Friday, 22 December 2017

Travel: Bonn, Germany Part I - Christmas Markets, Castles and Beethoven's Birthplace!

So here we go again...

I have a reoccuring fear that our annual pilgrimage to a Christmas market each December has become so regular that it is in danger of becoming boring. Even though we usually pick somewhere away from the normal tourist crowds, I was still worried that wherever we chose this year would just be the same as every other trip - like some kind of Every-Weihnachtsmarkt, Germany ... with the same old stalls selling the same old items.

I would hate for that sameness to creep in to our trips, so we put a bit of thought and research into our destinations from year to year...

Bonn isn't on the list of names trotted out each year when people think about a city to visit at this time of year, especially when the tourist magnet of Cologne is just up the road. But as ever - and because of my above mentioned fear of boredom - we chose to venture on the less travelled path, and Bonn was somewhere we knew very little about so it ticked that box in my travel-needs list. That combined with its ease of access via a couple of decent airports and affordable - and available - accomodation, plus a walkable looking city centre with a decent sized market that sprawled across a few streets and squares, meant we took a chance...

And we were glad we did.

At the Christmas market itself the quality and variety of the stalls were superb, it seemed that the various stall holders were vying with each other to produce bigger displays or better products, all presented with that welcome bit of theatre that is essential at this time of year. Most noticeable was  that, apart from a couple of the usual suspects, most of what we saw was local or at least local-ish, plus the quality of everything from the food to the gifts and drinks were all excellent. We were impressed with all the handmade items such as jewelry, pottery and wood carvings, although admittedly a lot of it was in the higher price bracket but it still appeared to be value for money.

The food ranged from plank-cooked salmon (top right below) to flammkuchen and of course plenty of wursts! From vegetarian dishes to roast pork and bacon there was a food-type here for everyone. There was plenty for the sweet toothed too, with our favourite being the flavoured, marshmallow filled Schokoküsse ... we even saw a churro stand! As well as the usual mulled wine there were plenty of standard drinks available and I had my first mulled Belgian beer, a really good Liefmans Kriek served in the correct glassware!

The market stretches from Münsterplatz and Bottlerplatz, along adjoining streets to Friedensplatz and with 180 stalls there's plenty of choice ... but it gets very busy at night so I'd recommend heading out to a bar or a restaurant for a drink or a bite away from the city centre if it gets too hectic. (More on this option in my next post.) 

There's more than the Christmas market to see in Bonn of course, as there are plenty of sights too, although on this kind of trip I find that it's nice just to wander the streets and keep the agenda to a minimum. But one building that's literally impossible to miss is the huge multi-towered Bonner Münster - The Basilica of St. Cassius and Florentius - on Münsterplatz (obviously!) although sadly it was closed for renovations when we visited but we did get to look around the beautiful cloister. (Curiously enough they have built a glass office at the side of the church and placed someone in it whose only job appears to be telling people that the building is closed!)

Bonn is also the birthplace of Beethoven, a fact that's hard to miss given how his name is plastered everywhere and not-so-cheery statues of good old Ludwig abound, including the imposing one on Münsterplatz where he scowls down from his plinth at the christmas merrymakers. The self-guided tour of the museum and house of his birth (picture below) is quite interesting, and is full of items and pictures connected to him. It's a pleasant way to kill an hour or so and a must-do for anyone interested in such an important composer.

The city is a great place for retail therapy too with plenty of mid- and high-end brands available, and a nice touch for Christmas is that each of the main shopping streets in the main part of the city have their name in lights. Walking these streets you'll notice that most of the city was destroyed in the war but some old building remain such as the Knusperhäuschen (centre below), and there are plenty of interesting statues and fountains around to take that raw edge off the city. Bonn also boasts an excellent food market on Marktplatz ( More original naming!) and a nice little flower market close by.

There are many other sights too that we missed or hadn't time to see, I've included a link to the Bonn tourism website below to show what else there is to see and do.

Our other reason for staying in Bonn was to visit the magnificent Schloss Drachenburg with its stunning views over the Rhine. The castle is a wonderfully over-the-top, turreted masterpiece and certainly has a serious fairytale quality. It was built in just three years from 1882 to 1884 half way between the town of Königswinter and the older castle at the top of the hill called Drachenfels - Dragon's Rock! Sadly there was a lot of cloud and mist when we visited so we had to strain our eyes to see the river winding its way in either direction below us...

We got there by taking tram 66 from the city centre to Königswinter Fähre and then it's just a short walk to the funicular railway that take you up to the castle. We timed our visit to coincide with a Dickens' style Christmas market that was taking place in the grounds and a light show that bathed the building in colour. The house itself is full of wonderful stained glass, carvings and unbelievably detailed workmanship, murals and paintings. I'd imagine it's just as stunning in summer so whenever you visit Bonn it would be worth going, and perhaps in summer you can abandon the train and climb all the way to the top! (Check the website for opening times - I've included the link below.)

So ... Bonn might not have been on your radar up to now but I would seriously recommend a visit, and in truth we only scratched the surface of what can be seen, as time, the Christmas market and the need to eat and drink were our enemy as usual!

It could certainly figure in your Christmas market shortlist for next year ... don't forget to try the mulled kriek!

Next up will be a post about the beer and food we had during our visit...


Christmas Market
Bonn Tourist Information
Schloss Drachenburg

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Beer History: Genuine London Porter in Kilkenny - 1767

Here's a nice early-ish mention from 1767 of London porter being available in Kilkenny - hardly a shock but nice to see it in print. The Bartholomew Rivers mentioned here was a wealthy merchant who is perhaps best known for helping to transform Tramore just outside Waterford city into a seaside resort. In this advert from Finn's Leinster Journal (printed in Kilkenny) he says that he has 'fitted up a warehouse in the city [Kilkenny] to hold porter' and just porter by the sounds of it, which shows its popularity in the city. It ties in with a couple of my previous porter related posts here and here too.

What is also of some interest is the specific mention of hops in the advert in relation to his Waterford warehouse, a hardly surprising sign of how important hops were to the brewing trade, as they are mentioned here before tea and sugar. Perhaps Mr. Rivers was one of the bigger importers of them...


(With thanks as ever to the local studies room in my local library.)

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Drink History: Hop Bitters - For New Life and Vigor!

Here are a three of adverts from the late 19th and very early 20th century, two of which make great claims of the benefits of Hop Bitters...

In this second advert we can see the ingredients listed as 'Hops, Bucha, Mandrake, podophyllin and Dandelion' - all of which are still available today in various forms - but what attracted my attention was the £500 that would be paid to anyone it didn't cure! I wonder did anyone claim it?

Judging from the advert below even our local bottlers got in on the act - without making any such bold claims I might add...

Anyhow, it's all food - or drink - for thought and I think it deserves an airing, I'll return to the topic as soon as I find some more information on it.

Who knows? I might even make some!


(With thanks again to my local library...)

Friday, 24 November 2017

Beer & Whiskey: Did Jameson get it wrong?

(This post relates to free product I received from Jameson - although there's more to it than that - so back out now if that bothers you...)

As I've said previously, I'm not really a whiskey person.

Although I do like the idea of sitting back in my armchair with a nice warming single malt and a pipe, basking in the glow and warmth of an open turf fire with a little bit of vinyl jazz tickling my eardrums, as I read the latest dispatches from abroad with my obedient King Charles asleep at my feet...

Okay, so perhaps that's overkill but the fact is I've never really been exposed to spirits in any meaningful way until recently, and even now a bottle can last me an awful long time, so perhaps my hearts not really in it ... I may need to cancel the spaniel and the load of turf.

Spirits such as whiskey were never something that featured in my past. My parents and grandparents didn't drink much, although allegedly when my great grandfather came back from WW1 with undiagnosed (and unheard of) PTSD he took to whiskey to blank out his past and spent his journey home from the local pub saluting the telegraph poles that were erected along his route, perhaps in tribute to fallen comrades.

I was for a brief time partial to the odd whiskey myself in my younger days when my constitution was better and I needed that warming alcohol hit without the stomach-filling volume of a pint. But in recent years my 'Drink Less, Drink Better' mantra (which I may have stolen from The Beer Nut) has kicked in and although I still enjoy alcoholic beverages, it's more likely to be beer or wine and taken in a different, more analytical and sometimes-social, way where the alcohol content can be an unwanted but necessary part of the consumed liquid.

But I still do buy the occasional bottle of spirits, which are slowly consumed and rarely commented on. Therefore I was surprised to receive a free gratis bottle of Jameson Caskmates IPA Edition a few weeks ago via their marketing company - not that I refused it because, let's face it, I'm not that stupid! (Hush now...)

Anyhow, the whiskey came with a memory stick which contained a blurb about the whiskey and some images ... which I quickly deleted and it's now full of beer and whiskey related history research - cheers Jameson! It also arrived with a can of Franciscan Well Chieftain IPA to pair with the whiskey, as the whiskey was finished in casks that were previously used for flavouring an IPA.

This struck me as a little odd as surely the IPA would mask any hint of hops, which already had to fight for its place on my palate with the whiskey flavours themselves? Nevertheless I did what I was told and sure enough, although they were quite pleasant together they didn't give me the contrast I was looking for ... 

So I went off-piste and ignored Jameson and their silly ideas ... Sure what would they know about whiskey anyway?

I tried drinking the whiskey with one of my all time favourite stouts from Galway Bay Brewing - Buried at Sea. This was better for me, as the contrasting sweet stout brought out the subtle citrus quality of the whiskey. I'm sure other stouts would also work by the way - just differently.

A different night I tried another experiment with a half measure of the IPA Caskmates and the same amount of the older Caskmates Stout Edition of the whiskey, which I'd purchased myself by the way. This was better again as the sharp contrast between the vanilla-like stout edition enhanced the hoppy-citrus notes of the IPA version and vice versa, this part of the experiment impressed me the most.

Lastly, I tried the Stout edition of the whiskey with an IPA and again found this a much better partner, as that contrast in tastes worked much better for me. Again the nice vanilla sweetness of the whiskey enhanced the hops in beer and even bought out a different side to the malts.

So ... where does that leave us? Well for me Jameson did get it wrong...

They should have shipped the IPA edition with a stout and the stout edition with an IPA - but that's just my palate of course - and if you want to pick up the hops in the IPA whiskey in any meaningful way try it after the stouted version.

Then again some people like to match yellow with orange and others like the contrast of yellow with blue ... so maybe you like complements, where I like contrasts...


(Thanks again to Jameson & Co.)

(Responsible Bit: This experiment took place over a couple of weeks, I don't suggest doing it all in one night!)

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Food History: Hams! Hams! Hams! Christmas in Carlow - 1891

As I've mentioned previously, Carlow was a pretty cosmopolitan and prosperous place back in the 1800s and here's a nice advert from 1891 showing the range and variety of food and drink available at this time. Perhaps it's also testament to the sheer number of people who could afford these items within the town environs and in the many Big Houses a little beyond.

And this was just one shop of a few that sold these kind of products ... some lucky local people were going to have a good Christmas that year...

The Carlow Vindicator 1891 - Local Library

Morris's stood on the corner of Burrin Street and Bridewell Lane, on part of the site where the town's hideous post office now lurks. Judging from the maps at this time, it was quite a large establishment - as it would need to be to stock such a range. Calling itself an 'Italian Warehouse' - with the subtitle of 'The Marsala House' with fancy-shmancy script - is a superb piece of marketing exoticism that would appeal to the landed gentry returning from trips abroad back in the day.

I will draw your attention to some of the lines listed:
  • Coffee roasted and ground on site daily
  • Doomvera tea - 'The Tea of the Future' (Nope, I have no clue either...)
  • Whiskey, scotch ... even old Islay malt
  • Old Cognac in wood and 21 year old brandy
  • Large range of champagnes, plus Hock and Moselle wines
  • Gin, rum and liqueurs
  • Guinness's stouts, Bass and Allsopp's ales and Royal Pilsener
  • Fruits and nuts - fresh, tinned, preserved and crystalised
  • Rices, spices, jams and jellies
  • Cossaques [sic] (Christmas crackers), biscuits, chocolates (Cadbury's and Fry's) and other confectionary
  • Meat, fish and cheese ... including Gorgonzola
  • Those special Hams! Hams! Hams! (No turkeys of course...)
...and much more as you can see.

Part of me would love to have seen this place at Christmas ... busy with customers, packages being loaded up for delivery around the town, plus new lines arriving from far flung places...

Perhaps it's no different to shopping in any supermarket now in a way, but my romantic, nostalgic - and possibly naive - side makes me think I'm somehow missing something special, like some kind of food-focussed time-traveller's FOMO.

I'll leave you to mull over the stock with this last bit of 19th century marketing blurb that's stuck on to the end of the advert...

'Whiskey that needs no eulogy.'

What does that even mean?


Friday, 10 November 2017

Travel: Wexford Town - Be Entertained...

Okay, I admit it ... I have a bit of a gra* for Wexford...

I'm not 100% sure what the actual draw is but I can tell you that it started with a visit to Lambert's Bar and Yellowbelly brewery a couple of years ago and grew from that to the point where I try to get down at least twice a year, to lurk in strange corners of the town gazing at walls, doors or windows, drinking quietly in bars or just staring out to sea. Perhaps that's part of the attraction as I have a love of being close to the ocean but an intense fear of water, which means that maybe my psyche might be literally trying to psych me out, daring me to be close to the edge of terrafirma but not in the sea itself.

This time I was down with the other half - and by far my better half (well, she may be reading this...), who is also half Wexican I might add - on a quick overnighter, to relax and have a little alone time, which gets increasingly rare when kids, work and life's various bumps and bruises need attending.

Arriving in town in the early afternoon we checked into our lodgings at Bugler Doyle's and headed for lunch in the aforementioned Simon Lambert & Sons, or Simon's Place as it's also called. It was in the bowels of the cellar here that Yellowbelly beer was born and thrived, outgrowing its cramped surroundings and flexing its prodigious muscles into a bigger, better space just out of town. I had a tour of the cellar on my visit back in 2015 by head brewer Declan Nixon, whose passion for experimentation has birthed a thousand (or so it seems) different beers over the last few years, very few of which haven't appealed to me. Following the various Yellowbellys on Twitter is akin to watching a dysfunctional, manic family argue, joke and express some kind of quasi-love in what is quite frankly a disturbing - if endearing and entertaining - way ... but regardless of that, they produce great beers that rarely disappoint and are very likely to elicit 'Oohs!' and 'Aahs!' from the first sip.

Anyhow, Lambert's also do a very busy trade in lunch and we were fortunate to get a seat, as the place was extremely busy on the saturday we visited  ... luckily I'm not above elbowing little old ladies out of the way if there's a promise of good food and drink. I ordered a salad with chicken, black pudding and a fried egg, which may sound like a strange combination but was exactly what I needed, especially when washed down with a cask pulled Rascal's Wunderbar ... wunderbar indeed! Herself had a tasty looking steak sandwich which mustn't have offended her much, as she left very little of it behind her. I even convinced her to have a Yellowbelly lager instead of her usual - and frankly embarrassing-to-ask-for - Bud ... a minor miracle in itself.

We finally felt guilty about the amount of people looking for seats so we paid up - refusing to make eye contact with the little old ladies we had wrestled for our table - and toddled out into the town, very full and happy with our lunch, drinks and service.

Wexford is great shopping town and we wove our way along the very busy South & North Main Streets past shoppers, tourists and herds of feral-looking teenagers, glancing in the many windows that line the street. We weren't really shopping just browsing but I did end up in a quirky secondhand shop and managed to accidentally buy an old embossed, skittle-shaped beer bottle and get my ear bent by the owner. We wandered on to the old town walls and the gate that once guarded the town dwellers from marauding Carlow men no doubt. I guess the locals take all this for granted - a substantial part of the walls still remain - but when you live in a town that has lost all traces of its walls it makes you appreciate these lumps of rocks and mortar all the more...

Wexford has a long and colourful history which is worth looking into, so I'd suggest when you're finished reading this you delve a little deeper if that's of interest - you won't be disappointed.

We bookended our dinner that evening with return visits to Lambert's where I had a very pleasant McGargle's Toothless Dec brown ale and an absolutely sublime sour saison dry-hopped with Irish hops from Yellowbelly called The Harvest King, my favourite beer of the weekend. (No pints by the way, just half ones - drink less drink better remember?)

Later on in a then much busier bar that was full of the after-show crowds I had Are You Not Entertained?, a full-on double IPA which is exactly what I needed after dinner to scrape my palate of rabbit and pork fat...

We had that dinner in The Yard just off Lower George's Street, a rather nice if quite loud restaurant that was very popular on this Saturday night. I chose the potted rabbit for starter followed by a miso glazed pork belly dish, while herself had some excellent goat's cheese croquettes followed by lamb rump, and we shared a very nice, fruity bottle of Les Amies Chanteuses. (As well as a great looking wine list they also stock a selection of micro produced beers, so don't worry if wine is not your thing.)

My rabbit was served with radish, pickled blackcurrants and a slab of soda bread ... this fantastic combination worked really well and was one the nicest plates of food I've had while eating out in Ireland in a long time. The pork was served with a kimchi parcel, rice, cashew cream and pickled mouli ... and  those little parcels of kimchi were the highlight on the plate and I was quite sad when I'd finished the last one! I had some issues with the pork, as the miso glaze seemed to have over-salted the meat to the point where the lovely crackling was inedible and even the rest of the belly slice was just barely tolerable for me - a salt addict. It was still a very enjoyable meal but the salt did overshadow it a tad ... perhaps I'm not as salt tolerant as I think I am? I did mention this to our waiter and she said she'd say it to the chef ... if she did he either took it on the chin or decided I didn't know what I was talking about, which was perhaps the correct assumption. Service was excellent from booking to leaving, where we were given a voucher for a couple of free glasses of bubbly in a related bar on Monch Street, which was a nice - and clever - touch.

When we got to the bar we realised it wasn't our kind of spot, as it seems to have a endless procession of noisy, wobbly hen parties coming and going ... as entertaining as watching them might be it was too loud and brash for us middle-aged, slightly bloated, stick-in-the-muds to enjoy. Instead we rambled on along the quays where we witnessed a man in a van threaten the bouncers of a nightclub while shouting profanities. I'm not sure what his problem or agenda was but I'm pretty sure that hanging half out of the window of a Volkswagon Caddy waving a hurley and name calling was going to get him too far.

We watched the spectacle for a while before cutting back up onto North Main Street where we discovered poor Barry...

Barry was getting a ferocious telling of from his partner. She accused him of bringing shame to her family - among other things - and called him a number of choice words that I won't repeat here. Barry was rambling in our direction with his hands in his pockets and head down, when he finally cracked, turned to face her and voiced his disagreement with her assessment of how their evening had went with a few germanic words of his own. This only caused his accuser to raise her voice louder - which I didn't think was possible - and give him a shove for his troubles. I presume some primitive survival instinct kicked in then as he avoided her next attempted contact and detoured up Rowe Street looking for sanctuary, as his soon-to-be-former-partner tottered after him, flinging more insults in his wake...

Five minutes later as I sipped my 'Are we not Entertained?' in Lambert's I thought ... Why yes, yes we are...

The Sky and the Ground is the other main my-kind-of-beer bar I frequent in Wexford and it was here we decided to have a night cap. Earlier in the day I had a pleasant drink from their more than decent tap selection and a read in the quiet, lovely little snug just inside the door. Tonight we headed up to the Suas bar on the first floor, as the last time we were here they had a great bottle range and I was hoping for something special to finish the night in style. The range on the chalkboard seems to have diminished since my last visit but I spotted two brett stouts from Otterbank Brewery - Declan from Yellowbelly's own brand - either of which would have suited my needs. Unfortunately the chalkboard wasn't up to date and both were gone ... a huge disappointment! I asked about any imperial stouts that might be lurking in the fridge, shelf or cellar but there were none, and sensing the barperson's impatience I settled on a gin for myself and a coffee liqueur for herself, and sat like a grump in the corner, cross and disappointed, mumbling about stouts and getting into a strop.

That changed...

This place is possibly the best place to be on a saturday night to people-watch. Notwithstanding hen parties, hurley bearing fruitcakes and poor Barry ... watching the comings, goings and interactions of people here was fascinating. Merry ladies spilling gin and hitting on whoever the could; a guy having a snooze as his girlfriend sat sourly beside him on a couch - only perking up when a lothario in a too-tight suit and wicked facial hair sidled over to sit beside her; someone at the bar who kept getting asked for selfies by a group of hangers on (Was he famous? Obviously not in my circles...); and a gaggle of ever changing drinkers and schmoozers wandering in and out, interacting with each other and giving the place a huge, buzzing atmosphere.

We sat sipping our drinks, being thoroughly entertained by all of these wonderful people. So if this kind of conspicuous voyeurism is your thing then I thoroughly recommend this spot ... just harangue them about their beer selection! (In truth it's quite good but perhaps needs a little filling out to appeal to contrary curmudgeons...)

The next morning we were up early wandering the deserted town, taking in a few sights that we missed the previous day and having a nice walk along the quays, feeling refreshed by the sea air, views and sights - more churches, gateways and walls. Eventually we also found somewhere open for breakfast - a rare thing on a Sunday morning in Wexford town it seems - before heading back to collect our bags and walk uphill to where our car was parked in the Bride Street Church carpark. (Which is great value by the way...)

We wandered into the church to check out the Harry Clarke stained glass window, which no matter what your religious views are is one of the must see things in the town in my opinion. We gazed and studied it for a while, checking out the detail and admiring the superb use of colour before heading out to the car and the shortish road back to Carlow.

Our trip only reinforced my love of Wexford town. Sure it's not perfect - no place is - but for a one night break it comes close as far as sights, shopping, food and drinks are concerned. And as for entertainment? Well, this trip would be hard to beat...

So huge thanks to all the places we visited, even those I may have berated slightly.

Oh, and if you see Barry, let him know we were thinking about him...


*Love - for those of you not from Ireland or acquainted with this stolen Irish word.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Beer History: Allsopp's Pale Ale Adverts - Facts and Figures?

Paper never refused ink they say, and I've learned than you certainly can't believe everything you read, but I came across the following advertisement by Allsopps in the Dublin published The Freeman's Journal of 1844.

The figures may be of interest to some people as they claim that their beers are best by virtue of the quantity that is shipped to India and the price it achieves in the ports there versus Bass and Hodgson...

It also contains a list of the places in Dublin where it was available if any of my scarce readers there fancy rooting in a cellar for a stray cask...

Not forgetting Cork, here is a advertisement from The Cork Examiner in 1856 again for Allsopps, but this time letting us know how wonderful their pale ale is for our constitution!

Well if you can't trust someone called BARON LIEBIG then who can you trust?!


Wait a minute...


(Ron Pattinson over at Shut Up About Barclay Perkins has more on the above price spat here.)

With thanks as ever to my local library...

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Food: Recipe - Pickled Eggs with Jalapeños & Garlic

Any of you that follow me on Twitter are probably sick to the teeth of pickled-egg-tweets but a couple of weeks back I tried out some new recipes to add to my favourite beetroot ones - that original recipe is here by the way.

So bad news for you lot because here's my new favourite recipe for eggs with jalapeños and garlic!

You will need:

  • 10 Eggs – I use small or medium size
  • 300ml of clear malt vinegar
  • 200ml of water
  • 1 Tablespoon each of salt & sugar
  • Half of a 200g jar of sliced jalapeños - drained
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 1 large jar (I use an empty 950g olive jar)

What to do:

Boil eggs for 10 mins and leave them sitting in hot water for a further 10 mins, then place in cold water for 15 mins.

While waiting on the eggs to cool sterilise the jar and lid. I do this by washing them in hot water, rinsing well, then pour boiling water into the jar and putting the lid in a bowl with more boiling water. (Warning: It has been suggested that the glass might crack by doing this so choose whatever way to sterilise that you feel is safe. In theory the vinegar mix will do this job but I'm over cautious... )

Add the vinegar, water, salt and sugar to a saucepan, then bring to the boil to dissolve sugar and salt. Add the jalapeños and garlic and simmer for a minute or two. Carefully empty the water from the jar, peel the eggs and place them into the jar - putting garlic and jalapeños between each layer. When you’ve added all the eggs that you can - don’t pack too tight or they’ll stick together - fill the jar with the boiled pickling liquid and top to the rim with boiled water if required.

Carefully place the lid on and tighten. As the jar cools the lid will de-press and seal the contents. Rotate the jar as it cools to stop the eggs from sticking together - it will be very hot at first!

Once cooled, store in the fridge until you need them. They need at least a week for the flavour to infuse into the eggs. (The other eggs in the top picture are pickled with Komodo Dragon chillies - very hot, but nice too!)



(There’s a lot of discussions on various websites about sterilising and storage but this is what works for me with no issues so far. But I’m not a trained food handler so use your own knowledge and common sense.)

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

History: In Praise of 'A Pot of Irish Porter'...

I came across the following piece in an old newspaper last week, and thought it seemed worth transcribing and putting up on the blog. I'm unsure of the background to it and could not find the original article it appears to allude to, but here it is anyway...

To  the COMMITTEE  for  conducting  the  FREE-PRESS

I make bold to congratulate you upon the success of your late endeavours in the service of your country, by so strenuously recommending the use of Irish porter.
    Your patriotic sentiments are, at length, almost every where adopted, and there are not now in the whole city, over half a dozen houses of any note, that continue to sell English porter, and they too (being only frequented, either by Englishmen, or those connected with the interest of the porter merchant) must very soon fall in with the rest, or else, by obstinately persisting to oppose the laudable wish and intentions of the publick, become neglected and despised.
    Curiosity, and a desire to contribute my little moiety to the general good, induces me often to mingle with my countrymen in their hour of relaxation, at these meetings, and it is with secret pleasure I remark the chearful[sic] satisfied countenance each consumer of this wholesome beverage displays, when he calls for A POT OF IRISH PORTER : the inward gratification he feels, whilst drinking the produce of his native soil, and contemning that of ungenerous Britain, is happily expressed in his face, and nothing but mirth, harmony and friendship are every where found to be the attendant effects of it.
    To you Gentlemen, the lovers of Ireland are particularly indebted, as the principal promoters of this happy change. Which, whilst it keeps at home many thousands heretofore lavished on ungrateful neighbours, has also rendered a material saving to the laborious class of people, by being so much cheaper and from its healthful and enlivening qualities inspiring a universal love and fellowship that is evident on every occasion.
    On this point then, there remains nothing now to wish, but that the Brewers of Irish Porter, continue to do that justice they have so well began with: and let it not be said that this great and necessary undertaking (like many others for publick utility) shall in its infancy fall to the ground because ------- very much encouraged.
      I am, Gentlemen,
            Your most humble servant,
                       A NATIVE
    Sep. 1 1779
~ Freeman's Journal September 1779 - Via Carlow Library Local Studies Room

Stirring words indeed! There seems to be more to this letter of course than just Irish porter and it could be classed as incitement to hatred perhaps, against porter from 'ungenerous Britain' at the very least!

Regardless of the deeper sentiment our writer is getting at, there are a few valid point we can still take from this...

The drinking of local beer, if it suits your palate and purse, and the gratification it elicits; that 'cheerful, satisfied countenance' that enjoying a pint in good company can evoke; and the need to always question what we drink, or eat for that matter, and ask, 'Is there a better alternative?', and that 'better' can mean something different to everyone of course...

Anyhow, I'm off to look for a pot of Irish porter ... wish me luck!



Thursday, 5 October 2017

Travel: On Forgetting to Remember...

It was on the Rue au Beurre in Brussels almost 10 years ago that I first remembered my father had died ... absurd as that sounds.

It had been four months since he had passed away. Taken quickly, leaving us to deal with the shock at first, and when it left what remained was sadness and a deep, aching hurt - tinged with anger and regret. And that pain was a constant presence in my head over those first few months, as if his ghost was rattling around inside of me daring me to forget him...

So I had gone to Brussels with a few friends, partly as an escape from the constant reminders of his passing and partly because I wanted to go somewhere to relieve that wanderlust itch, which no amount of reading or writing about travel can truly scratch.

Brussels did both. It was here I discovered Bruegel and Horta; it was here that I discovered a bar with 2,000 different beers; it was here I did the Cantillon tour and first found gueuze and kriek; it was here I was served beers in vases and horns hung on timber; it was here I learned how to pronounce Duvel correctly; it was here I tasted stoemp and sausage for the first time. And it was here I started to really appreciate beer, and began to respect it more.

And because of all of this I forgot about my father's death for the first time ... and not due to alcohol consumption I must add, but due to the sheer volume of information that had overwhelmed my brain and had distracted my thought process.

I was standing on the street, looking in the window of a gift shop on the last day of our trip when I spotted a tiny silver trumpet. It looked well made, with intricate, fine detail and came in its own little case. My father played a trumpet in a few showbands in the 1950s and 1960s, so it popped into my head that this would make a nice present for him. I was about to cross the threshold of the shop when I stopped, with my hand resting on the cold glass door...

It was only then that I remembered, as a wave of despair and pain struck me, that he was dead.

Anger then took over and guilt too, as I couldn't believe that I had forgotten his now permanent absence from my life. I turned from the door and crossed the street to a nearby church, seeking darkness and solitude. I sat down on an empty pew in the gloom and cried...

Loss is a difficult thing to deal with, as most of us know, but in those moments when it hits you again it can be crushingly, achingly painful. Ten years on it still happens, differently and perhaps lessened to a degree by repetitivity but it still creates similar feelings and emotions. In a way I'm glad it does, as it makes me appreciate and work on my relationship with others in my family ... especially my mother, and my own son.

But this is not a poor me/pity me post, although it possibly is about me exorcising my demons in some sort of cathartic way. It serves as a reminder that it's okay to grieve, i
t's okay to cry, it's okay to forget ... as the re-remembering that then occurs jars your emotions awake and makes you feel more human, mindful and alive - albeit with a strong awareness of mortality, and regret.

And that forgetting happens still...

I travelled a little with my father, and I was lucky enough to bring my parents to places such as Rome, Austria and Switzerland. Places both he and my mother had always wanted to visit but would never have gone on their own. And now when I travel, either alone or with others, there is a strange, irrational comfort in knowing that some part of him is with me on the same journey, seeing the same sights, eating the same food and trying those new drinks - because a part of him remains within me, still rattling around in my head.

My father was a hardworking, gentle, caring, honest man, traits I try to emulate although I often fail to attain. He was highly critical of the world around him, and questioned everything. He hated liars and thieves, had no time for fools and charlatans. We were always close although perhaps not as close as we could have been, and at times he was my biggest critic...

... but I'd give almost anything to sit at a bar in Brussels, or anywhere else in the world, and share a quiet beer with him right now.


Thursday, 28 September 2017

History: The Lady's Well Brewery ... Again - Talk of Enameled Tuns and Cornish Boilers...


(There is an updated and expanded version of this post here.)

Following on from my last post, I promised to get to work on a poor quality copy of another piece on the opening of The Lady's Well Brewery (Murphy's) in Cork in 1856. I've done my best to figure out all the text but a few words have escaped me and, as you will see, I have questioned any figures or words I wasn't sure about. This write up focuses on the brewing machinery and vessels mostly and combined with the previous post it gives a better picture of the size, scale and workings of the brewery.

Also, the above advert appeared in the paper beside this piece but was also of poor quality so I've used a legible version with the same text but from The Cork Examiner instead, the original is at the bottom of the post with the original text.

(From the Cork Constitution)
    A few years ago a stranger visiting Cork, and entering the city from the former terminus of the Great Southern and Western Railway, might have noticed a large square building, the high walls surrounding which frowned darkly up on the narrow and crowded thoroughfare. This building was the Cork Foundling Hospital founded in the latter half of the 18th century for the support of deserted children of both sexes and maintained by a tax upon coals. For many years the establishment continue to exist but the progress of legislation, which has subverted so many still more venerable institutions, has at length abolished the Cork foundling hospital. The property in the building became vested in the Poor Law Guardians, who wore it first desirous that it should be converted into an Emigration Depot, and entered into communication with the Emigration Commissioners for that purpose. It appeared, however, that, partly from the growing conviction on the public mind that emigration ought no longer be assisted by the home government, the Commissioners could not assent to the terms required by the Guardians or the use of the building. Subsequently the Guardians were about to offer the building to the military authorities for the purpose of an auxiliary Barracks, but for this its situation was on suited and at length the premises having been offered for sale to the public, they have been purchased by Messrs J. J. Murphy and Co., who intend devoting them to a more practical and, we hope more profitable, if not more useful, objects that close originally contemplating.
    Few persons not acquainted with the subject and have any correct idea of the immense quality of malt liquor annually manufactured in these countries It is calculated that in England the amount yearly drank is 85[?] gallons per head on the entire population in Scotland 212[?] and in Ireland 1 ½ [?] - that the entire quantity consumed per annum is 17,000,000 barrels. In addition to what is consumed by our home population, vast quantities are exported to almost every part of the habitable globe and the consumption, so far from diminishing, is largely augmenting every year. In England malt liquor is emphatically the national beverage - it is the favourite drink of the artisan, and is found on every dinner table. In Ireland it does not seem to have please the public taste so well as in the sister Kingdom, still large quantities are consumed, and it is to be hoped it may ultimately supersede the more intoxicating and less nutritious produce of the still.
    Comparatively little of the building which went to form the Foundling Hospital was available for the purposes for which the premises were purchased by the Messrs. Murphy, and considerable expense had to be incurred in order to render the works complete. They possess, however, one great advantage in having an inexhaustible supply of the purest well water, suitable for manufacturing the finest bitter and sweet ales. The entire area included within the boundaries of the premises is 278[?] feet square. The building runs along each of the four sides and, is 15[?] feet in depth, thus leaving an open square in the centre of 210[?] feet each way. In the middle of the square is the well already mentioned, from which the water is pumped up a depth of 60 feet, as often as wanted. For the purpose of securing a sufficient supply, a tank has been constructed capable of holding 3,000 barrels, communicating by pipes to all parts of the building, thus any damage from fire maybe obviated. The water or “liquor,”’ as it is termed in brewers phraseology, is either soft water, for the manufacturer of porter, or hard water which is preferable for fine ales and beer. 
    The entire of the building and apparatus of the brewery was erected under the superintendence of the Messrs. Murphy's brewer, Mr Gresham Wiles who studied subject under Mr James Young, of Messrs. Hoare and Co, London, one of the highest practical brewers in the Kingdom. The premises have been taking possession of by the Messrs. Murphy in July, operations were immediately commenced to render them complete at the earliest possible period, and in the lapse of a [...] less than six months they were so far completed that brewing was entered on. Acting under the advice of Mr Wiles, the materials are entirely heated by steam, not as usually the case by common [...]. Steam is supplied from boilers housed[?] in a designed[?] building - it is of a new patent construction, combining the principles of the Cornish and the tubular boilers. In appearance it consists of two horizontal cylinders 18 feet in length and seven feet in diameter, running parallel to each other. Underneath are the fires, which present a great improvement over those commonly constructed, as by a lever the stoker can break and pulverize the coals, and keep up the heat without opening the doors of the grates. These boilers not only heat the materials but feed several steam engines amounting to 70 or 80 horse power, which communicating by shafts to various parts of the building keep the apparatus in motion. 
    Ascending to the first loft the [...] is shown the mash tuns, which are 8[?] feet deep, 18[?] feet in diameter, and each capable of mashing 120 quarters of malt. The interior[?] of each tun is enamelled, a process patented[?] by Mr. Wiles and which enables the tun to be [...] cleaned after each time of filling. All ales and a porters[?] are in one sense brewed in the same way; that is to say, the water goes into the copper, passes thence[?] into the mash tun, through that into the receiver, then into the copper again, after which it is cooled. It then passes into the gyle tun where it undergoes the process of fermentation, and thence it is cleansed[?] into the cask. In this general light, the process is [...], but on the mode of which the various operations are conducted, on the proportion and quality of the ingredients, on the temperature, time, &c., showed in the different portions of the process the entire quality of the produce depends. This is of course one of those “secrets” which every manufacturer keeps undisclosed, but it is reasonably to be expected that has improvements are made from time to time in the mode of operation the quality of the produce will be better, and the cost of manufacture reduced. In this respect some innovations have been introduced in the establishment of the Messrs. Murphy, the [...] of which is stated to economise time, and while cheapening the expense of manufacture, to produce a liquor at once combining strength of body with excellence of flavour. 
    In the Lady's Well Brewery, the boiling is effected by steam, and such is the rapidity with which it is effected that the entire liquor, in two large batches, containing 200[?] barrels each, can be raised to a boiling temperature in three quarters of an hour. Boilers contain ‘sparges’ which are constructed upon a patent principle, combining economy of fuel with rapidity of operation. The liquor having been raised to the proper temperature it is let into one of the mash tuns already mentioned. Each of these “mash tuns” is capable of containing 430 barrels. The malt, having been ground, is then shot into the mash tun. Each mash tun at the Lady's Well Brewery may be filled and empty three times a day. The time and manner of hopping vary among different brewers, some using more and some less. Much of course, depends on the kind of ale or porter required to be brewed, and the particular particular market it is intended for. The heat should be just sufficient to separate the aromatic portion of the plant without extracting the rank and injuries elements. To the judicious management of the hopping is mainly due the mild and pleasant flavour of the “Lady’s Well Ale” manufactured at Messrs. Murphy's Brewery, and which bids fair to acquire and extend the popularity. 
    From the copper in which the work has been hopped it is passed into the cooler, where is is brought rapidly down to a lower temperature by means of the refrigerating process, which is affected by cold water, introduced through numerous pipes running through every part of the cooler, until the wort is brought down to the requisite temperature. It is then introduced into fermenting tuns of which there will when the establishment is completed be eighteen, holding from 200 to 500 barrels each. The process of fermentation which general generally last for days, is completed in Messrs. Murphy's establishment in half the usual time, after which it is drawn off into the cleansing rounds, where it undergoes a further fermentation before being fit for use. The cleansing rounds are 150 and number, and contain 8 barrels each. 
    The vats in to which the liquor is subsequently introduced are of large size holding from 300 to 800 barrels each. Some idea of the extent of this establishment may be derived from the fact that they can now produce 5,000 barrels of malt liquor, each barrel holding 36 gallons, per week.

The Kerry Evening Post - 7th January 1857

As you can see it describes in a bit more detail some of the equipment and buildings from my first post, but some of the actual grammar and wording is still quiet hard to figure out in places...

Anyhow, I hope this and the previous post are useful to someone and that I'm not just going over old ground ... so to speak!


... with thanks again to the local studies room in Carlow Library.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

History: The Lady's Well Brewery - A Sighting of Cork Mild Ale & Imperial Double Stout...

Image pre 1890 from Barnard's The Noted Breweries of Great Britain & Ireland

(There is an updated and expanded version of this post here.)


It seems that every time I sit down to do a little research my eyes catch sight of some snippet of information that has little to do with my own specific interest in local history, but still manages to steal a large chunk of my scarce time as I ponder and wonder at some fact or point that I was unaware of ... and as I am unaware of many things to do with brewing and beer this has happened more and more regularly in recent times.

And it's happened again...

I came across this piece in The Cork Examiner from 1856 while looking for more information on some local breweries, and as is often the case I ended up spending a while deciphering it. Having put some of it up on social media - albeit to what seemed to be a collective 'Meh...' and shoulder-shrug - I've decided to transcribe it and put it up here in case there are some who find it of interest. The newspaper's quality isn't the best as you can see and I've struggled to make out some text but in general the sentiment and information are all there. (I also came across a repeat of it in another paper, which filled in a few missing words.)

A lot of what is here is new to me but is possibly - and probably - covered elsewhere by others, but hopefully there are a couple of nuggets of information for others here - and please keep in mind that I am not a historian, beer-wise or otherwise so any comments here are from my truly ignorant standpoint!

We hail with pleasure the commencement of a new enterprise in the opening of the magnificent brewery at the Watercourse, which will be known by the name of The Lady's Well Brewery. The undertaking is one that not merely reflects great credit on the commercial activities and spirit of the gentlemen concerned it, but will be likely to prove of great benefit to the city in the addition it will make to its resources of the industrial employment, and the very large amount of capital which its success will be the means of putting into local circulation. The names Messrs. James J. Murphy and Co., highly [and] deservedly popular throughout the town and country, have been chiefly known of late in connection with the extensive Midleton Distillery, but the decided opening which lay in the brewing trade has made them turn their attention [to] that branch of business, with what chance of success we shall endeavour to give an idea.
This is better known as Murphy's Brewery to many and is nowadays famous as a macro brewed stout brand owned by Heineken and still brewed by them in Cork for the Irish market at least. I was unaware of the seemingly well documented Midleton Distillery connection until I read it here and did a little research online. (Edit: I have since acquired a copy of The Murphy's Story by Diarmuid Ó Drisceoil & Donal Ó Drisceoil in which it is well detailed...)

The article continues...
   In this country it is well known that the consumption of porter is very large, and that there is business in that direction to occupy a manufactory, we need not say; but there is new ground to be broken in which we feel a more direct interest, leaving as it does an opening for enterprises capable of indefinite expansion. For the last few years a taste has grown up in this country for a light sparkling drink called "bitter beer," or "pale ale." The rapidity with which the sale and use of this article has grown up has been most extraordinary, knowing how difficult it is to change the habits and tastes of persons in such respects. The article of this kind sold in Ireland - unless in cases of adulteration or imposition - is exclusively the manufacturing of the breweries of Burton-on-Trent, and comes from the celebrated houses of BASS, ALLSOPP, SALT, &co., &co. An idea of the extent to which the article has gone may be inferred from the fact, that Cork's receipts of one of those firms amount to nearly thirty thousand pounds a year. When we take, then, into consideration that our city forms but a small item in the list of consumers of an article which is exported alike to the Equator and Antipodes, we will see what a vast field for specification and enterprise lies in its manufacture. Hitherto, however, no attempt of any importance or any large scale was made in this country to compete with the gigantic English establishments. One reason, it may be mentioned, that has been popularly alleged, was the want of a water containing the peculiar qualities which gave so much merit to the Burton ales. But it happened some time since that the building known as the Foundling Hospital was put up for sale, and it was purchased by the Messrs. MURPHY. It is a splendid situation for a brewery, containing a range of buildings embracing an open square of nearly 200 feet. In addition to this, however, it contained what was still more important to their purpose, a well or spring of water coming from the same rocks, and of the same quality as the delightful Lady's Well; and also of properties precisely similar to those of the celebrated Trent water, taking advantage of this circumstance, the Messrs. MURPHY resolved to enter upon the manufacture of ales, in which they have already achieved a decided triumph.
This is an interesting paragraph, as it seems to suggest that the stout porter we associate with Murphy's was not the original reason for starting the brewery. If this editorial write up, which at times comes across as an advertisement and an ego massage for the Murphy's, is to be believed - and we should take everything here with a small pinch of salt perhaps - then the original plan for the brewery was to set themselves up as direct competitors to the glut of pale ales that were - seemingly - swamping the country, as well as exporting a good deal of the ale brewed.

(I also wonder if the water chemistry was/is close to Burton water?)

It continues...
   If energy be an element of success, the new firm decidedly can boast of it. They got their building on the 27th of July, and on the 8th of December the commenced brewing. When they took possession of the concern, all the found available for their purpose was the large shell of the building. They had to erect floors and fittings, pipes, vats, shafts, chimneys and machinery. All their work was done under the superintendence of their brewer, Mr. GRESHAM WILES, and as it has been constructed on the newest and most advanced scientific principles, a passing reference to it may not be devoid of interest. In the first place, it may be remarked, the entire of its processes are regulated and carried on by steam; and in this respect it is, we believe, quite unique in this country. Then there is scarcely a single item of its machinery which has not undergone some improvement, and does not mark an advance upon the old system. For instance the mash tun, a huge vat where, by means of huge teeth or saws, the essence of the malt is extracted, is covered with a coating of enamel, a perfectly new invention, which the firm have registered. The advantage derivable from this is chiefly its obviating any chance of mixing the colours of porter and ale, a defect to which machinery of the ordinary kind, in which both are brewed, is very liable. Even the contrivance by which the grains are expelled from this vat, after the essential principle of the malt has dropped through the false bottom, is, though simple, a great saving in labour and at the same time a great novelty. A more important improvement, however, has been effected in the machinery for extracting the essence of hops. In place of the older mode, which involved considerable waste of fuel and employed a great deal of labour, a new system, also registered, and about to be patented, has been adopted by the firm. The boiling batches (two of which are used for extracting the bitter juice of the hops - one for porter and another for ale) are covered with a perforated false bottom. In connection with this is a "sparge," or cylinder of copper, through which, by means of pipes, steam from the boilers is introduced. From the various apertures in the cylinder the subtle vapour permeates through the hops, leaving not a single one untouched, and extracting in a most complete manner their bitter principle. An equally interesting improvement has been effected in a process of depriving the porter of superfluous yeast; in the cooling apparatus, and even in the process of transmitting the malt from the lower floors through two series of flats, to the top of the building; but we do not feel ourselves at liberty to enter into particular descriptions of these. It might be thought that with so many novelties in the machinery of the brewery, there would, at some one department at all events, be risk of failure; but though on the occasion of the first brewing, out of twenty-five men employed in the establishment, not one had ever been engaged in a brewery before, not a single item failed or went out of order, and all the machinery worked as freely as if it had been twelve months in operation. The capability of this machinery may be judged, when we mention that, in full work, it can brew 5,000 tierces of ale or porter in the week or an aggregate of 260,000 tierces in the year. In connection with the appearance of the building, we may allude to one fact en passant, which will be of interest to a large class of our readers. There are no less than 150 gas lights burned in the establishment, and though the Messrs, MURPHY received most enticing proposals from the United General Gas Company to contract with them, they preferred to aid the citizens of Cork in their anti-monopoly movement, and declined the tempting offers made them.
5,000 tierces is around 800,000 litres, which is an awful lot of ale - even if it is hypothetical ale - and I don't know enough about 1850s breweries to know whether this is a little on the high side perhaps. Certainly the description of the enamelled covered 'huge teeth or saws' sounds impressive, but some of the other descriptions of the equipment are a little vague, and the 'sparge' being used to extract the 'essence' from the hops seems to me to be either rushed note taking on the part of the writer or Mr. Wiles was deliberately confusing the writer so as not to let others know his secrets, but yet again it's all quite interesting and perhaps there is such thing as a 'hop sparger'...

Let's keep going...
 The manufacture of the brewery consists of common draught porter, bottling stout, imperial stout, mild, sweet, bitter, and pale ales. Of the qualities of some of these we can speak as affording promise rivalling, nay, in some respects, surpassing, the beverages produced by the great BURTON houses. The "Lady's Well" ale, made with the spring water of which we have spoken, is one of the most agreeable malt drinks that could be manufactured. It is a clear, amber colour, possessing a light, piquant bitter, and its flavor is in every respect fully equal to the highly-prized, a we may add, highly paid for, BASS or ALLSOPP. The bitter ale is of a stronger kind, and its acid quality is more powerful. This ale is intended for export, and from the success of this article we look for results of great importance, as, should a local firm obtain a most footing in the foreign markets, or which Burton brewers have so long enjoyed a monopoly, we might look forward to its laying the foundation of a new and valuable trade for this city. Of all the manufactures of this new establishment we can only speak in terms of commendation, but we confess to taking the strongest interest in that which leads them into competition with the English firms. They have laid the foundation of their undertaking in the soundest manner; they have brought to its assistance skill, capital and enterprise; they have constructed it with every advantage which science can afford, and we consider, therefore, that they deserve to succeed. The qualities which they have brought to their aid, are indeed those of which we have been most deficient in this country, but we trust to see the success of the Messrs. Murphy affording an example and a stimulus to others to strike out new paths of industry and increase the manufacturing energy of the country.
~The Cork Examiner 31st December 1856

This paragraph was for me the most interesting, as it describes the beers being brewed at Lady's Well at this time. So it seems that '...draught porter, bottling stout, imperial stout, mild, sweet, bitter, and pale ales...' were being made. Again I took this with a degree of scepticism but there are a few things that caught my eye. First was that four paler ales were being produced as well as the darker ales we are more familiar with from Murphy's, although I never knew they brewed an imperial stout. The use of the word 'mild' for the lightest of their ales is interesting to me as I had never (Edit: At the time of writing in 2017...) heard that term outside of English brewing, and and perhaps reflected the training of Mr. Wiles at 'Mr. James Young of Messrs. Hoare & co. in London' (this information is via a poor quality write-up for The Cork Constitution that I will try to work on for a separate post.), and I thought might just be a descriptor as it was spelled with a small 'M'...

The description of the Lady's Well ale mentions an amber colour - Hardly a precursor of the infamous Irish Red style? - and seems to mention a light but sharp bitterness and compares it to Bass and Allsopp pale ales. The writer then goes on to talk about the 'bitter ale' being of a strong kind, so more alcohol perhaps and more 'acidic,' which - perhaps - we might take to be being more  hop bitterness than actual sour bitterness ... and that this is the ale intended for their assault on the export market, it was still all a little vague.


But then on the 12th of January 1857 the following advertisement appeared!

Wow! This seems to make it clear exactly what was being brewed at the time, no less that seven ales and five porters including an Imperial Ale and two imperial stouts! And there's that Cork Mild -  with a capital 'M' this time as well as an X Ale and XX Ale. I don't have access to any books written specifically on the brewery (Edit: As mentioned I do now!) but other books and most online sources state they opened with just two beer types, this was clearly not the case - but again perhaps this is common knowledge...

Unfortunately this range does not seem to have lasted too long, as an advertisement in November of the same year list just XX Ale, XX Stout, X Stout and Porter available.

On 24 0f December 1860 a Imperial West India Stout was being bottled but after that the advertisement appear to dry up for anything different or exotic.

So it appears that this huge trade of exported ale never materialised...

I wonder did it ever get shipped anywhere?


(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.)

(Incidentally a William Gresham Wiles died in a accident in 1863 at the Gresham Wiles & Brown brewery of South Malling, Lewes, England according to online sources. I wonder did he head back to England when his huge range of beer failed to make the impact he had hoped?)

[(Original)Edit: According to the Ó Drisceoil's book The Murphy's Story, Edward Lane was the head brewer when the business opened. It was he who was responsible for the beers produced not Mr. Wiles who just designed the brewery. I can find no mention in the book of the huge range of beers produced at the start or any recipes for them.]

... with thanks again to the local studies room in Carlow Library.