Minimalist Challenge, Guinness Day 23

I promise these Guinness bottle caps have been collected over many, many weeks, not a matter of a few days. There are 23, plus eight to compensate for two frivolous purchases I made on Thursday.

These bottle caps have been taking up space in a kitchen drawer and will be forwarded to Studly Doright’s youngest sister, the beautiful and witty Amy, in Texas. Amy is a creative soul who will turn these Guinness caps into a work of art.

Of course, some would argue, they already are a work of art. And the Guinness? Sublime.

Peace, people.

Irish Beer Retrospective 

If you're new to my blog you might've missed some of my greatest moments in Ireland. Studly Doright and I embarked on an eight day trip to the Emerald Isle with a group of golfing friends, and I became enamored of the beer. Yes, while Studly was sinking putts, I was downing pints.

I kicked off the beer tour quite by accident. We'd landed in Shannon around 8 a.m. their time. After going through customs and collecting our luggage we met up with members of our group and met our driver, Paul. We had a bit of a drive to our hotel in Killarney, but still arrived before our hotel had rooms ready. 

As Paul drove us through his home town of Killarney he pointed out several pubs where we might wile away the hours before checking into the hotel. One pub was very near the Malton Hotel, so several of us left our luggage with the concierge and walked a couple of blocks in search of a pint. 

Of course I had to have a Guinness and when the barkeep offered to take my picture I proudly held up my glass for posterity's sake. Some women are born to greatness, others have greatness thrust upon them, and then there's me.

On day two of our trip I asked about local brews, and as it happened the pub we stopped at after touring Muckross House had a local pilsner from Killarney Brewing Company. One of the ladies I was with suggested that we take a photo of me and this lovely beer, and someone (maybe me) suggested I go for a different beer a day. I eagerly accepted the challenge.

My day three beer was a Murphy's, and I have developed a genuine affection for this beer. It's got a sweetness to it that Guinness doesn't have, and while it isn't carried in any of my local grocery stores like Guinness is, I have found it at World Market in Tallahassee. I cheered when I came across it, startling a rather conservative looking gentleman in the world beers section!

Day four's featured beer was a Smithwick's (pronounced "Smittick's," which confused me for a minute or two). Smithwick's is another thoroughly enjoyable ale. I believe it's a match for Guinness, with Murphy's being my favorite of the dark beers. I have yet to locate Smithwick's in the states. Perhaps another trip to Ireland is in order?

On our last day in Killarney, Studly Doright and I had dinner at the pub in our hotel, and I sampled a Crean's lager, brewed in Dingle. I enjoyed my Crean's. It had a clean, crisp taste and paired well with my order of fish and chips.  


A Black and Tan combo was in order for my sixth day. That's a half Guinness and half Smithwick's for all you novices (that was me ten minutes before I ordered one). The Black and Tan combo is in my Guinness glass, while a Smithwick's drinker let me borrow his glass for demonstration purposes. Superb mixing of flavors in this drink, but unless I can get my hands on Smithwick's I will have to wait to enjoy it again. 


On the seventh day I did not rest. Nope, instead I had a White Gypsy beer, brewed in Tipperary. It was pleasant. I liked it even more when I learned that the company uses only malt and hops grown near Tipperary, and their logo might be my favorite. I felt as dainty as a 5'8" tall, 164 lb., pint swilling woman could possibly feel.


Day eight brought the only beer I wasn't crazy about, or maybe I was just tired of beer. Naw, that can't be it. This Hop House 13 Lager just missed the mark. It wasn't awful, just left me wishing I'd had a Murphy's!


Finally, I made it to the last day of our trip, finishing with an O'Hara's IPA. We'd stopped for lunch near the Burren's, that wild, forlorn area dotted with limestone outcroppings and ancient relics. It seemed fitting to hoist a pint in tribute to our adventure. And because I wanted one.


So what's next? I need to find another niche to explore. Scotch in Scotland? Wine in France? Rum in Barbados? Tequila in… nope. Someone else has to taste test tequila. Of course until I replenish the funds in my bank account I'll most likely be reduced to sampling the burgers in Tallahassee.

Peace, and drink responsibly, people!

Last Call

The golfers played Lahinch on Thursday while the women explored The Burren, a wildly surrealistic landscape dotted with an abundance of limestone outcroppings. I celebrated surviving the journey into the natural beauty of Ireland with an O’Hara’s pale ale at a pub in Ballyvaughn. 

This was a terrific beer with a bit of a bite, and I enjoyed every drop. It was a fine beer to enjoy on my last full day in Ireland.


One final toast:

May the good Lord take a liking to you…but not too soon.

A Swig and a Miss

I suppose it was inevitable that there’d be a beer I didn’t fancy as much as some of the others. If I were better versed in the language of the brewing arts I might be able to explain why it fell short, but all that I can say is “meh.” 

The Hop House Lager 13 I drank at Morrisey’s Pub in Doonbeg on Wednesday night didn’t thrill me. It wasn’t awful, but I had no desire to order a second pint. So I ordered a dessert with eclairs, ice cream, and chocolate sauce. It was amazing. Life in Ireland is pretty sweet. 

Shall I offer a toast?

He’s a fool who give over the liquor,
It softens the skinflint at once,
It urges the slow coach on quicker,
Gives spirit and brains to the dunce.

The man who is dumb as a rule
Discovers a great deal to say,
While he who is bashful since Yule
Will talk in an amorous way.

It’s drink that uplifts the poltroon
To give battle in France and in Spain,
Now here is an end of my turn-
And fill me that bumper again!

A Pint at Doonbeg

I didn’t plan to blog a beer a day, but it’s been one of the most enjoyable parts of my trip to Ireland. Trust me, I’m no beer expert, and I can’t pick a favorite, but that’s not going to prevent me from continuing the search.

It might be just my imagination, but I believe the bartenders’ faces light up when I ask about their local brews. I’ve yet to be disappointed in their offerings. 

Last night was our first in a new hotel. We’re at Doonbeg in County Clare, so I ordered one of their two locally produced beers at dinner last evening: White Gypsy Blond, a German Hefeweizen beer by White Gypsy (Shelta Beer Co), a brewery in Tipperary.


It was an easy beer to enjoy, and I might have had a second glass just to be sure I liked it as much as I thought I did. 

Here’s a toast to all our friends:

There are good ships,

and there are wood ships,

The ships that sail the sea.

But the best ships, are friendships,

And may they always be.

Twice the Fun

Don’t worry, I’m not drinking double. I ordered a Black and Tan (half Smithwick’s, half Guinness) at Ballybunion today, but had to choose between having it in a Smithwick’s glass or a Guinness glass. I chose the former, but a friend ordered the latter, so I borrowed his glass for demonstration purposes only. Okay, maybe I took a sip.

I forgot to add a toast to yesterday’s blog, so I’ll try to find a good one.

May your glass be ever full.

May the roof over your head be always strong.

And may you be in heaven half an hour before the

devil knows you’re dead.

Sipping Smithwick’s at Old Head

Another fine Irish brew, Smithwick’s, or “Smitticks,” as the locals say, was my pick on the fourth day of our trip. This pint was touted as being the finest in the land by the waiter who took my order. I impressed him with my spot on pronunciation, and told him that beer had become my second language.

Here’s to your health!


A fitting toast for today:

I drink to your health when I’m with you,

I drink to your health when I’m alone,

I drink to your health so often,

I’m starting to worry about my own!

Cheers, y’all!

Pour Me Another

On the third day, let there be Murphy’s! 


I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. It’s got a bit of a sweet taste compared to Guinness, and went down velvety smooth. 

And we toast:

Here’s to a long life and a merry one.

A quick death and an easy one.

A pretty girl and an honest one.

A cold pint– and another one!

Another Day…

Another day, another beer! 

After a day of riding a tour bus and touring the Muckross House near Killarney, several of us found a small pub and enjoyed a locally brewed beer. I had the Killarney pilsner. It was lip-smacking good!


Here’s another Irish toast befitting the occasion:

Irish Quotes

I wish you health, I wish you well, and happiness galore. 

I wish you luck for you and friends; what could I wish you more? 

May your joys be as deep as the oceans, your troubles as light as its foam. 

And may you find, sweet peace of mind, where ever you may roam.

Peace from Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland.