Two days and counting!

I'm officially freaking out about getting packed and ready to go. I also feel like everytime I look around, I find more bars and breweries I want to check out and I simply won't have the time to get to them all!
 
The following are food and drink places I am almost certainly going to visit:
 
The following are other breweries and places that sound interesting:
  • London, The Kernel
  • London, Weird Beard Brewing
  • Cardiff, Brains Brewing
  • Kildare, Trouble Brewing
  • More coming…
Part of the problem is since a chunk of the trip is a bus tour (NOT my preferred travel method!) and I'm with my Mom (not a beer drinker), I will have limited time to explore on my own. And I'm not sure exactly where we'll be stopping for lunch each day. I'd certainly prefer a little more flexibility BUT I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to travel with my Mom.
 
If any Irish, English, or Welsh breweries happen to read this – I am still looking for suggestions! I'll try to post a map of where I'll be. ALSO I AM HAPPY TO BRING BEER TO TRADE! I'd LOVE to bring over some beer from the Minnesota craft brewing renaissance to share with you!!

My research so far

When I first found out abuot this trip, I did what any normal person would do – I started a spreadsheet of booze research. What, you don’t do that? You should. I store it in the same folder as my home brewing notes.
I’ve neglected it a bit so need to do some last minute cramming but I’m pretty proud of the research so far!
Check it out:

Drinking in Context

Okay, so my long term goal here is to talk about booze. But specifically, making an effort to experience beer, booze, and cocktails differently based on context. I know from experience that a gin and tonic can be more than just a drink, it can be an experience. While I’ve had plenty of G&Ts on boats or decks here in Minnesota, there was a very different experience when I drank one in a safari lodge in Tanzania. Here, watching elephants wander across the plains below, I *experienced* a gin & tonic, with all it’s cultural background built in to the experience. It was painfully colonial.
I enjoy drinking in context. I love having a beer at the brewery, or sampling alcohol straight from the still. I like drinking and talking to the people who make the product. Just like an author might explain a reference in a book that you missed, so might a brewer talk about the process in a way that helps you discover or appreciate a new flavor.
To kick things off, I’m headed off to Ireland, London, and Cardiff. To be fair, the trip was planned before the blog and I don’t have a ton of free time while I’m there because I’m tagging along with my Mom and a tour group. This isn’t how I usually travel (love traveling solo and combining plans with whim) but I’m not one to turn down a trip no matter the format. But hey, I will probably need the distraction of good craft beer more than ever.
I will be staying in Galway, Fossa/Killarney, Dublin, London, and Cardiff.
Here are the daily highlights as stolen from my itinerary:
  • 21-9-13 Fly to Shannon
  • 22-9-13 Cliffs of Moher, Burren, Galway
  • 23-9-13 Galway, Connemara, Kylemore Abbey
  • 24-9-13 Bunratty Castle, Adare, Killarney
  • 25-9-13 Ring of Kerry
  • 26-9-13 Blarney, Midleton (Jameson), Rock of Cashel, Dublin
  • 27-9-13 Dublin, Trinity College, Guinness
  • 28-9-13 Dublin, Fly to London
  • 29-9-13 London, Buckingham Palace
  • 30-9-13 London
  • 1-10-13 London
  • 2-10-13 London, Bus to Cardiff
  • 3-10-13 Cardiff
  • 4-10-13 Cardiff
  • 5-10-13 Fly Home