The Irish Times Magazine - - DRINK - SORCHA HAMIL­TON

“Mad Max” is the name of a big, me­dieval- look­ing con­trap­tion around the side of an old farm­house in Co Tip­per­ary. There’s a half- burnt branch stick­ing out of the front and a large tank at the top and, though the fire’s not lit on the day that I visit, I’m guess­ing it builds up a fe­ro­cious heat when it gets go­ing. And it would want to – it’s got plenty of work to do boil­ing all the liq­uid for the at­tached brew­ery.

At Can­vas, Ire­land’s new­est mi­cro­brew­ery, they like to do things a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ently. Tim­ber for the wood- fired brew­ery is cop­piced on site; malt and hops grow on the farm, while wa­ter comes from a nearby spring. The beers, mean­while, veer to­wards the more un­usual too – a smoked porter, a “ses­sion quadru­ple” and plenty of bar­rel- fer­mented ales.

“The brew­ery’s name is Can­vas so there­fore it’s a can­vas of things that we’re pas­sion­ate about,” says Mark Twohig aka Twig. He’s one of the four founders, who also hap­pen to be two sets of broth­ers. Mau­rice Deasy, who de­signed the wood- fired ket­tle, “is pas­sion­ate about farm­ing”. Dave Twohig and Michael Deasy bring art, de­sign and mar­ket­ing skills to the pic­ture. “And I’m pas­sion­ate about food and flavour,” says brewer Mark. For many decades bar­ley was grown on the Deasy fam­ily farm for Guin­ness. Mark and Mau­rice also starred in the Smith­wicks home brew­ers TV ad ( the money from which they used to rein­vest in the brew­ery). “I think beer tourism is go­ing to be huge,” says Mark, who also works as a sec­ondary school teacher. “You’ve got places like here only two hours away [ from Dublin], then White Gypsy, Mes­can and all these cool small brew­eries all over Ire­land.” We go for a wan­der around the bar­ley fields, and pause at an old cot­tage fac­ing a hop gar­den. “Ter­roir de Tip­per­ary,” Mark says, tak­ing a seat on a cu­ri­ous- look­ing three- legged bench, a few sheep bleat­ing in the dis­tance, and hand­ing out a beer. @ ITbeerista beerista@ irish­times. com

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