There was a time in Ireland when you could get yourself a good few pints for a tenner. Six creamy ones with change for chips on the way home. Copious pints of Beamish were consumed in my late teenage years. All my freinds drank the bloody stuff and the fact that it was brewed here in Cork made it even more important for a young lad like myself to drink the stuff!! And boy did we make an effort to support our local brewery. Even my own father drinks the stuff to this day….he loves the stuff….his most favourite request “Are you going for a pint?”…a phrase he could utter at any moment of the day or in the most unusual of situations!!
Yes, Beamish has that uniqueness that only Cork people can relate to. I can still smell the hops wafting up Barrack street across the South Gate Bridge…passing the gates…you could taste it in the air. The Beamish brewery took up such a significant part of Corks history that it stuck to the buildings…it was what kept the streets of Cork alive for so many years…. it was it’s llifeblood and every time you passed the brewery gates with it’s lorries coming and going and the steam rising from its chimneys and those wonderful smells and all that stout just waiting to be tasted…that sweet tasting brew and all at a reasonable price. I always felt that bit more of a big fella if a stout was in my hand. Don’t get me wrong here now…I drank all sorts of stuff but Beamish was like an old friend that was always at the end of the line….waiting for me to call it when I needed that special crutch!!
The brewery no longer operates and the smells are no more. I really miss that smell so much. Some people found it disgusting but I couldn’t get enough of it and the minute you crossed the bridge it just seemed to envelope you with its uniqueness. Now its gone for good. A great shame for the people of Cork. Generations of Cork people worked in this place and now all that remains are the memories and regrets!!! You can still drink the black stuff but no longer is it brewed on the south bank of the River Lee.
Maybe the future will bring about a new brewery on a smaller scale with a whole new way of brewing. A micro brewery with big intentions perhaps. I don’t really know why I felt the need to talk about this institution…maybe because now there is a bit if a Winter wonderland in the front yard of the Beamish and Crawford building. Now the young kids of Cork city are expecting to see Santa Claus instead of a pint. It has been given another purpose once again… the people of Cork will realise what a special place this was and appreciate it for what it once was…..in all its glory!!
God… to be back in those precious days once agin with those old boys once again…suppin’ on pints of fresh beamish!!!