It’s 3am and I’m awake. I can’t sleep. This can happen sometimes, could be stress , could be panic, could be excitement.
3 minute meditation. Let the nitrogen of whirling thoughts in the mind settle down.
Yep, confirmed. I'm not getting back to sleep in the next ten minutes.
This time it’s excitement, with a dollop of anxiety. I just stepped out to the car to get my hard drive (now that I’m awake I might as well do some work. This is the best time for me, things are quiet, less distractions.)
We have our licence, don’t hit panic button, don’t hit panic button. What should we brew? The weather is looking cold enough, should we go all in and spontaneously ferment our first brew? That would be setting down a good marker early on, a statement of intent so to speak.
I’m also harping back to Shaun Hill posing the reflective question:
“What are you trying to do?”
That’s something I’ve been reflecting on a bit recently. Maybe when I did my first home brew around 14 years ago I felt the need to make good beer due to a lack of offerings in Ireland. But wow, things have changed - there are a lot of great breweries now in Ireland. And there are some brewers in Ireland about to blow the international scene open, in my opinion.
So why do I still want to make beer in this environment. I guess I just adore our community and its mindset. Craft beer is not about getting ‘pissed’; instead it’s about savouring something simple - beer. Food, beer and music can be accessed by most people. Craft beer may be expensive compared to straw coloured water. But, unlike wine or spirits, you can drink one of the best beers in the world for the price of an hour’s wage. Beer is accessible to all (people over 18).
I’ve been drinking every new beer coming into Ireland for the last 17 years. My brother Paul got me into Old speckled hen, Newcastle brown and Fraoch heather ale in the 90's, Brain Blasta! That's what first welcomed me in Dublin. My first beers as a teenager were in the Franciscan Well; I assumed that a place brewing its own beer was common practice. I hadn’t realised that they had only started brewing a year before I started drinking!
I’m awake at 4 in the morning because, despite the snow, I’m burning with energy entangled with a certain nervousness, I’ve wanted to start an enterprise since I was 10 years old. Why? Create or Die, I guess. That’s what I was told at Victor’s Park.
But how can I create? Not enough fingers to play the piano or hold a paintbrush, what am I good at? I am a synthesiser. I have no specific conventional talent of my own. I just synthesise the talents of amazing people that I meet. My only talent is that I know something tastes good when I come across it. My job is to be a taster of good things - be those things flavours or thoughts. And I can talk endlessly about everything and anything (but that’s probably from growing up 20 minutes from the Blarney Stone).
What are you trying to do?
First, I want to get to a point of making beers that can eventually hold a match to some of the other amazing beers around. Then I’d like to go out and create something distinctive and special to Ireland; something that attempts to encapsulate Ireland. An Oude Dearg someday maybe.
Walk before you can run, just make a good base beer. Yep, I hear you, big breweries spend millions on trying to get consistency and nearly always by compromising quality. We’re bloody malting our own barley, growing hops and venturing into spontaneous fermentations. Making the exact same beer twice? It’s just not going to happen, so adore the art of imperfection. Wabi sabi that to the finish line. The only consistent thing will be that each beer that is packaged will taste brilliant. Is that too much to ask?
If you don’t turn around in Plato’s cave you’ll be making dull pale ale for the rest of your life. And what are you trying to do if you’re just doing that?
It’s snowing outside, starting a brewery this weekend, and today it’s snowing.
Try putting a lid on that boil.
Fans of shite swiping or click baiting that might actually be good for you have a gander below
Victor's Way, Co Wicklow - Open from April 13th till October 1st
Plato's allegory of the cave
In Ireland? Visit Blarney castle and get the gift of shitetalk
Meditation - Michael Sealey
Struggling to sleep? Try ASMR Therapy- Ephemeral Rift
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