Hostile Takeover

Location of Origin: Ardee Road, Dundalk, Leinster, Ireland
Date Established: 1846
Category: Subsidiary (of Guinness) Contract Macrobrewery With Multiple Facilities, Full Scale National And Intercontinental Distribution, and Several Contracted Supplier Breweries

Up until the mid 1900s, the Dundalk Brewery (otherwise known as the Great Northern Brewery) was a pretty successful ale and stout producer in Dundalk, Ireland. The brewery was known for using water sourced from the Cooley Mountains, and locally grown ingredients. The brewery was a local and regional favorite and its reputation for quality was noticed by Kilkenny brewer, Smithwick's, who acquired the brewery in the 1950s. For a few years, the brewery maintained its operations, brewing the same beers it always had. Then Smithwick's was purchased by Irish leader Guinness, whose brewery at St. James Gate was the largest in Ireland. Smithwick's is an Irish ale, while everyone knows that Guinness has been Ireland's best selling stout for quite some time. So for business purposes, the idea that the new, larger company could produce multiple kinds of the relatively same style was a bit ludicrous. So in 1960, the company released Harp Lager, the company's first lager, a style which had yet to meet its supply demand in the country at the time. Harp was the result of a collaboration between a German brewmaster, Guinness, and a few British breweries who would help brew the beer under license. In order for Harp to be made, Guinness had to convert the Dundalk Brewery into a lager house. Harp became a relatively immediate success, quickly becoming the best selling lager in Ireland, and pushing the reaches of St James Gate further. In 1997, beverage conglomerate Daigeo purchased Guinness including Harp, eventually disassociating the brands from each other in 2005. In 2008, Diageo announced that the Dundalk brewery would be closed, and Harp's primary brewing facility would be moved to either St James Gate or a new facility near Dublin, but plans of the closure were put on indefinite hold, much to the relief and delight of locals. Harp is brewed in various locations around the world under license.

Reviewed Beer from The Great Northern Brewery, Dundalk

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All rated Beer from The Great Northern Brewery, Dundalk

5-19-10 - Harp Lager - 3.40, Pale Lager, 4.30%
First offered in bottles in 1960, this is a Vienna style pale which has received 6 Gold Quality Awards from the Monde Selection. This is a lighter bodied beer with a grassy flavor and a lightly hopped profile. This beer is often paired with its former co-brand Guinness to make a Black And Tan. Harp is stil Ireland's best selling lager, and continues to be brewed at its original Dundalk location, though plans are in the mix to close down the plant (along with a sister plant in Kilkenny) in the coming years. This is a lager with a well balanced flavor experience, offering a good amount of pale malty flavor offset with traditional grassy notes as well as a bit of noticeable delicate hops and a dry, crisp finish.