I know, Oktoberfest should be in September, but the one in Dead Centre happened in early October, and good fun it was, too. Fellow Beer Lady Katie and I made the trip to Athlone, where we recorded an interview with the lovely Liam and Petra for the podcast, and we had some excellent locally-brewed lagers…and a few other things, like the High IQ Moron Radler.
Also – pretzels.
But there was also excitement on tap when another of my podcast co-hosts, Christina, and I attended the Irish Food Writers Awards; we were both (rather mysteriously) nominated for Best Beer Blog – it was a lovely surprise and I’ll need to work a bit harder next year (next week?) to see if I can pull together something a bit more worthy for the next go-round, though John was a well-deserved winner, and we got him on the podcast to chat about it shortly after.
And so, with Spooky Season in high gear, it was time to switch over to Things Autumnal, with Smaller Child’s birthday (a Halloween-themed day out at Leopardstown Race Course – no money won) and a fun crossover podcast episode with Wide Atlantic Weird – I then guested over there to share my Patience Worth nerdery. I enjoyed some lunchtime theatre with a bit of MR James at Bewley’s Café Theatre’s excellent production of Lost Hearts, and made sure to pick up some Trouble Brewing Pumpkin Brew – it was especially tasty on tap at L Mulligan Grocer, where we returned to paint pumpkins, having very much enjoyed the event the previous year.
I dressed up for my Halloween Parkrun and enjoyed a few Bram Stoker Festival events – Borealis at Dublin Castle was especially atmospheric. The cat, however, did not enjoy dressing up, perhaps because she had grown so much from when I’d purchased her special outfit – and our previous kitties never got to be so long!
After a massive candy haul during trick-or-treating, we hopped on a plane (again!) to York (well, a plane to Manchester Airport and a train to York, which was fine in one direction but rather less so heading back). We had not been to York since well before Child Two was born, and while it was a return for Youth One, he seemed to remember very little from his previous visit, so it was all practically brand-new for him, too. There was much excellent cask (and keg) ale consumed, and all manner of spooky activities: a visit to the York Ghost Merchants was required, as we’ve been collecting their wares for a few years, but this was our first in-person visit (protip: follow my lead and get there about 45 minutes before they open, enjoy a tea in the queue); it was excellent. We also enjoyed the newly-opened Society of Alchemists, where we bought insane quantities of soap.
Beer standouts in York were the Big Eagle IPA at Brew York, whose Asian street food was excellent, and Lord Marples at The Market Cat, because you can’t go wrong with cask Thornbridge and the pizza was tasty. They also had Kelham Island’s Pale Rider on, and as it was only recently ‘rescued‘ at that point, it was especially good to see (and drink). A return to The House of Trembling Madness for delicious cheese and some Marble beers was also very much enjoyed. The York Tap was a nice distraction from the train chaos, too – so much good cask!
A high point back in Dublin was the return of The Underdog in new surroundings – the cask isn’t back there yet, but it’s coming, and it’s really wonderful to see its rebirth. It’s impossible to go there and not run into someone you know, and the beer lineup has been uniformly excellent, as one would expect. While there are always a few pubs with a couple of local and/or other craft taps around, there had not been a true all-purpose craft beer bar since The Underdog’s previous incarnation on Dame Street, and its absence was keenly felt here – again, a welcome return. I managed to pay my first visit upon my return from York, and have been going back regularly ever since.
But also almost immediately after getting back from York, I returned to the Neighbouring Island for another special music treat: David Devant and his Spirit Wife, playing a 25th anniversary concert for their Work, Lovelife, Miscellaneous album at The Water Rats. It was Old Home Week for me as I’d been at the original series of launch concerts and lived just up the road as a grad student, back in the day. I managed to see a few friends, did a ride in the Peloton studio there (I KNOW – though on balance, it’s a lot nicer than NYC), hit up all my favourite occult bookstores and had some great beers. There’s never a bad time to visit the Euston Tap, so that was on the list, too. I also saw David Tennant in Good (no, I never go to London or NYC without a theatre plan – and that brings my ‘Doctors Who seen on stage’ count to – er – one) and I had a really pleasant wander around Coal Drops Yard…none of that existed when I lived there, though, to be fair, it was a lot more affordable then, so it was quite a change to some otherwise-familiar surroundings.
Back home, a little bit more sneaky music, with a not-gig at a local pub for some folksters, and some more great Beer Ladies Podcast fun. We went back on the Tea Bus to see Santa again, and are now finishing up the year where we started it, back in Pennsylvania – and yes, I have had my required Yards Brawler.
Stay tuned for one more post before the end of 2022, though I promise that will be much, much shorter – and I’m looking forward to an exciting 2023.