**HELLO! Before we begin, you can still donate to Galway Hospice HERE (We talked about it last week), Alan and the Galway Bay Brewery boys have raised nearly 10,000 Euro total!! Click the link and donate!**
When last we left you, dear, sweet readers, Holly Kay and I had just tapped out after our ___th Murphy’s Irish Stout, and headed back to our B&B for a long winter’s nap… (See Galway Bay Brewery Pt. I if you haven’t read it, then head on back here!)
Our next morning, we had our full Irish Breakfast and drove into Galway on our quest for Irish Sweaters! We’d been looking in each town for the perfect sweaters (because ya have to!!) and we stumbled upon the Galway Woollen Market, a quaint little shop with two floors of many different styles of Aran Islands Knitwear. Holly ended up with two sweaters, one purple, and one green, which make her look really cute and Irish, and I ended up with a lovely navy blue sweater with big brown wooden buttons that, in my humble opinion, makes me look like Paddington Bear, which is also cute (but not Irish) (but still cute. I’m cute.)This picture also made it into last week’s blog, but Holly’s too cute for me to just post it once, and also, it’s right in front of the Galway Woollen Market!!
HK Drinking a Latte at Coffeewerk + Press in Galway City!
Coffeewerk was such a cool space!
After our morning shopping in Galway, and because we were spending two nights, we planned an afternoon SPA DAY (!!!) at the Shore Island Spa at the Loughrea Hotel and Spa, just outside of Galway City. We decided on a Couples Afternoon package, which included a massage, facial, the Rasul Mud Chamber (which is something I never need to do, ever again), and 90 minutes in the Thermal Relaxation Suite, which had saunas, steam rooms, a jacuzzi, and two relaxation rooms, one dark, with color lights all over the ceiling, and one light, overlooking the gorgeous Lough Rea.
It was a wonderful few hours, and a nice period where we could stop, breathe, and reflect on our beautiful vacation.
When we got back to Galway, we parked our car back at the B&B and walked the 10 minutes into Galway City. Our new friend Darren (the Irish Whiskey aficionado) recommended we visit Garavan’s, the bar he manages. We ran into our OTHER new friend Sjef, behind the bar, who recommended a few places to eat. Both Sjef and the other bartender recommended a pub called Blakes Bar, a lovely little pub attached to a restaurant called Brasserie on the Corner, with a small, artisanal menu. Holly and I shared everything, Chili and Sesame chicken wings (which came in a giant bowl and the wings were covered in the sweet, spicy chili and sesame sauce), an Irish Cheese Board (BECAUSE WHY NOT?) and a Beef Burger. We figured if our night was going to be anything like the night before (beer emoji beer emoji beer emoji winking face emoji) we wanted to make sure our bellies were full.
The food was great, but our experience was made perfect by our server, James. He was just as knowledgeable as Darren (and had been to some whiskey conferences with him) and well versed in all the Irish Whiskeys on the menu. He made some suggestions, and we ordered the Powers John’s Lane, a 12 year old Single Pot Still, aged in both bourbon and sherry casks which is named after the address of the original Powers distillery. It was smooth, with dark fruits, caramel, vanilla and toffee. Here’s how it went down… Holly Kay: “I’d like that on the rocks.” James: “Nooooooooo…” So he brought them out neat, and we enjoyed them neat, and it was an absolutely lovely accompaniment to our full meal.
Our expectations on this trip were to experience some of the quintessential Irish hospitality, and James at Blake’s Bar went above and beyond our expectations, chatting with us about whiskey (as Darren had the night before), and what we’d done on our trip so far. He turned what was an already good meal into a wonderful experience. And now we’re friends on Facebook (I’m not creepy!!) Cheers, James!
We then headed back to Garavan’s, and went with one of Darren and Alan’s suggestions from the night before, Green Spot, another Single Pot Still, with flavors of vanilla, citrus, and mint. We caught the end of some live music, which was great Craic!
Live Music at Garavans! (apologies for the vertical video, it was a Facebook Live)
Christmas came early in Galway!
It was cold outside, but it was Nut Hot in here!
After Garavans, we went to the Salt House, Galway Bay Brewery‘s other pub in Galway City, and met up again with Alan…You all remember Alan from last week’s post… This no-longer-bearded beauty and his GBB family raised nearly 10,000 Euro for Galway Hospice, and you can still donate HERE!
We met up with Alan and his wife Danielle, and Laurien (whose husband Will is the head brewer for GBB)… Laurien and Will are transplants from Georgia, and it was fun that my Mississippi gal got to hang out with another southerner!
‘Allo Harvey! This little gal belongs to Alan and Danielle! What a face!!
Wait, so, this is a blog about beer?
Alright, let’s get to it…
As soon as we arrived, Alan greeted us, and said to Holly Kay, “I know more than anybody when you hit that wall… And last night, at around 11pm, I noticed that you’d hit that wall. And when I woke up this morning, I felt kind of bad for ya…” Holly said “Don’t feel bad! We had an amazing time!” Apparently, Alan, Darren, and Sjef left Lonergan’s and headed to… Where else? The Casino! These guys are professionals, and have way more stamina than I do…
I was handed a glass of Galway Bay Brewery’s Full Sail IPA (which I spoke about in last week’s post), which is a balanced, citrusy wonderland of Irish fun…
I drank x2 of these… Trolltunga by Buxton Brewing from England, in collaboration with Lervig Brewery in Norway. This was a sour IPA, with tart, tropical peach, grapefruit, and pine. Absolutely unreal stuff. Alan was so excited about it (he was drinking it when we got there) and it was wonderful.
My Dad’s favorite beer! So nice to see some US craft on draught!
Holly ordered the Buxton Brewery Extra Porter, brewed with Guatemalan Coffee… Super bitter, roasty chocolate, coffee, dark cherries, floral, smokey. Another fantastic brew. We’ve got to find our way to England to try more of their beer!
We were so happy to be able to spend time with our new friend, Alan, and to have met Danielle and Laurien. Galway is a magical city, and that was only emphasized by all the hospitality we experienced while we were there. We’ll absolutely be back (Alan, you got a spare room?)
Until next time!