Showing posts with label micro-brewery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label micro-brewery. Show all posts

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Herbs? Salads? Natur-Ellie. Watch this Green Space

Herbs? Salads? Natur-Ellie

Watch this Green Space
Ellie, with a few of her herbs.
In the unlikely setting of a unit in a commercial estate, we are talking micro-herbs, herbs and salads in general. They are growing all around us. 

Urban gardener Ellie Donovan has just moved from another similar location and tells me she never thought there’d be such a demand for her organic micro greens. ‘“The chefs love them,” she says. She started with lots of varieties but is now down to six, the ones the chefs really like!
The urban garden!
She has been boosted by the signing of a new contract with the Market Lane group of restaurants. Market Lane’s original venture in Oliver Plunket Street will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year and no doubt their other restaurants Elbow Lane (and its micro brewery), ORSO Bar and Kitchen, and the spectacularly situated Castle Cafe will join in.

And it was at the cafe in Blackrock Castle that Ellie first began to work with the group. Here she set up a small kitchen garden and now the cafe is self sufficient and look after it themselves. She has also grown some hops in a confined location at the top of Elbow Lane. “All the Market Lane places are excellent. I love them and we have a great relationship.”
Recycled fish boxes
It is a confidence building relationship too and that will help Green Space expand. But it's hard going on your own! 

More hops for the brewery are in the pipeline. She will be using an enclosed outside patch of concrete close to the unit and will be growing lots of plants, probably including hops, in pallets that she has been collecting. And the garden at her country home will also help her ambitions to grow more outdoors.

One of the advantages in being in a commercial centre is that it is something of a community and people tend to help one another out. For instance, a nearby unit gives her used fish boxes and they are ideal for her business.
Micro!
Ellie uses coco fibre (also known as coir) as a growing medium. It is a natural product and hers includes rooting hormones. And then she also uses liquid fertilisers. At present, she is using tap water but plans are in hand - indeed some of the gear is in place - to replace it with rain-water. And another plan is to get a solar panel on the roof.

She is getting used to the particular environment of her Ballyvolane unit, learning day by day. She lost some lettuce overnight during the recent spell of very hot weather. She is pretty happy with the natural light but also uses some hanging fixtures that give close to a natural light. And she has heat mats in place for propagation.
Hydroponics in action
And what does she grow? Well lots of little herbs (some larger ones too: Rosemary, Sage, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Parsley...). The micros include Basil (four or five varieties), Coriander, Chinese and other chives, Rambo purple radish, and more. Also salads such as Mizuna, Wild Rocket, Mustards, Pea shoots etc. 

And she’s always experimenting, trying something new. So be sure and watch this Green Space!

* Read more about Ellie’s career here

Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy New Beer! Mayfield’s Cotton Ball. Ireland’s Latest Micro Brewery

Happy New Beer!

Mayfield’s Cotton Ball. Ireland’s Latest Micro Brewery
Forward planning. Jack Lynch in the Cotton Ball Brewery.
Months of research and hard work paid off this week when Ireland’s newest craft beers began to flow at the Cotton Ball Brewery in Mayfield.  The Cotton Ball pub, under which the brewery is built, was the venue for an early tasting of Lynch’s Lager, called after the family that founded the pub back in 1874.

While touring the new facility yesterday with Jack Lynch, I was shown a number of barrels previously used by Jack Daniels (and to be used in the future for a Lynch special brew). At least one of the barrels, Number 59, is stamped with the name of the American distillery and the address is Lynchburg, Tennessee, and that is one of the places where Jack Lynch’s grandfather, Humphrey, worked while in the United States in the 19th century. And it is Jack's son, Humphrey, who is the Cotton Ball brewer.
A lot of lager here!
More beers are planned but, for now, there are just two, a Lynch Lager and a Lynch Stout, and these are exclusively available at the bar and at a very good price, I might add! My first venture was a pint of the lager. It is superb, full of great flavour and with a good cut in the finish. 
Christmas Stout

The Stout (left) is also excellent, flavour, smoothness and a long dry finish the striking characteristics. You get the hints of your old toffee bar in the aromas and on the palate and the flavours last, still a pleasure well after the swallow. Both beers are available on draught at the bar but you can expect to see them in bottles sometime in 2014.

Aside from the special, an Ale is planned for the New Year and should make an appearance as the Spring kicks in. And there are also plans to increase the food element at the Cotton Ball and indeed produce specially matched bites for the beers.

This barrell has quite an aroma, all the way from Lynchburg to Lynch's!
The brewery will be officially launched on January 25th (6.00pm to 9.00pm) when you may try the new pints, enjoy the music and the new food menu.

Just to go back to Humphrey and his working trip to America. One of the souvenirs he brought back was a full size Stars and Stripes with 39 stars on it. This is an oddity as there were never 39 states in the union. The legend in the photo says the flag manufacturers took a gamble thinking that the Dakotas would be admitted as one state but instead North and South Dakota simultaneously joined the union as two separate states, taking the numbers from 38 to 40.
The 39 star flag
The flag is displayed in one of the loveliest corners of the Mayfield pub, a corner that Jack says will now be called the Brewery Room and one that will contain quite a lot of Brewing memorabilia in the months ahead. 

Must say I am looking forward to visiting on a regularly basis to keep an eye on what Jack and his sons Eoin and Humphrey are bringing up from underneath. It is no great hardship to me. The walk is short and the beer is good. Happy New Beer!

The "Brewery" room, just one of many cosy sections in the Cotton Ball
Lynch’s Stout
Hand crafted from 5 malts and traditional flaked barley. Bittered moderately with American and New Zealand hops. Late kettle hopped with premium Kentish aroma hops beer. Warm matured on the same aromatic hops, after which the beer is cold matured on Jack Daniels impregnated American oak.
The result
A phenomenal marriage of coffee roast, caramel, lush, balanced by a clean bitterness exploding into a tangerine, mandarin aromatic delivery with the faintest hint of oak.



Lynch’s Lager
Pilsner lager made with 100% Cork malted barley ,is clean Bittered with Columbus and galena U.S.A grown hops. Late kettle addition of hallertãu perle and hersbruker, fermented with our rapidly settling yeast strain. With a proven record of making clean cut pilsner lagers portraying the individual hop aromas from New Zealand to Norway and the east and west of Europe.
The result
Another unchallengeable quality lager delivering, subtle aromatic hop flavour and aroma from a bed of light malt caramel flavour with a thirst cutting clean bitterness.

Cotton Ball details:
18 Old Youghal Road, Mayfield
Cork Ireland
Phone  (021) 450 3096
Hours: 
Mon - Thu: 10:30 am - 11:30 pm
Fri - Sat: 10:30 am - 12:30 am
Sun: 12:30 pm - 11:00 pm

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Burren Brewery

The Burren Brewery
Ireland's Smallest Micro-Brewery!

When you walk into the Roadside Tavern in Lisdoonvarna, you see the normal beer dispensers on the high counter. But then, in the middle, you see something totally different: three unusual taps labelled Gold, Red and Black.

Owner Peter Curtin has his own brewery here, “the smallest micro-brewery in Ireland”, and the taps, designed by a local artist, dispense his lager (Burren Gold), ale (Burren Red) and stout (Burren Black). And very tasty they are too, as we discovered after a tasting of the three.


The brewery, just over 12 months old, is upstairs and Peter showed us up his stairway to heaven! It is all neat and compact. He has got some very good gear here and a great love for the task as we found out. And the pub is the only place that you can get these beers.

The pub itself, just a few miles from the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher, has a very long history, in family hands since 1893. But the Curtins were also bakers and that history goes back even further, hundreds of years. Nowadays the pub is also noted for its food and, this year, was voted “Best Gastro-pub in Munster” by the Restaurants Association of Ireland.

 Timing wasn’t quite right for us to eat there but the menu is filled with delicious dishes such as traditional Irish bacon, Cabbage and Parsley sauce and a slightly less traditional rendition of Irish stew (featuring local Burren beef in place of the more typical lamb).



Pride of place is given to several dishes featuring Smoked Fish and Eel from the family's award-winning Burren Smokehouse, run by Peter and Birgitta Curtin. Try the Burren smoked fish platter which is served with organic leaves from nearby New Quay. The Burren Smokehouse  is literally a few yards down the road and well worth a visit. And they have a great shop there too with local products from other producers. You may also buy online.

And don’t skip dessert in the Tavern. Peter says they are fabulous, homemade by Fabiola's Patisserie in Doolin. Fabiola has worked in Michelin starred restaurants and you may also sample her pastry delights at the Cafe in the Doolin Crafts Centre.


Food and good beer. What more do you want? Well, you get much more in this bar as there is a fantastic music programme throughout the season. That series is drawing to a close now but not before paying a massive tribute to Micilín Conlon (who played in the pub for all of 57 years) over three nights (26th,27th,28th of October). And, on the Saturday and Sunday (4.00 to 6.00pm), there will be a tasting combining the local beers, breads and cheese. Sounds great.

If you like a laugh, you’ll never be short of one with Peter and his crew in the Roadside. His sense of humour was seen at its sharpest recently when he more or less hi-jacked the Thursday set aside for Arthur and instead designated it Peter’s Day with pints of Burren Beer selling at three euro.

The beers are very popular with tourists. They are good, really good. So why not call in if you are in the area. Worth a detour, as they say in the best guides.

 Also visited: Cliffs of Moher   Wild Honey Inn  St Tola Goat Cheese Lahinch area Ballyvaughan Tea and Garden Rooms The Burren