Kilkenny - Smithwick's Brewery Tour

While in Kilkenny, we signed ourselves up for the Smithwick's Brewery tour.  The brand dates back more than 300 years and there is a ruined old abbey (St. Francis Abbey) on the property.  Sadly, the brewery is shutting down at the end of the year and operations are moving to St. James' Gate in Dublin.  We're glad we had the chance to see it before the end.
As we were led into the brewery, we passed all sorts of relics like this Smithwick's ceramic beer jug and bell.
We suited up in high visibility vests and safety goggles for the tour.
We emerged into an old courtyard which once fronted the Smithwick family's living quarters and beer testing area.
After about a five minute walk we arrived at the impressive ruins of St. Francis Abbey.
Inside, jumbles of stone lay on the foundation.
The outline of a seven paned stained glass window shown brightly in the sun.
Light also tumbled in from the arches along the side of the abbey.
Small statues stood watch from the walls.
We stopped briefly at the adjacent, modern chapel built by Smithwick's factory workers.
In the tasters room, we were impressed by the training regimen that was adhered to.  Very few people were certified to taste Smithwick's and make sure the quality and flavor were the same batch after batch for 300 years.  It is a 3-5 year journey for an aspiring quality taster.
We took one last look at the chapel...
...and Abbey from the outside before heading toward the modern production area.
Giant stainless steel tanks stood as sentinels over the courtyard.
The final stop of the tour was everyone's favorite - the tasting room!
We each got to sample a pint of Smithwick's or Smithwick's Pale Ale.
Our guide expertly and patiently poured the pints in two pulls.
Smithwick's memorabilia sat off to the side.
I liked this artistic presentation of what I think is dried barley.
Sláinte!

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Kilkenny - Smithwick's Brewery Tour
Kilkenny - Smithwick's Brewery Tour
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