Ireland is a country known for its beer, but microbrews and ales fall far down on most Irish drinkers’ lists. There are, however, some great craft brews to be found in Ireland, if you know where to look. One such place is the Franciscan Well Brewery in Cork City.
The brewpub has an interesting story. Seated out at the east end of Cork along the North Mall, the building originally housed a 13th century Franciscan monastery whose well was purported to have healing waters (hence the brewery’s name). In the 1940s, the building was used to bottle Guinness locally in Cork, and in 1998, it was taken over by the Franciscan Well’s owner, Liam McNeill.
Franciscan Well brews five core beers onsite at the brewpub:
Friarweisse – a 4.7% German-style wheat beer with clove and banana aromas
Blarney Blonde – a 4.2% “Kolsch” lager with a light, fruity flavour
Rebel Red – a 4.3% Irish red ale with lovely malt overtones
Rebel Lager – a 4.2% Czech-style hoppy lager
Shandon Stout – a 4.3% Cork-style dry, chocolatey stout
Though you can find Franciscan Well’s beers at various pubs around Ireland (for example, at The Gingerman in Dublin), the best way to experience their brews is at the actual brewpub in Cork. Inside, you are greeted by three 30-gallon copper tanks behind the cherry wood bar, while the pub spreads to the back with lovingly worn wooden tables and booths, meeting up with one of the largest heated beer gardens in Cork, where the namesake well still trickles.
On Thursday evenings, the Franciscan Well serves up pizzas from a wood-fire oven (although, sadly, no menu is available at other times), and they offer free WiFi throughout the pub and a more-than-decent overhead music selection (important in a brewpub) that, on the evening we were there, ranged from Tom Waits to Arcade Fire.
This sweet little brewpub is located at 14 North Mall, tucked away in a small stone passage off of Cork’s River Lee. And as the saying goes, nothing’s far in Cark.
Franciscan Well Brewery
14 North Mall
+353 (0)21 4393 434