Septembers second instalment a trip to the City and Culture Night

6 days in a persons life can yield surprising variety and unexpected happenings, well, that’s the way of it in my world……… With a beer trip and related business in mind I set off for Dublin last week  in my only vehicle, having seen to the permanent demise of my other vehicle.  Approaching the exit for Nenagh and engrossed in a very loud rendition of Kate Bush’s” Aerial” album I heard a loud bang followed by a pile of smoke coming up through the floor of the van. With an attitude of,  head down and foot to the floor, all will be fine, I willed and realised a freewheeling descent off the motorway through the exit before complete failure and cessation just past a roundabout.

Mostly I was upset with the interruption in my listening to Kate, she is descriptive, melodic and renders superior visions of positivity.

Mention of the young man who stopped and pushed the van off the road is a must, he was very gracious and even dropped me to a pub in town I knew would be possible to hook up with friends of friends. Una Powells a traditional pub in the town of Nenagh is a place all should make their way too.

Being part of this craft brewing industry it is also worth noting and celebrating the good will amongst fellow breweries, that said, Jamie from WhiteGypsy came to rescue the beer I was traveling with and then towed the dead van to safety.  Further more he subsequently delivered the beer to Grand Cru Beers who mange to sell on to several outlets around the country. My trip took on a different shape with no vehicle or beer to deliver, which included in part  a delivery of our autumn special Riasc Black brewed with  fresh blackberries and blackcurrants………..

Along with a catch up with old friends and always keen to take in some visual art, I was so pleased to come across an exhibition in IMMA entitled “What we call Love  from the Surrealists to Now” running until February…… interpretation of all kinds of love from the obvious heterosexual and homosexual to maternal/paternal and even touching on a certain love of pets.,…there  is an interesting opinion from both a Sociologist and Neurologist which give added dimension to understanding……. Then, on to Sean Scully’s exhibition in the National Gallery which I just caught at the tail end of it before it finished on the 20th Sep. Great reverence given to large paintings of singular colours arranged in strips with a room dedicated to some black and white photographs of stone walls in Connemara, I related entirely to the linear presentation of these and could recognise his visual reference and starting point for his paintings…… Oh to have opinions and a platform to express them! ……….

On to other business,  I took in a Bord Bia conference which primarily I was interested in from the perspective of being a small drinks producer,  naturally, their were several speakers whom I enjoyed listening to, primarily though, these events and there kind  remind me of the importance of,,, “sticking to your guns” ……..Their are people who look for guidance and those who just wing it, the challenge daily is to figure out which category one  falls  into???!


Below  a photograph of me to the left, surprisingly!, with Pat Mc Grath centre and Colm O Leary around 1988 ish  in The College of Marketing and Design around about the time I thought I could  be a full time artist.





And on the 6th day, back home in my own place, Bricks Pub/Tig Bhric, in recognition of Culture Night we hosted an event for our customers and nearby neighbours. In an attempt to equate our production of beer from well to bottle, cask or keg with indigenous expression of culture, synonymous as the local poetry,  writings or visual art might be, we were delighted to offer a tour of our modest facility and garden explaining some of the processes involved in making beer.

With a backdrop of candle light,  wood fire and live music supplied by Ina, Eoin and Tomas, on offer a tasting selection of 5 different draught beers;

2 on cask, Carraig Dubh a smooth luxurious porter and Blue Rose No.1 of our new Renegade Series, deliciously fragrant a dry hopped pale ale with hints of grapefruit.

3 on Keg, Black Elder No.2 of the Renegades dry hopped with high alpha American Summit and large handfuls of fresh Elder Flower which gave a distinct  earthy presence, almost tasting of clay….. Cúl Doracha   a very well balanced dark red ale with  slight bitterness and suitable fruity finish, and finally Béal Bán a golden ale with a sweet character and malty caramel mouthfeel………………



Quail for dinner

3 for a tenner in my local butcher in Dingle, Jerry Kennedy and cooked in a vague respect to a recipe suggested by Skye Gyngell the Australian chef that I seem to most empathise with ( I wonder if the fact she is a dry alcoholic might influence my leaning?!)  Even though her heritage is  at the other end of the world to me and her flavour appreciation is completely different to mine, there is most certainly something about how she handles ingredients and what she manages to get from them. The book I have of hers is titled ‘My favourite ingredients’ and simply moves through suggested uses for these so you have things like Asparagus, cherries, olive oil,vinegar, leaves, citrus, game, honey and chocolate to name several. What I like most is her singular approach, honing in on a certain flavour and seeing where it goes depending on how it is handled. Thursday I brewed our’ Riasc Black’ which we did for the first time last year as a porter with the addition of blackberries, the other day, thanks to the nimble picking fingers of my 71 year old mother Norah I added blackcurrants, both added at the end of boil with the copper heat turned swiftly off.

Going back to that quail by the way, its flavour both nutty and oily,  boy, did I work to extract all the meat I could get from it. Thankful I was in my own company with no one looking on in disgust as I fought successfully to  strip the meat from the carcass.

Inclined as an artist and human being for that matter, I tend to hone in on certain things, torsos intrigue me. They are the centre of our physique holding our heart, breath, blance and core. Fixating on the botanicals and when they might  be added in order to effect best the flavour of our beers is a constant if recent occupation of mine…….