Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Why Write? Why Not? Why Now?

The more observant/bothered among you will have noticed that I haven't posted much here over the past few months. One of the reasons - I try to convince myself - for this is a lack-of-time issue due to an increased 'real-life' workload, plus wanting to give more of the time I have to my family, and a need for a general refocus of energy in other directions.

Okay, so some of this redirection was brought about by the anger I channelled following my discovery that a local social media regurgitator had used my research and mywork here on his site without attribution, which in truth motivated me to give more time and attention to the more important things in my life and less to the 'frivolity' of  Blogging and Tweeting, with the result that these other areas of my life have improved immensely in the last few months - not that they were bad to start with of course.

So I guess every anger-laden cloud has a silver lining!?

Of course all of the above could just be an excuse for not writing here as I still write elsewhere, and with the help of a couple of good editors I have articles in a couple of nonbeer/food/travel related national magazines.

But that's different, that's work.

My writing here has always been more enjoyable and certainly less taxing, it was more of a pressure release, an escape. Just anonymous ramblings of interest to only a few, especially since I turned the direction of the blog towards the historical side of brewing. This was never going to be a big draw and hardly a hugely interesting topic for the majority of the public, let alone the beerphiliac minority. 

But that wasn't the point, as it was purely for me anyway, or perhaps anyone doing some beer, food or brewery related research who might find it helpful.

As I mentioned on Twitter a while back to someone who was complaining about the lack of readers to his online writing, we need to be aware that we are trying to communicate to a tiny circle of people, within another circle, within a not-so-big-to-start-with circle so we will never change the world or gain huge traction. Even though my own tiny circle intersects with a few other small, niche history/food/brewing groups, it would require a Venn Diagram maker to break out the tiny compass and pare their pencil to a super fine point to create anything meaningful or legible.

Our writings will never change the world and we will never be those butterfly's wings ... but that's not why we do this, we do it - mostly - for us.

That's why it annoys me when all Bloggers are lumped in with the parasitic influencers that now infest our social media, those extraverts who are in it solely for gain and profit, who harangue hotels for freebies or blackmail restaurants into giving them a favourable review.

But they are the small minority - and we are not them.

We are the majority, we are the introverts who stick our heads above the parapet on occasion with our Tweets or Blog posts, hoping we won't be picked off by those scoffers who know more than us or sabre-rattled-at by those who trawl timelines for something to be offended by, as this seems to be their sole, sad purpose on social media.

But, I'm not sure that all of this interests me or bothers me quite as much any longer...

So what next? Who knows or cares ... but for sure I have changed and I am evolving away from what I originally was here, and perhaps even from what I have become in the last while. I'm due more of a change, even if just for change sake.

In truth I could probably give more time to writing here if I really wanted to and perhaps the catalyst for creating more time is that change.

So ... a new name? A new avatar? A new direction? A hiatus? A cessation?

Perhaps, but I'm not sure and I'm open to suggestions...

Just don't motivate me with anger - even if it is an energy for me - I don't think I could handle much more work or family!

Take care,

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Beer History Kilkenny: James's Street Breweries - Sullivan's Selection...


Back on the 6th February this year I posted this Tweet as a follow up to a post I did about Smithwicks...

'... not wishing to leave the reincarnation of @SullivansBrewCo out, here's an advert from 1895. A Sullivan's Pale Butt is probably out of the question but how about a rebrew of a Double Stout?'

Kilkenny People - 1895,

If nothing else it's nice to remind people yet again that the brewing history of Kilkenny doesn't just involve red ales, and worth posting permanently here for those researching the city's brewing history. I have more information on James's Street Breweries and a couple of its neighbours that I'll try and compile into an original and longer post soon...ish.

In the meantime here's another advert...

Waterford News and Star - 1870

Although I can't guarantee that Sullivan's solicit sample orders anymore ... but who knows?

Oh, and regarding the original Tweet, they did brew a single stout recently...


Part of my Tweet-to-Blog-Conversion-Project to give a slightly more permanent and expanded home to some of my previous Tweets.

With thanks again to my local library for their newspaper archive access.

(All written content and the research involved in publishing it here is my own unless otherwise stated and can not be reproduced elsewhere without full credit to its source and a link back to this post.)

Friday, 16 November 2018

Beer History - Carlow: Incident at Casey's Brewery

Working in a brewery in the 19th century probably wasn't an easy task given the heat, physical work itself and the varied workload. Having said that, this incident from 1833 looks like it was driven by more than just work issues...

The Carlow Sentinel -1833
John Casey's brewery was situated where Dunleckney Maltings - or just 'The Maltings' as it is locally known - now stands, on the banks of the Barrow just outside of Bagenalstown in county Carlow. Indeed some of the existing structure is possibly part of the earlier brewery, which was there from the late 18th century. It changed hands a number of times before it was converted to solely a maltings and I will post more about it at a later date. It may even turn full circle given its current owners...

I'm not sure if Mr. Lynch ever recovered but it seems unlikely, nor do I know if Mr. Keating was ever found...

Not a nice way to go, so all of you current brewery workers with axes to grind might want to wander outside before you start any fights!

Thanks as ever to the local studies room in Carlow library.


(All written content and the research involved in publishing it here is my own unless otherwise stated and can not be reproduced elsewhere without full credit to its source and a link back to this post.)

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Beer History: Guinness Depot Carlow, c. 1900...


Back in March 2017 I posted these tweets...

'Guinness depot on the Barrow in Carlow - late 1800s(?)
[via NLI Photo Collection - Cropped]'

'...Here's a better photo from the same source. If you look through the gate you can see the delivery system post-barge! More likely c. 1900.'


The original images are from The Lawrence Photograph Collection on the NLI website are here and here, and you can see St.Anne's church on the Athy road (before it was moved to Graigue to become St. Clare's), and a malthouse and the gasworks chimney in the background. I think this is the building (under the C) via GioHive on the OSI's historic 25inch map.

It would be great to get a name for the gentleman inside that archway!

Edit: Thanks to Charlie Roche (@charleymcguffin on Twitter) here's a photo of the same building from 1948 via the Britain from Above website. I've added the arrow to make it clearer.

Part of my Tweet-to-Blog-Conversion-Project to give a slightly more permanent and expanded home to some of my previous Tweets.

(My original thread is here)

With thanks to OSI, GeoHive and NLI websites

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Beer History: Keily's Ale - St. Stephen's Brewery, Waterford


Back in 2017 I posted a reply to an old photograph put up by Waterford History that showed a window of a pub in Waterford with a sign for Kiely's Pale Ale...

'Here's Keily's - 1865...'

(The Carlow Post - 1865)

My next Keily's post in that thread was this...

'...Here's another one from 1866...'

(The Carlow Post - 1866)
As you can see from these advertisements, St. Stephen's brewed a wide range of ales ... East India Pale Ale, Strong & Mild Ales, Double (XX), Medium & Single Stouts (I'm assuming that these were porters and not just stout (strong) ales, which wouldn't make sense to my mind if categorised in this way?)

I've mentioned the brewery previously in a post about an exhibition in Cork in 1883, where they were then exhibiting an XXX Ale as well as their India Pale Ale (Brewed with malt from Perry's in Rathdowney, Laois.) and an XXX Stout...


Last week I came across this nice write up about the brewery in the Munster Express from 1895, which originally came from the Irish Mineral Water Journal:

I'm unsure who the author of this passage was but they were seriously impressed by Keily's well hopped and flavoursome ale!

It's interesting to see how many of their comments echo similar points being made about our present beer revival, as to why we need to import so many foreign beers when we have such good ones here? I presume the answer is something to do with keeping breweries on their toes and giving a reference point as to how good is good? The same argument was, and is, given about food too, but surely without this foreign influx of different styles and products our own produce would be a lot less interesting and diverse, and our palates all the poorer too? (Having said all of that I do appreciate the sentiment of their tirade!)

And although I don't really know, I would think that when the time came for Keily's to finally stop brewing ,that foreign imports didn't play a huge part in that decision...

Part of my Tweet-to-Blog-Conversion-Project to give a slightly more permanent and expanded home to some of my previous Tweets.

(My original thread is here)

With thanks to my Local Library's Local Studies room.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Beer History: Pale Stouts ... from Cork and London


"Hardly exciting or new but two nice mentions of Beamish & Crawford's Bavarian Pale and Brown Stouts from The Lancet in 1844, the only possible mystery is the Bavarian twist ... also of note is the mention of professor Liebig, previously mentioned here:"


I Tweeted that here back in January 2018 and since then I've come across a couple more mentions of this Bavarian Pale Stout from 1843. Keeping in mind that the word 'Stout' just meant heavy or robust when attached to a beer then and had not become attached solely to a type of strong porter...

I also came across an advertisement for Thrale's Brewery from 1771 - which I posted about here - that mentioned a 'London Pale Stout of a bright Amber Colour, superior to any Pale Beer or Ale imported...'

Note: Other, wiser minds than mine have talked about Pale Stouts in more detail, let Google be your friend...

(Part of my Tweet-to-Blog-Conversion-Project)

(With thanks to my Local Library's Local Studies room and Google Books)

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Beer History: Mountjoy Brewery, Brown Ale and Nourishing Stout


"Mountjoy Brewery brewed a 'Dublin Brown Ale' in 1953 it seems ... this is from the Irish Press of that year. I wonder if all their recipes are in someone's safe hands...?"

(This drew a question as to when they actually closed, some websites say 1949 but then I then found something online...)

"... Interesting ... the online version of the Findlater book has an addendum that says it closed in 'August 1956'..."

(I then added this...)

"... Further to the Mountjoy Brown Ale tweet above, here's a dubiously worded advert and a writeup from The Irish Press in 1955. It looks like that brown ale died a death - or isn't mentioned at least - and sadly the brewery was soon to head in the same direction..."

(Part of my Tweet-to-Blog-Conversion-Project - Original Tweet is here)

(With thanks to Carlow Library Local Studies room and Findlater's online book.)