We had a charming beer sommelier, Des, who was leading us through the tasting and he was entertaining while informative at the same time. Considering that his background is wine, he was extremely well educated in beer brewing methods and we were mesmerized for the entire tasting. The beers were matched with food - which was pizza with different toppings. Beer & Food matching isn't new (I did a tasting a few years back in the Abbey Ales House) but having the same food, just with different toppings was very interesting and it was indeed very well matched. I learned more about beer that night I thought was even possible and we only scratched the surface.
The history of the building that houses the brewery is as rich as the beer that is brewed here. The brewery is built on the site of a 13th century Franciscan Well and monastery (now you know where it got its name from). It was built in 1219 and has hosted King James II at one stage. The water of the well is not used for brewing but it is said to have healing powers if you have an eye problem. I haven't tried it out (needing reading glasses soon tho, so might pop in again for a test) but I love the rich history of the place. It makes for interesting table talk.
One thing I have to say about Shane Long, head brewer, proprietor, all-rounder - he has an eye for talent. Many have come to clear glasses from tables for a few months to get some cash for trips etc and have stayed on to become brewers in their own right. Padraigh Scully being the best example. He has developed a coffee flavoured beer that went down a treat last year when I hosted a beer & cider tasting at the River Lee Hotel.
I am impressed by the entrepreneurship of Shane Long and can see the Franciscan Well becoming a centre of excellence in Ireland for beer and brewing. Wouldn't it be simply fantastic if our future craft brewers can learn the trade right here in Cork??
The Brewery & Tasting Tours are open Monday - Friday from 6:30pm and include a tour around the brewery, introduction into the history of the site, tour of the tasting room and of course the tasting itself. Admission is €10 and I can only recommend the tour to anyone who would like to learn about beer.
|Handmade Labeling Machine|
|Roasted Malt to taste|
|Bottle Cap Machine|