The answer, of course, is Kilkenny, which I’d know if I’d ever read the damn coaster.
St Francis Abbey occupies around 25 acres of Kilkenny City, Kilkenny, and is the home of Smithwicks Ale, as in “…the Smithwick and the Harpic, and the bottled draught and keg.” It is the oldest brewery in Ireland, standing on the site of a Franciscan Abbey founded in 1231. Brewing (says the Kilkenny tourism site) was carried on here for centuries until the dissolution of the Monasteries (around 1540), and started again with its conversion to better things in 1710.
I did drink Smithwicks itself once for a full evening and early morning, but I’ve forgotten what it was like. And who I was drinking with. Nonetheless, both the very forgettable Smithwicks Ale and far less forgettable Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale, “with its deep red hue and rich, creamy head delivering a distinctively smooth and flavourful taste,” have been brewed at St Francis Abbey ever since.
It’s a favourite with Guinness drinkers, former Guinness drinkers and would-be Guinness drinkers – and everybody who likes a good creamy, session beer with a creamy head the size of a Guinness glass but with an easier-drinking beer underneath.
And the cans you can buy it in here in New Zealand give you the full draught experience, if not the friends to have the session with.
Here’s Christy Moore. He’s saying goodbye to the port and brandy, the vodka and the stag.; the Smithwick and the Harpic, and the bottled draught and keg . . . ”