The Tale of Deageoch, an Irish Giant

Now, you’ll have heard about the Kerry Giant, and the tale of Finn McCool is well known to you, I’m sure, but you may not have heard the story of Deageoch .  This giant didn’t restrict himself to Kerry or Antrim, oh no, he put himself about a bit.  And what he like to do was brew a dark beer, and what really pleased him was seeing people drink it, for he was a kindly giant.

But he found some people liked to drink different beers, often brewed by little people, and often (but not always) paler beers with different flavours.  Now he worried about this, for wasn’t he brewing the best beer, and brewing a lot of it, because he was after all a giant.  It hurt him to see people drinking different beers, from different small brewers in different parts of Ireland – and he thought he saw the problem.  People didn’t know exactly what taste they should enjoy most, so he set about making sure his beer always tasted exactly the same.  making the brewery bigger was easy for a giant, and that meant every pint was the same from each giant brew, but between brews he needed to control variation.  Well, he was a mighty skilled brewer, he knew his chemistry and biology.  In fact he could control everything he had a hand in, and then he had one of those Eureka moments (though there was no Greek in him at all).  If he could control those processes outside the brewery the dark beer he loved so much would be more consistent, and the people would thank him and drink more of his beer.

So he talked to the publicans about keeping beer well, and became convinced that they needed his help.  He took over all those skilled cellar jobs that stopped landlords doing their proper job of spinning yarns at the bar.  Soon landlords all over Ireland forgot how to keep beer, but it was alright because Deageoch did all the work, and his dark brew became more popular than ever, whilst those small brewery beers turned sour in the cellar and pipes.

Now Deageoch could rest and enjoy his success, and it was whilst he was watching that he noticed some people, particularly young people, made faces when they drank his beer.  They seemed to find his favourite dark burnt bitterness less than easy to drink.  He took a deep breath and started to tinker with the recipe.  He was not doing this for himself but for his public.  If they could not drink his flavoursome dark beer he would change it for something easier.  And this worked, but it worked better in the winter.  In the summer people would drift away from his beautiful (if a little thinner, he sometimes thought) dark beer.  Luckily he saw the answer just a quickly as you did.  Keep it cold, then they won’t know what it tastes of.  And that’s what he did.  All over the land he installed keep-cold units, around his beer kegs and along his beer pipes, until the people he looked down upon could no longer taste a thing, and he was happy.  Well, he did sometimes think something was amiss, but he couldn’t remember exactly what it was.  But a few little people down on the ground did remember, or thought they remembered, beers of different colours and different flavours – now if they tried hard they might be able to make some, and if it went well other people might enjoy them too.

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