Rathmullan beach has a lot going for it. Soft, gently sloping sand that runs down to lapping clear water, very little seaweed or flotsam, and an abundance of assorted wildlife – both human and animal. More importantly given my predilections, it has a sneaky little entrance into Rathmullan House about halfway along its length. The house itself – although beautiful - didn’t hold much of a calling for me, it was the Kinnegar Tap Room in what was previously a cellar bar that lured me in from the shore.
I wasn’t alone in my travelling, as I also had dragged along my beloved and my two offspring on the pretence that it would be a nice place to eat after a few hours on the beach, which I really hoped it would be!
So down the steps we trotted, past the outdoor seating area and the mobile pizza oven (How they got it down the steps I don’t know!), and on into the bar/restaurant itself. From what I overheard and read this is a joint venture between Kinnegar Brewing, a slow food pizza company and – I presume – Rathmullan House.
We plonked ourselves and our sandy baggage down at a table and took in the surroundings. The bar is very cellarish obviously with low ceilings and whitewashed rough plaster. Brewing, whiskey, fishing and ship paraphernalia hang on the walls and in many nooks and crannies. Kinnegar bottles with an alphanumeric code mark the table you sit at, and to order a pizza you tick your order on the provided menu slips, as well as what table you’re at, and hand it in at the bar when you choose your drink.
We went for the special – Gorgonzola and smoked sausage – and a charcuterie - tomato, Irish mozzarella, Milano salami, Gaeta olives and capers – both were excellent and enjoyed by all of us. Lovely thin bases, fresh ingredients and a decent size too.
I of course worked my way through the beers with the help of my better half, who loved the Limeburner pale ale. All the beers were very tasty and true to style - especially for my perceived thinking of what farmhouse-style brewing should be (but where’s the Saison?!) - and very drinkable, especially here given the location, food and ambience. My favourites were Yannaroody, a nice full bodied dark-chocolaty porter with the barest hint of coconut that has an ice cream available to match, and the spicy-bitter Rustbucket rye ale. I wasn’t expecting them to brew a double IPA or imperial stout so no surprises or disappointments, just good beer.
We left after chatting with the barmen about the beers, our stomachs full and my curiosity sated too. The family were happy too and we set off back to Rathmullan village after another pleasant hour or two following the hops!
Visited 14th August 2014