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Smithwick's Irish Ale
Smithwick's Irish Ale

Smithwick’s Irish Ale
S trange things happen around Halloween time. It was Halloween Eve. It was game day and Auburn was playing Mississippi at 6pm. We were in a hurry to get home after the lady folk dragged us out to go shopping. We were driving down Washington Road and I almost got sidetracked as we drove by Hooters and a whole bunch of Hooter Girls were out front from getting their picture taken. All of them seemed to have on some skimpier outfits than usual and they all were leaning over toward the camera. That meant they all had their little fannies aimed at the road. My natural reaction was to swerve into to the parking lot and watch the game there. But Mrs. Dan and Mrs. Dan-in-laws were in the car. I had to fight that reaction. We needed chicken wings for the game and I don’t think Hooters’ wings were going to be served.

Next stop Publix where each of us were given instructions on what to buy so we could in and out in 10 minutes. That is not something Mrs. Dan is known for. But we did it. Wings, check. Chips, check. Cheese, check. Beer……… Beer…… I wasn’t sure what to get. Mrs. Dan picked Shock Top. I thought about some Harvest Moon but they didn’t have any. I’m kind of superstitious about game day and was thinking of something that would bring us luck. I needed some Luck of the Irish and there was my answer. Smithwick’s Irish Ale. If you’ve read my posts you would know I hold Killian’s as a measuring stick. But even I know that Killian’s is as Irish as our little white dog Adobe.

Made it home, put on my lucky orange shirt and opened my first Smithwick’s. It’s a nice little ale, Got some nice malts, a hint of that same kind of chocolately malt that Kilian’s has. The labels says it has a nice smooth finish but I detect a slightly hoppy finish. Nice though. (Either that or this stuff been sitting on the shelf for a year or so. That’s the problem with many imports and microbrews. You can never really be sure how fresh they are).

Brett, Dan and Mark
Brett, Dan and Mark

Part way into the second quarter we had a knock at the door. It was Stanley Laurel and Oliver Hardy a.k.a. Brett and Mark, my brew tasting partners. I guess there were trick or treating for beer. Brought back memories from the night I moved to Augusta, on Halloween 1988. I lived in Old Town. It was raining and with each knock at the door the kids were getting older. Much older. “It’s raining and our niece couldn’t come out so we’re collecting candy for her.” They were old enough, I joked, I should have been handing out six-packs. But we jump ahead 22 years and these were two kids I knew. They each had a Smithwick’s with me before heading downtown to visit a few pubs. Brett gave it a thumbs up. From what I heard they had their picture taken with all sorts of folks, including Jesus and swimmer Michael Phelps. The plus side of people wanting to have their picture taken with them is they got a lot free beer. Mostly Bud Light which I know Mark had to force himself to drink.

But at least he started the night with a really good Irish Ale. It has a nice amber color. Not too foamy head. Full-bodied. Nice and smooth. Nice way to enjoy a football game especially when we won 51-31.

I visited the Smithwick’s website. Interestingly enough their website does not have the logo or bottle shots that look anything like the bottles they sell in the states. Their US label features a castle tower with the year 1710 on it. Their website features a simple modernistic type logo that looks more 2000 than 1710. They don’t even mention being owned and brewed by Guinness although that is prominent on the label.

Here’s what the site said about the history of the brew.

“Over 300 years ago in 1710, John Smithwick began brewing his first Ales – although the Smithwick’s story started long before then.

He chose the site of an ancient monastery – St.Francis Abbey, to position his brewery. John was inspired by a tradition of brewing on this site, the foundations of which were laid four centuries earlier.

Back in the 13th century The Franciscans established an Abbey, with its own well, on the banks of the River Nore in Kilkenny. Whilst brewing and barley cultivation are recorded in Irish Annals from the mists of time, the strong brewing tradition that exists in Kilkenny started with these monks who would have brewed their own light ale for their visitors, using water from St. Francis’ Well.

To this day the Abbey stands proudly at the heart of the brewery and continues to inspire our brewers. Smithwick’s Superior Irish Ale – Crafted and perfected since 1710.”

Well It was a happy/sad evening. Auburn won, I had some really nice beer but Michigan lost and Mrs. Dan and Mrs. Dan-in-laws were rather dejected. “Michigan’s defense couldn’t catch a cold” was frequently lamented.

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