So, not quite where we envisaged ourselves when we started out back in 2008, but we are now in kegs not just casks and bottles and since our pub is not open at the moment we chose to bring our first delivery to Mc Carthy’s pub in Dingle a great venue with regular music sessions.
It felt quite historic that first evening with no advance warning other than a pre arranged nod from Tom who seems happy to promote our beer. And so, there were in fact just two lucky drinking customers in the house who were more than happy to test this new product!
How spoilt I felt in such company, sipping and talking beer, how we can wax lyrical about liquids describing with great accuracy the merits of textures and flavours on the palate!
From my own point of view after years selling bland cold fizzy stuff it really is quite thrilling to be in a position to produce and sell something with a little more character. The make up of our beer seems for me to really lie in its locallity it can not exist anywhere else, especially considering we are using our own water. I am not sure about other breweries but I imagine the water must impart a huge part of the character to beer seeing as it is the predominant ingredient.
We will continue to produce cask beer coming straight from the fermenters because it too has a place, its appeal is slightly more base. It is a product with no interference not just unfiltered as are our kegs are but also un carbonated. We have been very fortunate this past summer to have been available in the Marina Bar Dingle.
They have a thriving food business on the Quay in the town where a lot of the tour buses park up carrying thirsty visitors who are more than happy to taste a truly authentic product from the wonderful peninsula of Chorca Dhuibhne!
The necessary ingredients have been ordered for this recipe swap we are planning.
It looks like we will miss Christmas and will head for an early January release instead. Things have moved also in terms of how we will dispense our beer with the arrival of our first pallet of 30 litre kegs, our brewing needs to increase in order to get more out there.
Now we will be keging, casking and bottling all done manually so not quite sure how all that will pan out.
Brendan is making us a keg/cask washer of sorts something not too expensive, I seem to be doing a lot of spending of money we don’t have, lots of mental fabrication of money going on!!
Hopefully I can manage to stay ahead of the posse in this regard.
The week culminated in a delicious few beers in Kennedy’s Bar, Dingle. A couple of which were ours!
I was also surprised by a pumpkin beer from Trouble Brewing, not usually drawn to flavoured beers, I was in need of a warm up as the evening was rather damp and particularly cold, so the cinnamon was just the job hitting the spot!
And on reading their blurb on the back, it was pleasantly surprising to read that they grow and roast their own pumpkins!! Who’d have thought!!
Plans are under way to do a Trans Atlantic beer recipe swap with the afore mentioned brewery!
The Weasel Boy were founded in 2006 by Jay and Lori, both of whom visited our pub Brics in 2012. My understanding is they happened upon us as they took the glorious drive west out of Dingle Town on the Slea Head drive. We were producing beer since 2008 so naturally we all had quite a lot to talk about! They spent the afternoon and took a tour of our then very humble brewery(2.5bbl)
Promising to return or make contact at some point in the future, some months back Jay made contact with the question how could we collaborate in some way,? so, short of the mega bucks involved with travelling to each others breweries we have decided to do a recipe swap.
They will brew our special red “Riasc Red” an English style bitter with some added botanicals and we will endeavour to brew their American style black IPA. This will be a departure for us as we have never brewed an IPA before, the timing of year suggests something darker hence the “black”! We will not only be using hops we have not used before but also brewing to a higher abv%. By the looks of things all this will go down in Nov/Dec 14.
Isn’t always the way that something or other must go wrong or pear shaped, just to challenge our comprehension skills!!!
With our increased production capacity we need to get the hang of temperature controls and timing in particular relation to wort transfer from copper to fv.
With a temperature of 21 c going over the beer still managed to reach 25 c in the fv, very bad news for our top fermenting yeast, with heat like that it just sweats and sinks…..oops! Anyway with a quick chat to our man in the wings, Brendan, we are going to try resolve the situation by chilling and recovering some yeast from the bottom of the fv, which we are not supposed to do but needs must at this time.
The adjoining photograph taken and enjoyed on a trip up Márthain over a week ago, the place where I scattered Pádraig’s ashes 13 years ago, our daughter Maude was 5, she struggled with the ascent and I stopped short of the top that time. His mother Máirin, in her early 70’s waited at the bottom, just we three were there for the event, a private affair till now. As I scattered the grey dust over the heather Maude picked up a handful and asked “could this be his nose?” we both looked and disagreed, the handful was too small, so she scooped up more, we were then both satisfied, yes that was his nose.
The brewing with our new equipment is proving very rewarding, with the increased production capacity I have gone ahead and ordered 30L kegs. This is a move for us and we mulled over it a while, we primarily wished to stay with in the cask market, but it doesn’t really exist in Ireland, yet. It was all well and good when we had the pub open and could satisfy those passing visitors who were more than willing to try traditional beer. Now our priorities are shifting and getting our beer out there is paramount, figuring out how to do that while maintaining standards,tastes and breaking even is very challenging.
A lot of breweries are using the key kegs and we had briefly considered them also, but a conversation with Peter Mosley of the Porterhouse, reminded me of their un-environmental impact, being recyclable doesn’t cut it. Hence our first order of a pallet of kegs, an investment, hopefully if we are to survive for any length of time. As Peter pointed out, he has kegs as old as himself!
The time line is probably going to be about 3 weeks.
In the mean time we hope to send another pallet of bottles to Grand Cru, potentially with a few casks. We sent a mixed pallet of bottles up last week and Wally has requested some more whenever ready.
Our new brewery has now been commissioned and we have brewed our first brew. All went to plan. It is quite a thrill to finally have a proper brewery so to speak after all these years!
A gas fired copper, new mash tun and a hot liquor tank……..it’s official we now have a 5BBL brewery!
September has been an eventful month, earlier we attended the RDS for the All Ireland Craft Beer Fest. It is one of those things we love to partake in and need to be at but have never managed to cover our costs never mind make a profit. It is always such a thrill to meet all the other like minded individuals who see the potential in brewing ones own alcoholic beverage!
The renegade aspect of the whole industry is what really interests me personally, the genuine toying with flavours, traditional and current has huge potential.
As the month closes out we look forward to the Dingle food festival which is held the first weekend in October every year, the whole peninsula, in particular, use it rather wisely as the finale of the season and a marvellous excuse for a good time eating and drinking ones way around the town!
We will take residence in Tom Mc Carthys bar as usual on the Saturday and Sunday.
Marty……..so moved by our summer special he played slide guitar with it!
It was a simple traditional brew along the lines of our Béal Bán, which is our standard golden ale. The difference was a touch of Cascade hops and rose hips from the garden. The over all floral bouquet was quite refreshing and a surprising hit!
A great day to be remembered with the arrival of our new tanks and Maude receives her Leaving Certificate results. We are so proud of her, there are so many pressures on young people to fit in and follow traditional norms, I for one am delighted that she has completed that inane curriculum called the Leaving Certificate, at least going to college you get to choose courses and topics that may have some relevance and meaning to yourself.
Changes all around, so refreshing, really keeps the mind interested and curious about going forward……….
I have not quite figured out how to link our blog to our website and am awaiting further instruction!
We have had a relatively quiet week in the brewery and for the first time in a while did no brews. It gave me a chance to catch up on things like house work and organising my studio which is finally coming together. Sometimes it feels like things are too good to be true with having the studio and brewery side by side and operational.
We are looking forward to receiving our new brewery from Brendan Dobbin, within a few weeks we will finally be moving up a notch and be able brew more beer and reduce some of the crippling overheads related to brewing in a 2.5 bbl namely the huge electricity bills because we have been using electric elements to heat the water all these years. We will now be using gas and be in a position to save the heated water in to a new HLT(hot liquor tank)
“Riasc Gold” a summer special along the lines of our “Béal Bán” with the same subtle hop aroma and caramel malt after taste but with added rose hips and cascade hops which gives a slightly more citrus finish.