Mac’s Brew News – December 7, 2015


Today’s newsletter is published in honor of the 2403 Americans killed and the 1178 Americans wounded in the unprovoked attack on Perl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Greetings to one and all.  It’s been a busy couple of months since I last published a newsletter.  Here’s a little news from Mac’s Brew Pub.

In early October we went to Ireland for a little over two weeks.  We started in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for the first four days, then continued on to the Republic of Ireland.  Without boring you with the details, I will say that Ireland is very different from England in regards to the antiquities and national treasures.  Most of the castles and abbeys, etc., are in quite a state of disrepair and neglect.  It’s too bad, but I would guess that it’s a function of the relatively poor economic power of Ireland.

On the bright side, however, I found pubs and beer all over the country.  In fact, I have never seen so many bars and pubs in my life.  The reputation of the Irish being big drinkers is well deserved, it seems.  Not only are there lots of pubs and bars, but they are always well patronized.  We toured the Old Bushmills distillery (in Northern Ireland), Smithwick’s brewery (in Kilkenny), the Guinness brewery (in Dublin), and the Jameson’s distillery (also in Dublin).  Lest you think I only went to Ireland to drink alcohol and experience their most famous exports, I assure you I did a lot of sight seeing as well.  Let me say, however, the Guinness tour was one of the highlights, and I highly recommend it if you ever get over to Ireland.

I did drink Guinness while there, as it is ubiquitous throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland. However, I tried to drink local brews wherever we went, in order to get a taste for the craft brewing phenomenon in Ireland.  This was a good decision on my part, as I tasted a number of high quality local craft brews which I will never be able to find here in the colonies.  I assure you the craft beer scene is vibrant in Ireland, although not to the same extent that it is flourishing in the US.

We went to Sean’s Bar on several occasions while we were staying in Athlone.  Sean’s Bar is the oldest bar in Ireland (and believed to be the oldest bar in Europe); it has been open since 900 AD.  Yes, folks, It has been open for over 1100 years.  It was almost 600 years old when Columbus discovered America – pretty crazy, huh?  While I was there having a beer, I couldn’t help but wonder who was having a drink in the same spot a thousand years ago.

Sean's Bar  c900 AD Athlone, Ireland

Sean’s Bar c900 AD
Athlone, Ireland

We met a fine young fellow, Sean Dillon, at Sean’s Bar.  No, he’s not the owner, or even connected to the bar; he just shares that great Irish name.  He’s an American, and we struck up a friendship with him.  I sent a few bottles of Mac’s Brew to him on the East Coast.  I guess I can now say that Mac’s Brew is enjoyed “coast to coast.”  If you’re reading this, Sean, greetings from Mac.

I think the best pub for craft beer (quality and variety) was Porterhouse Brewing Company, in Dublin.  Porterhouse was recommended to me by a cab driver, and was within walking distance from the hotel where we stayed.  I went to this brewpub every day while we were in Dublin, and still was not able to taste all of the beers they had on tap.  Their Double IPA was outstanding, and highly hopped, like a West Coast IPA.  Porterhouse has a brewpub in New York City . . . hmm, next time I’m in NYC, I’ll make it a point to get over there.

Ok, enough about Ireland; here’s what’s happening at Mac’s.  I’m all out of draught Mac’s Brew.  I have some bottles of my strong beers (stouts and barley wine), but those aren’t for everyday consumption, so I’ve been buying and drinking commercially brewed beers.  See my recent posts for information on some of these fine examples (with several more posts to come).

I brewed a coffee stout two weeks ago.  That was the first time I have brewed in three months (that’s why I’m out of Mac’s on draught).  I haven’t made a final decision on the name of this beer, but have a pretty good idea.  This was brewed in collaboration with Bryce Lowrance.  Bryce is a very talented young brewer, and I felt honored that he wanted to brew with me.  This batch is still in the fermenter conditioning.  As soon as I’m ready to move it out of the fermenter, I will brew a pale ale (Mac’s PAPA).  After that, it’s an IPA, then maybe an imperial stout.  Finally, more beer is on the way to Mac’s.  My poor planning led to this drought – I’ll try to not let this happen again!

Slainte (Cheers)!