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WATCH: Inside St James's Gate as our homebrew finalists get cracking on their Christmas ales

Plus your chance to win tickets to the live event on 9 December.

A DREAM COME true is the way it’s been described by almost everyone involved, and that’s because that’s pretty much what it is.

What could it be?

Well, passionate homebrewers were invited into the heart of brewing in Ireland – St James’s Gate in Dublin city centre – and given the chance to brew their own recipe in the pilot brewhouse.

As part of the Smithwick’s Homebrew Challenge, homebrewers around the country were invited to submit their very own Christmas ales. 70 were received after a call-out by TheJournal.ie and tasted by a panel of beer experts.

From this, two finalists were chosen and invited through the historic gates on James’s Street into the pilot brewhouse, a centre for innovation for brewing.

Check out how they got on in the video below:

TheJournal.ie Commercial / YouTube

Now it’s over to you to choose your favourite, as the two brews are being put to a public taste test in selected pubs around the country. Check out the times and dates below.


  • JW Sweetmans, Wednesday 2 December at 6pm
  • P Macs, Wednesday 2 December at 8.30pm
  • The Jar, Camden Street, Wednesday 2 December at 9.30pm
  • The Old School House, Swords, Wednesday 2 December at 7pm


  • Laverys at the Continental Market, Thursday 3 December at 1pm


  • Seven Bridge Street, Thursday 3 December at 9.30pm


  • The Curraghgower, Friday 4 December at 7.30pm


  • The Ovens, Friday 4 December at 7.30pm
  • The Thomond, Saturday 5 December at 7.30pm


  • Cleeres, Saturday 5 December at 8pm

Sampling at each pub will last an hour and a half.

Competition time

Not only that, but we’d love to see some of TheJournal.ie beer enthusiasts at the final live event on 9 December in the Open Gate Brewery at St James’s Gate, when the overall winner will be announced.

To be in with a chance of winning a bottle of each brew and tickets to the Smithwick’s Homebrew Challenge live event, comment below which pub you’re going to try and sample the Christmas ales in. We’ll be picking two winners – with both winners getting a bottle of each brew and two tickets to the final event. 

Now read: Lucky homebrewers got the chance of a lifetime to brew in St James’s Gate – let’s meet them>

Next: Bucket to bottle – here’s how we got on brewing our own beer in TheJournal.ie’s office>

Next: 7 handy tips to get you started with homebrewing>

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