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!

Endings and Beginnings 

I never cared for endings, the final breaths of dying embers, glowing stubbornly, banked against the coldest 

Night. Beginnings, though, bright promises of better days, slipping through the grates, landing on my doorstep, 

With a grand thud. Extra! Extra! Dream all about it. Wrap a ribbon around the past. Cap it off with a shot of tequila.

Limerick Frenzy

There once was a man from Nantucket….

Whoa! That’s not where I’m going with my limericks.

Apparently limericks come in three types: ones you can tell in the presence of ladies (what a sexist thought), ones that can be told in the presence of clergy, and true limericks. Mine are just a mixture.

Studly and I moved out east
To avoid that old snowy beast
In Florida we’ve begun
To worship the sun
Or to revel in warmth at the least.

IMG_0508

A bather in beauty to see
In a suit cut way up the knee
Once arrived on the beach
As pert as a peach
Amazingly she was a he.

IMG_0804

Believe it or not, the beautiful person pictured above is transgender. Cool, eh? I should look so good!

Jose Cuervo and I went a’dancing
He wasn’t much for romancing
After two or three shots
I puked up my guts
And Jose went on with his prancing.

IMG_2595

There once was a lady so daring
Her bodice was cut low for baring
The men all around
Made hardly a sound
So caught up were they in their staring.

IMG_0806

Tequila Mockingbird

Remember the old antacid commercials where an actor would say something along the lines of, “I like tamales, but they don’t like me?” Then the camera would show said actor’s face turning green and his tummy rolling in that special effects thing they do. Well, that’s the relationship I had with tequila. Except that tequila felt more than a dislike for me. It was more of an “I hate you, stupid old woman, and you should die a painful gut-wrenching death” kind of emotion.

I’ve had several run-ins with tequila, but one of the most notable occurred the year I turned 50. To celebrate my milestone birthday I decided to embark on a solo motorcycle trip from our home near Champaign, Illinois, to our son’s home in Dallas. Now, to me that was a big deal. I know other women who have made major solo trips, but I’m not an adventurous woman. I’m a “stay home and read a good book about adventurous women” woman.

It took all of my courage to mount my bike and head down the interstate that summer morning in 2006, but I did it and soon relaxed and enjoyed the ride. I’d divided the route into a three day/two night expedition with the second of those two nights to be spent in Fayetteville, Arkansas. My cousin is a singer/songwriter who was living there at the time, and I planned to spend an evening at a restaurant listening to him perform.

The restaurant served good Mexican food and even better frozen margaritas. I sat with my cousin’s wife and daughter, and we chatted while listening to the mellow music as we ate and drank and then drank some more. I was feeling happy. So very happy. And so glad I’d taken a cab from my hotel to the venue. At the end of the evening we parted ways and my cousin dropped me off at the hotel. Good times. Until, they weren’t.

I knew I was in trouble when the automatic doors at the hotel seemed to be moving up and down instead of back and forth. Whoa! That was a new one. Somehow I got them to hold still long enough for me to lurch into the lobby and on to the elevator, even though the lines in the carpet kept rising up to greet me. I successfully found my room and slid the key card into the door. Always a stickler for cleanliness, I washed my face, brushed, and even flossed my teeth before falling into bed. In retrospect, such a waste of time.

Anyone who has ever had too much to drink knows exactly what happened next. Whee! The bed started a raucous spin, less like a carousel, more like a tilt-a-whirl. Oh, and I knew the worst was about to happen. Frantically I scrambled out of bed, one hand clasped over my mouth. I made it to the bathroom, but then the dam broke. And it was Hoover Dam. A damn big dam.

The worst part was my dam burst onto my toiletries bag, and I spent a good half hour cleaning it up. I took a shower and went to bed which had been tamed considerably by then. When I packed up the next morning I felt like I’d been in a wrestling match with a large, scared skunk. I stuffed everything into my bike’s storage compartment and headed down the road.

The last leg of my trip from Fayetteville to Dallas was brutal. I was riding severely hungover in 104 degree heat through dusty, dirty, windy Oklahoma. Think blast furnace. At one point I called Studly and confessed my sins. I desperately wanted him to say, “honey, you stay right there and I’ll come get you.” Instead, he laughed uproariously, called me a knothead and said something about hoping I’d learned a valuable lesson. He was right of course. ;#^;@$%#!

At the end of that very long day, when I unpacked my bike, the smell that rose from my corrupted toiletries bag had me gagging anew. It seems that drunken cleaning is little better than no cleaning at all. Oh, the humanity!

I’d like to say I never had another drink of tequila ever again, but I’d be lying. I can truthfully say, though, that I don’t drink it anymore. Maybe wisdom does come with age. Yes! Finally something about aging to celebrate. I’ll make another solo trip one day, maybe to celebrate my 60th birthday in a couple of years, but neither Jose Cuervo nor any of his ilk will be invited to tag along. Good riddance.

Oh, here’s a clip of my cousin Effron White, singing one of my favorite songs, “Yankee Dime.”

Peace, People.