Wednesday, 16 March 2016

All Ireland Beer Survey: Data Collected and Data Used

The study first collected data readily available from Beoir: Ireland's craft beer consumers group. Their list qualifies “Irish Micro-breweries” as “produced on the island of Ireland by an Irish company which makes less than 30,000hL per year” ( This means breweries that were Irish owned at the time such as Franciscan Well is included and breweries that have relocated to Ireland more recently, such as Rye River are excluded. From here a data base was built listing:

  • Brewers Brand name- defined as the label brand of the brewer, in order to include contract brewers who use other breweries facilities to produce their product. Figure 2 lists breweries discovered with those which closed and those for which there was incomplete information noted.
  • Core beers- defined as by the author as “consistently brewed for throughout a year for at least a year” to exclude seasonal and special brews).
  • County- which of the 32 counties of Ireland the brand's business is based.
  • Province- which of the 4 provinces of Ireland the brand's business is based.
  • Beer Style- styles was recorded based on the brands own identification which resulted in 46 styles, these were then aggregated into 11 broader styles (See Figure 1).
  • Start/End- the year a beer became available and the year it was discontinued if so.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Introduction: All Ireland Beer Survey 1981-2014

This study originally carried out as part of an academic publication spatially and quantitatively tracks the development of micro-breweries in Ireland from the early 80's to the year 2014. This study presents the reader with a geography of micro-breweries in Ireland that will show the location and quantity of breweries in Ireland as well as the styles on offer.

Due to working full-time I was not able to finish the study in time for the original deadline, so I will publish and discuss it here- in what I hope will be a more accessible and flexible format.

There are omissions which I have tried to explain, there will be mistakes found over time and I hope we can end up with a common database that can be added to and developed!


Ireland is an interesting case due to the dramatic changes the country underwent with a rapidly rising economy and then a rapidly declining economy along with two important tax rebates for micro-breweries producing under 20,000 hectolitres in 2005 and a recent increase in the threshold to 30,000 hectorlitres in 2015.

The size of Ireland allows for a rather concise and complete study of this type with a total of 70 brewing brands accounted for since the 1980's. We will refer the companies as brewing brands rather than breweries or brewers as some have their beer contract brewed in Ireland. The Island has been through a similar experience to the UK and other nations in that the micro-brewery scene has at first suffered from the dominance of global brewing conglomerates with the 90's facing stagnation as start-ups come and go and growth in the 00's.

 The total breweries that sufficient data was collected on the island of Ireland is shown in Fig 1, from the earliest recorded entry 1981, where only 1 brewery is recorded, to the end of this surveys time-scape 2014 where 36 breweries were recorded.

Fig 2 shows the level of beers in production over time starting with 1 in 1981 and ending with 135 in 2014.

I will try to update this project weekly, next time dealing with the body of data I have collected and what amount of that was complete enough to analyse. 

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Very happy to be featured on Trevor Conways PoemsInProfile project.

The poem is an older one previously published in Ropes which annually produced by the Masters in Literature and Publishing programme (circa 2009?) based in NUI Galway.

It was nice to have an older poem given fresh light- and the questions posed by Trevor really helped in opening up the poem, to myself and hopefully the readers.


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Irish Films at the Danish Film Institute

Dear Copenhageners,

I am very excited to announce a series of Irish films to be shown this month at the Cinemateket of the Danish film Institute, Gothersgade 55,1123 København K.

This has been organised by myself, the Irish Embassy in Denmark, the Irish Film Institute and of course the Danish Film Institute.

The scheduled screenings are:

Calvary (2014)
5/3 19.15 and 12/3 16.45

Good Vibrations (2011)
7/3 19.15 and 18/3 16.45

The Pipe (2010)
7/03 14.00 and 17/3 16.45

The Rocky Road to Dublin and The Making of (1968)*
15/3 16.30

*With a reception by the Irish Embassy held on site

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Poems and a Review in PB$

The Poetry Bus
Buy it here!

I am very happy to have a poem, a haiku and a review published in the latest Poetry Bus, the 5th issue published by Peadar and Collette O'Donoghue. The Poetry Bus continues to be a very attractive magazine, with high production values and striking full colour imagery.

Its content is broad, but the work inside the Bus normally has quite an edge to it, in content or style- for better or worse. It reads more quick fire than meditative, but an attentive editorial eye has selected pieces that not only demand you chase them down the page but are crafted well enough to stay in and stimulate your mind.

From cover to cover the artwork is bold and intermissions the poetry just enough to avoid distraction either way. Though the images themselves are catching the quality of their reproduction in the magazine is not always up to standard, more likely due to the images supplied rather than the printers or editors fault. The continued presence of comic strips is good to see and I hope more comic writers come to see the Bus as a platform for their work.
The 'My Writing Life' section of the Bus gives writers carte blanche beyond the title which prompts indulgent and flowery lifestyling to honest reflection of the role writing plays in an author's life. Another article in this Bus tends towards more flowery indulgence- a vent against rejection letters which can be seen as an unnecessary feature in a magazine which, I imagine, has a backlog of work waiting to be published.

I feel the role of poetry journals and magazines to discuss the state of the art or the state of the scene it exists in and draws from is currently underplayed in the Bus. But I am optimistic that this role will be optimised in time, as its reputation grows and its understanding of itself increases.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Hornbeer: Hops, Vikings and Stouts

Hornbeer manages to encapsulate the Danish micro-brewing scene while at the same time setting themselves apart from the others with some very distinguished beers.

It is made on the grounds of a fine house an hours drive from Copenhagen.

It is a Husband and Wife operation; Gunhild and Jørgen have 39 beers listed under the Horn brand since they opened in 2008. Most of their output has been IPA's and stouts/porters with a smattering of wheat, bock and fruit beers. But it must be said that when Hornbeer hits the mark it does hit it higher than most.

Their capacity has steadily increased as has their recognition in the form of awards (They have as many awards and merits for their beers as they have beers!). This has gained them some needed distinction in a market crowded with Danish breweries producing variations of the same strong IPA's and porters under multiple labels.

Hoping to buck this trend Jørgen told me he plans on a few more sessionable beers with lower abv's and has done so successfully so far with Top Hop and Dry Hop at 4.7% and 5% respectively.

Context aside, Hornbeer's big strong stouts are consistently gratifying and indulgent. Their rightly praised Fundamental Black Horn and Black Magic Women are deep flavoured and flawless, though maybe too straight-forward to warrant their 10% abv.

Viking Chilli Stout is without a doubt the jewel in their crown, a truly world class beer. The chilli is well hidden in its chocolate maltiness. At first it is all truffle and coca fruit and by the time it gets to your belly the chilli comes into play with a sharp, then warming spice.

With their impressive track record so far and a pragmatic approach to evolving beer tastes any new beers from Hornbeer should be drank with optimism!

Fermenters and new brew kit

Old and new bottling lines

Friday, 24 October 2014

Adnams Brewery Review

At the Brewery

Disclaimer: I have had a lovely visit to the brewery and had every question I asked answered, I am also proud to be selling their beers where I work.

Adnams is superficially an unassuming seaside brewery on the East coast of England. Much of its branding is quaint; lighthouses, tall-ships, sailors and clam shells- it is bad poetry old men write on deck chairs.

Their core range is, as a rule, very satisfying. Their Broadside a dark ale, has just enough fruity punch to carry the malt and if you are lucky a pleasant hoppiness will come through, their Southwold Bitter, when in good form is effortlessly drinkable- with a delicate and nourishing mineralism and a fresh sea air saltiness that you'd only expect advertising to lie about. Aside from these they offer 3 other mainline beers with a hoppy focus. Fat Sprat, an amber, and Ghost Ship, a luminously pale ale. They share a moderate fruitiness and spicy hoppines as well as naff names. Their Wild Hop Amber is also notable, the green hops are almost buttery but quickly off set by a tobacco spice bitterness.

View from the Brewery

These hits aren't without their misses, with beers like Explorer, Gunhill and Topaz Gold being lesser versions of beers already being made by Adnams. Those beers at least show that Adnams is very capable of being any other mediocre English brewery when it wants to.

The real gem, though not necessarily the heart of Adnams is its Jack Brand range. The contemporary ingredients and styles of this range are well grounded by the otherwise traditional characteristics of the brewery. The Innovation IPA shows what the big modern American style IPA could be if those brewing this style allowed you to taste the hops. The Mosaic Pale Ale offers all the freshness and tropical fruitiness you would expect tamed by a 4.1% ABV and crisp finish. Their 1659 Smoked Ruby Ale is the most drinkable smoked beer I have drank, though that is not saying a lot. It has a distinct bitterness that clears its well measured smokiness. On the butt of the Jack Brand range is their Crystal Rye IPA and Dry-Hopped Lager. The former is agreeable in itself but the hops are somewhat lost in the rye, though its freshness and bitterness are enjoyable. The latter is an attempt to give those stuck for lager a way to look sophisticated or an attempt to make an unremarkable lager that people will buy expecting to enjoy a degree of dry hopping.

Jack Branding
Jack Branding

The brewery is well set, in that it's classic range will be maintained by its Jack Brand range and due to its classic range its Jack Brand range will perceiver after the current craft balloon bursts. Adnams successful branching out into whiskeys, gins, vodkas and other spirits and liquors show a sustained thirst for quality. Their embrace of green technology and waste reduction is admirable and convincing and all reasonable misanthropy aside it is something beer drinkers need to start appreciating.

Distillation Columns

Mini Stills

Southwold is an idyllic seaside town, the brewery and adjunct distillery are sophisticated works of art surrounded by easy going pubs and shops incessant with walked in sand, that bang and shake with the wind like boats. It combines childhood notions of a holiday with the existential anxiety we all enjoy and that Morrisey vocalised- though it still holds enough honest charm that no one sings “come, come nuclear bomb”.

About Me

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Following and branching from the main themes Poetry, Urbanism and Beer and all the rest, along the way.