Cam and Scott's 8 Degrees Brewing has defined the zeitgeist of the craft beer revolution in Ireland. They came out of nowhere, and exploded into public consciousness, not bad for a couple of Antipodean types who work out of a non-descript industrial estate in North county Cork and who give their beers funny names.
How did they do it? Wit, is the answer. Everything they do has a wit and a warmth about it that is irresistible. They make jokes, and the jokes are good ones: droll, funny, inside jokes. They are the Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert of craft brewing – ironic, amused, kind of amazed. And underpinning their humour are a raft of brews that are amongst the best things you can consume.
They kicked off with a trio – Howling Gale Ale; Knockmealdown Porter; Sunburnt Irish Red – but their ambitions were never going to be confined or defined by these three, and a steady trickle of special editions have followed – the Back to Black trio; Amber-ella; the Hurricane and Cyclone IPAs; the Kindred Spirit; the Winter's Ale; the Barefoot Bohemian Pilsner.
In a mere handful of years they have crafted more drinks than the beer magnates could make in half a century, and they make it look easy. The media love them – you could wallpaper the Palace of Versailles with the newsprint they have garnered over the last three years, and one can only imagine the groans of envy in the boardrooms of Diageo and Interbrew as another Cam 'n' Scott profile looks out at you from the weekend colour pages.
Understanding the success of 8 Degrees is easy: just open a bottle of Howling gale Ale, and take a sip. Now, now you understand.
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