in stock. Kinler fits nicely with our vision of "home making". We already have homebrew beer, wine, spirits and cider. And also home cheese making. So its entirely natural to expand this into home jam and preserve making.

August 14th 2014 HomeBrewWest Launch Mangrove Jacks Range

Another first for the UK and Ireland, HomeBrewWest have been appointed wholesale agents for Mangrove Jacks and the kits arrived today. These are great value quality beer kits and come in 3 ranges. We are also stocking the full world famous Mangrove Jack's beer yeast range.

July 6th 2014 HomeBrewWest Attend Hambleton Bard Open Day

A great day was had by all, and we were quite chuffed that the owners (Carl and Andersen) gave us a private  tour of plant, consulted us on new product ranges, and took us out for dinner in the evening. We have agreed exclusive launch in Ireland of the new Bulldog beer kit ranges. Also new grain mills and lots of new products on the way to us in October / November. This is all great news for Irish homebrewers.

May 2014 HomeBrewWest Launch The Craft Range

Big news: Ireland's first beer and cider kits. These are among the best quality beer and cider kits in the world and are going to take the market by storm. Starting with 4 ciders and 4 beer types, the range will be expanded by year end. We are the first worldwide to stock thse brand new next generation cider kits.

April 10th 2014 HomeBrewWest Appointed Irish Agents For Enolandia

This is very big news because its going to transform homebrewing in Ireland. There are two key elements essential for successful homebrewing: the right ingredients, and the right equipment. Enolandia manufacture top quality equipment at incredible prices. Their equipment will transform the homebrew experience in Ireland. As all Irish homebrewers know all too well, the most tedious part of brewing is the bottling process. For the first time, bottle trees and bottle rinsers have become affordable here; these will transform the homebrew bottling experience. And a whole new range of corkers and cappers, from low cost bench cappers to professional ones. And then throw in professionally packaged crown caps that are not covered in fingerprints and don't need to be sterilized. As for sterilizing, there are the new low cost spray bottles ideal for StarSan and other no rinse sanitizers.

Bigger and better beer paddles and spoons, gas burners, sugar measures for bottle priming, steel boilers and tanks for advanced brewers, low cost fruit presses, modular bottle racks, professional bottle filling machines, bottle labelers, too many products to mention here.

And then: corks. There are corks, and there are corks. So far in Ireland, homebrewers have been using cheap corks. Fine for wine that will be guzzled in a few weeks, and even then many bottles will become contaminated or oxidised.. Until now, there has been no adequate cork for the serious homebrew wine maker. Enolandia specialize in making a vast range of corks for professional wine makers in Europe. And they are now available to Irish homebrewers for the first time.

March 1st 2014 Hambleton Bard's Visit To Galway

Ah, its that time of year! Great to see Janet and Katie again. As always lots of news, and new products on the way. Many of them "hush, hush". What we can say though is that all grain brewers will have a few things to salivate over when the new catalog is officially released. Bulldog kits continue to take the market by storm, and there are new kits one the way.

Also, we all met Ian Mott, who stocked up on the day for his new homebrew shop in Dublin (Mottly Brew, 106 Lagan Rd, Dublin Ind Est, Glasnevin, Dublin 11,089 478 1784). Well done Ian! As the only shop in Dublin, we know its going to be a roaring succes.

January 30th 2014 HomeBrewWest Appointed Sadlers Reserve Wine Kit Agents

We have been looking or years for a pure grape juice wine kit. It has finally arrived, and at unbelievably good value. Sadlers Reserve wine kits will take the wine kit world by storm. These kits are made from pure grape juice and have no added sugars, preservatives or colours. Ready in 4 weeks, these wine kits produce top quality wines, comparable or better than kits 3 times the price. And for about 2 Euros per bottle, you will make wines comparable with shop bought wines at 10 times the price.

December 5 Merry Christmas To All Of You

After several iterations with our graphic designers, we finally arrived at a Christmas solution for the web site. We just love our Rudolf! We'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas.

And we have our very own "reindeer" at HomeBrewWest: Cody! He's a northern breed (an Alaskan Shepherd), they pull sleds over the snow way up north. A real Santa helper! Our regular shop customers in Galway already know this guy since he was a pup. HomeBrewWest fully supports the wonderful work done by Madra: http://madra.ie/ especially over the coming months. This picture with santapaws was taken at a recent Madra event in Barna.

November 15 HomeBrewWest Moves To Its Own Dedicated VPS (Virtual Private Server)

Customers should now see a massive increase in performance, with much faster access to the web site. No more slow responses and page loading errors. Our new web site is now hosted on dedicated hardware with huge Internet connection bandwidth.

November 7 HomeBrewWest Announces Plans To Launch Own Brand Beer And Cider Kits

With recent developments in manufacturing technology, innovative new yeast strains, and access to top quality beer malt extracts worldwide, we now find ourselves in a position to develop our own beer and cider kits. Our first priority will be quality, so the kits will not be "cheap". But our manufacturing experts tell us that these new kits will compare in quality to the best micro beers currently sold commercially. Hard to believe? Maybe, but we wouldn't be doing this unless we were convinced. There are many new great beer kits coming on stream worldwide, but we believe that we have access to better techologies that will give us an edge and enable us to produce the very best quality kits.

Competition: There isn't much point in having the best kits on the market if the packaging lets our image down. We want our packaging to be every bit as good as the beer and cider kits inside. So we would like our customers to come up with a brand name, a story line, and "corporate identity" (graphics / images). The brand name will be the biggest part by far, since we can employ graphic designers afterwards to get the image right. Prizes will be as follows:
- 1st prize: 300 Euro HomeBrewWest voucher,
- 2nd prize: 200 Euro HomeBrewWest voucher, and
- 3rd prize: 100 Euro HomeBrewWest voucher. 
A requirement for entry is that you must have ordered from us at some stage, so we will need your name and order number(s). One entry per order number. There will be the usual terms and conditions for these types of competitions (we will post them here as soon as we figure out what they are). The competition will close end Nov 2013. Email your entries to us (see contact details tab).

Current brand names include many of the kits we already stock:
- Better Brew,
- Simply, 
- Mangrove Jacks,
- Make Your Own,
- Tom Caxton,
- St. Peters,
- Woodfordes,
- John Bull,
- On The Rocks,
- Magnum,
- Bulldog, 
- Autumn Blush,
- and many others.
Take a look in our beer kit and cider kit sections for ideas. Bear in mind that we want a brand name that screams quality, and appeals to craft brewers in Ireland, the UK, and Europe. We are looking for a single brand name that covers the whole range or products, so "orchard heaven" won't work as its only suitable for cider. Nor will "best of the barley" (beer only). Groan! So, now you can see why we need help!

September 1 HomeBrewWest Apointed International Brupaks Agents

We have recently got the Brupaks International Dealership for Ireland. We have hundreds of new Brupaks homebrew products online now: homebrew beer kits, chemicals, mashing equipment, homebrew extract and all grain kits, hops and grains etc.

Brupaks homebrew products that are new for Ireland are heavily discounted for a few weeks (or until we supply others) in order to promote them.

We are the first in the world as far as I can see to launch the Brewers Choice Ultimate kits, these are expensive but much less that RRP at the moment. They include all the fermentables (no other ingredients required) and the hop and steeping grain packs have been improved.

August 11 Visit To Speidel Microbrewery In Memmingen, Munich

We took clients from Cork to visit a Speidel equipped microbrewery in Germany, accompanied by Ralf Leukart from Speidel who translated, showed us around and answered lots of techical questions for us. Its remarkable how simple it is to set up and run a microbrewery with Speidel equipment.

The bar / restaurant is called the "Zoigl" and it can be found just outside Munich in Kaufbeuren. Its a traditional communal brewery run by Gernot Wildungsmauer. He has always been enthusiastic about traditional Zoigl restaurants. Gernot has always dreamt of opening a Zoigl restaurant and a microbrewery. He succeeded a few years ago and its been booming since. Gernot brews all his beers with a 200-litre Braumeister. Local beer drinkers love the fresh aroma and delicious taste of his homemade beers which they prefer to commercial beers.

Zoigl is a beer brewed in eastern Bavaria in Germany, between Franconia and the Czech republic. 'Zoigl' means "sign", a symbol which, when displayed, means that beer is currently available at that pub. It was brewed for centuries in communal breweries in Windischeschenbach and Neuhaus, and has since spread to microbreweries owned by the association of homebrewers. It has an interesting tradition: wood was burned to mash the grains, then the wort was cooled over copper and transported to private cellars, where it is fermentated. Bottom fermenting yeast is used and the beer is lagered for approx 2 weeks and then transferred to the brewer's houses, which it is sold until it is gone. A brewer that has Zoigl beer displays the Zoigl-Star symbol on the corner of his house to show beer is available. Not everyone can display the symbol at the same time, hence the Zoigl calendar which shows which pub is open when.

The Zoigl's opening hours are thus unusual, and Gernot must follow this special Zoigl calender. The restaurant serves its homebrewed beers along with traditional food dishes. Fresh "green" beer can be taken home by customers to let it mature. More information on the "Zoigl" can be found at www.zoigl-kaufbeuren.de including food menues, opening hours and google maps.

Our clients from Cork manage three restaurants and are evaluating Speidel equipment for their new microbrewery venture. They wanted to see first hand what was involved in the brewing process since this is where the bulk of the operating costs are actually incurred. We were all (other than Ralf and Gernot) really amazed at how simple the Speidel beer brewing process is. The microbrewery was located in a small converted house, and the pub was located in another small converted house about 100 meters away. It produces about 20,000 litres of homemade beer per year for about 20 to 25 cents per litre including energy costs.

Some observations were that Gernot used whole grains only, and hop pellets as opposed to hop leaves. With Speidel equipment there is no need for filters or hop bags since the centrifugal forces created when the wort is drawn off drive the used hop pellets to the centre of the Braumeister where they can then be easily removed. The microbrewery consisted of a Speidel Braumeister 200 Litres on the first floor, and Speidel fermenters on the ground floor. The fermenters can also be located on the same floor as the Braumeister since it has a pump to pump the wort into the fermenters. After fermention, kegs are primed with fresh wort and then gravity filled from the fermenters and brought to the pub basement. After secondary fermentation, they are carefully moved to a cold room and connected to the piping that feeds the beer taps on the floor above. The Speidel brewing process is remarkably simple, and since it is nearly full automated, Gernot comes and goes at predefined times for hop additions etc. In the meantime, he is across the road serving beer in his pub. Gernot single handedly produces 3 different beers: an ale, a wheat beer, and a stronger dark ale. One brew day per week, and although he could produce all 3 beers is a single day with a single Braumeister, he has a second Speidel Braumeister 200 Litres to shorten the brew day. It was really incredible to see how simple the whole process is with the Braumeister.

Another observation worth mentioning was that Gernot swears by secondary fermentation in kegs, claiming that natural carbonation gives a much better head on his beers. All three beers were "young" and ready to drink 3 weeks after brew day. The quality of the result was remarkable and I took a personal shine to the wheat beer! The ale was also a great session beer and very easy to drink. These two beers cost Euro 2.40 per half litre. I have yet to find a micro ale like this in Ireland, and I can't understand why these simple session beers are not readily available here. Perhaps its that we feel that we must be different from the big commercial operators? Not so in Germany it seems.

Gernot Wildung
Gernot Wildungsmauer in the Zoigl

Die Communebrauerei
The Zoigl from outside

in the taproom

Zoigl Kaufbeuren
Murals on the interior walls of the Zoigl

April 15 2013 Brouwland International Dealer Days

We are just back from what was probably the largest homebrewing dealer event in the world: Hasselt, Belgium, an intensive 2 day workshop with Brouwland (8 am to 11 pm Friday and Saturday). Over 120 staff from homebrew shops all over the world attended. A handful of international Brouwland dealers also attended including national dealers from the UK, Italy, and Ireland (HomeBrewWest). We spent lots of time talking with Browland, Blickman (think: Beer Gun), and 5 Star (think: Star San).

Big news, and announcements that will affect homebrewing all over Europe.

Key announcements were:
- Muntons have appointed Brouwland as exclusive wholesalers for all of Europe except: UK, Italy, and Ireland (so we are unaffected),
- John Blickman appointed Brouwland as exclusive wholesalers for all of Europe.
- 5 Star Chemicals appointed Brouwland as exclusive wholesalers for all of Europe.

Lots more news too, including many new products. A key challenge for us is to get better pricing on top quality multi mash temp all grain equipment, and to improve extract brewing options too. Also Blickman say they can fill one beer bottle every 15 seconds with their beer gun, this is great news for small / start up microbrewers. And Muntons say thet a key factor in brewing a good homebrew beer kit is to keep the temperature constant, this is much more important that letting it get a bit hgh. So ideal fermentation temperature for Muntons beer kits is 18 to 21 oC, and up to 24 oC is fine provided that the temperature is kept fairly constant.

So what does all this mean for homebrewers in Ireland? Well, Munton's products should become available at relatively great prices in Ireland. And because homebrew shops no longer have to directly import 5 Star and Blickman products from the US in small quantiies (shipping costs are very high), they will become available in Ireland at much better pricing from June / July (estimated). HomeBrewWest will also be making their entire product ranges available. There were also fabulous presentations on beer making, wine making, cheese and liqueuer making; and also a most informative introduction to homebrew and microbrewery sanitation by Jon from 5 Star Chemicals. We will get all this info up on the web site over the coming days.


March 25 2013 Hambleton Bard Launch New Kits In Galway!

Carl, Janet and Katie from HB in HomeBrewWest last weekend

Hambleton Bard, one of the UK’s foremost beer kit makers, were in town — Galway that is — at the weekend just gone to launch their new line of Bulldog Brews Premium Homebrew Beer Kits at HomeBrewWest. They will be launched a week later in the UK.

Made with bag-in-box technology, one of the many advantages of which is that they support different weights for different homebrew beer kits. So the India Pale Ale is a 3.4 kg beer kit while other types 3.0 Kg to 4.0 Kg raw material depending on the beer type and alcohol ABV.

We’re assured only top quality materials are used!

RRP will be around €26.95, which should be cheaper than the UK, and for a 4Kg kit, that’s not bad!

HomeBrewWest has donated some kits to the National Homebrew Club which they will get out to some of their more seasoned kit homebrewers for feedback.

More information about the kits is here.