This is going to be an incredibly short post that is basically a celebration of a much longer post that I wish I had written. I have long been a fan of West Kerry Brewery’s Dingle porter. I didn’t know a whole lot about the brand, save that it was made in a pub somewhere in Kerry. I didn’t think too much about it until I read this sprawling, elegiac piece on the person behind the brewery by Brendán Kearney. It is rare that you find a drinks writer who manages to blend slightly anoraky detail with an incredibly touching human story, but there he is.

I happened to be on the Slea Head drive with my wife last Sunday morning. It was beautiful but bloody miserable. I had been telling my wife about the piece on West Kerry Brewery, when we came around a bend and there it was. Tig Bhric. 

Being 11am on a miserable Sunday in November, the pub was closed, so naturally I did a Charlie Bird and loitered in the doorway, talking loudly until someone noticed I was there. The door opened, and I was invited in. 

So it was we found ourselves in the company of Adrienne Heslin. I told her that this was the price of fame – stalkers and drinks nerds showing up unannounced of a Sunday. ‘The media is a vampire, you see – you invite us in, but you do not get to decide when we leave’ I cackled. 

Well, I didn’t really say that, but I did tell her that it was incredible that she revealed so much of her life to Brendán for the piece. She countered that as she runs a public house, and the public come there and share their stories with her, she has a duty to do the same. It really struck a chord with me as I always saw the media in the same light – we sell the lives of others to the public, so we should never shy from the bright lights ourselves. Anyway, we chatted for a bit, she lit the fire, I drank my coffee, and we departed, but not before I stocked up on booze, because while I am more than happy to support any independent microbrewery, Adrienne’s story was one that touched me. It is, obviously, not just a story, but a person’s life, yet it captures all those elements we yearn for in any narrative – loss, grief, adversity, and a determination to succeed, against all odds. So long story short – shoplocal, support microbrewers, and keep dreams alive.

Author: Bill Linnane

Freelance writer - or 'word whore' - with the Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, Irish Tatler Man, Evening Echo, and Distilled. Proud owner of the award-defying TripleDistilled.Blog, Ireland's Least Successful Blog™.

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