The Franciscan Well, Cork, Ireland

Among various places visited while in Ireland, a great place stumbled upon (no pun intended) was Franciscan Well Brewery.

IMG_3099It’s a newer brewery (founded in late ’90s), but has great history to it.

‘The Franciscan Well Brewery was founded in 1998 on the North Mall in Cork City and is built on the site of an old Franciscan Monastery and Well, dating back to the year 1219. Legend has it that the water from the well has miraculous and curative properties and people would come from afar to drink from it.’

We opted to take the entire brewery tour to find out about what all they do based on the additional info they provided on their site.

‘The Brewery has combined modern technology with old age tradition in forming classic beer styles including lager, ale, stout and wheat beer. All the beers brewed at the Franciscan Well are natural, and do not contain any chemical additives or preservatives and are made with the best ingredients.’

It was great.  To put the size of the brewery in perspective, the only thing I can think of is that it’s maybe a quarter size of the end zone of a football field?  Maybe 1/3?  It’s tiny.  They have so little space, have to stay on top of things to a tee and provided more much more insane amounts of info, from law restrictions, what got them started, real estate, bottling, competition, brewing specs to tastings from beginning to…ahhh…end.

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The tour provided 4 or so tastings where you also went through the components of yeast, barley, etc.  All their brews were great.  But, one I do remember was a hefe with way too much banana.  I definitely did not need to have more of that.

IMG_3116When you visit the brewery, they have an outdoor brick pizza oven where you can order a great meal, as well, to help soak up all the fun.  Worth checking out to get in even more Irish culture.

Extra Irish Brews

There are the well-know Irish brews that most people turn to.  So it was great to find (and enjoy) the various domestic brews we don’t hear much about here in the States while there recently.  And since you can get half pints, you don’t have to drink a ton of the stuff when it’s on tap.  I can’t say that I have a favorite.  They were all pretty darn good.

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Jameson Distillery

Not only is Ireland known for beer, but one must also consider the whiskey.  So while there, the Jameson Distillery was high on my list of places to visit.  I wanted to get the full tour of how this drink happens, from start to finish (aka drinking).  So, scheduled a tour for the distillery in New Midleton.  This provides for 1.5+ hours of very educational background on the whiskey, working through the 3 steps it goes through and then sampling of 3 whiskeys.  One from the US, Scotland and Ireland.  Very unique tastes to each.  And you get a certificate at the end that you’re an Official Jameson Irish Whiskey Taster.  How can you go wrong with that?

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Guinness Factory

Of course when one travels to Ireland for the first time it’s almost a given/requirement to visit the Guinness factory.  While planning the visit, I luckily received tips to purchase tickets in advance to avoid long lines once arriving.

Unlike most brewery tours it was self-guided and you could read through everything and go at your own pace.  You get all information from history to brewing process to marketing and more.

With the tour you received a (free) pint of the stout.  Now, one could go to the 6th floor of the building and have it poured for them, or you could stop by the 4th floor and learn how to pour it properly.  Hello, that’s a given!  So much fun to pour your own brew.

Very fun part of Dublin, Ireland.  Cheers!

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Thomas Read, Dublin

While enjoying many local brews in Ireland I wanted to give something else a try.  Stopped by a nice bar, Thomas Read, in Dublin one day and asked the bartender if he had any suggestions.

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He asked he could whip up a concoction of his own.  How could I turn that down?

It all started with some Jameson, some Ginger Syrup (similar to simple syrup but he doesn’t use heat to make it) and bitters.

IMG_3121Of course some rocks were added.

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Stirred carefully.

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And then he took so much time and care with the lemon rind I can not even begin to explain it!  This drink was good.

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