Rascals Brewery, taproom and pizzeria opened in November in Inchicore and is already really popular with locals and tourists alike.
Dublin 8 is a thriving area of the city with a large number of housing developments in construction at the moment, plus new retail spaces, restaurants, cafés, distilleries and markets planned to open in 2019-2020.
Inchicore is one area in Dublin 8 that has seen a rise in the number of house sales and renters flocking to it due to slightly more affordable prices and with Luas and Dublin Bus links making the city centre only minutes away, it is hardly surprising.
Inchicore is now also home to Dublin’s only taproom and pizza restaurant, Rascals HQ, a new destination for lovers of craft beer and wood-fired pizza housed in the bright, unmissable home of Rascals Brewing Company. For those unsure, a ‘taproom’ is the space in which a brewery serves its beer to customers.
The Rascals story thus far
Rascals Brewing Company was started in Rathcoole in 2014 by husband and wife team Cathal O’Donoghue and Emma Devlin. The brewery and brand have gone from strength to strength the past few years and so the time and opportunity came to expand the business and find a new home.
“We outgrew the space we were in and knew we had to move,” Cathal O’Donoghue explained. “Our Inchicore premises is owned by business partners and when they showed it to us we knew it was the perfect layout for a brewery. Even before any plans were drawn up or work done, we knew it was good.”
“Plus the area is great, it’s close to the Luas, etc and it has recently seen a lot of young professionals move to the area. The local community are already supporting us and enjoying the space. Saturdays and Sundays, we see a lot of families coming in and in the evenings, we have younger customers and larger groups.”
Large-scale taprooms are found across the world in all major cities, especially in the likes of the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. More and more people, not just tourists, are looking for immersive and interactive food and drink experiences.
“In many ways, this particular business model – providing tours, events spaces, dining services – has been a way of future proofing the craft beer industry. Diversification and increasing revenue streams have worked in countries whose craft beer industry now command a double-digit market share, with America being a prime example.”
“It has been our long-term goal to add a taproom to the brewery. We’ve seen them abroad, especially in the U.S. and Emma and I lived in New Zealand and visited breweries like this. Some very basic, with not necessarily a restaurant, maybe just a food truck out back, but still really good food. It’s very easy in those countries as the licence laws are more relaxed. A brewery can have a taproom under the same licence, but in Ireland, you need a separate bar licence.”
The Rascals Brewery Tour
Rascals HQ offers a brewery tour, which can deservedly claim to be unique. While some brewery tours are extremely well presented, glossy almost, with a large emphasis on marketing, Rascals is a fully-functioning brewery with tours that weave through the brewing process as it happens on site.
With an expert guide, the tour starts with the story of Rascals, itself an interesting tale of a husband and wife team who gave up the day job to pursue a dream of one day owning a brewery. Visitors are then brought through the stages of brewing, on a mezzanine floor which overlooks the brewing vessels. Everything from the malt room to the brewhouse to the fermenters are discussed and explained, with all the senses catered for: people are invited to taste the malted barley, smell the hops, and so on. It’s a working brewery so visitors can often meet or see brewers going about their business, with any surprise activities incorporated into the tour on the spur of the moment.
Artistic installations complement the tour; you can’t resist taking photographs! Each tour concludes with a generous tasting of Rascals beers as well as some wood-fired flatbread straight from the pizza oven. Even the beer sampling is expertly described by our resident tour guide.
“We’re very happy with how the restaurant is running and customers are happy so that’s the main thing. Our pizzas are cooked in a wood-fired oven that we imported from Italy and all of the dough is handmade on site. We've visited a lot of pizzerias and done research until we had an idea of the style we wanted to serve here.
Fun experiences at Rascals HQ
We run a lot of events in the space, for example, Quizzy Rascals, is a quiz night that everyone loves. Then we have a Beer and Chocolate Evening and Northern Soul night coming up. There is always something happening. We have a kids play area that doubles as the event space and where the stage goes in the evenings so it works well.”
Not surprisingly, brewery tours at Rascals are proving massively popular for stag and hen outings. Probably the combination of high-quality beer and pizza or perhaps it’s because the brewery tour is simply a fun thing to do! Getting to go behind the scenes at one of Ireland’s most respected craft beer producers is rapidly becoming the preferred option for social outings.
Rascals Brewing prides itself on the role it has played in the resurgence of the craft beer industry in Ireland and having finally been given the opportunity to open its doors to the public for tours, they’re looking forward to giving people an authentic look at what makes a craft brewery a success.