Author Archives: Rob Nesbit

About Rob Nesbit


Beer drinker and all round annoyance.
Likes drinking, football, cricket and having a good time.

Black Forest Michel

Black Forest Michel

Schwarzwald Michel 

http://shop.alpirsbacher.de/bier/schwarzwald-michel.html

Brewed by Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu
Style: Helles/Pale Lager
Alpirsbach, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany

Black Forest MichelAlpirsbacher Klosterbräu is a brewing company in a small town called Alpirsbach in the Black Forest region of Germany.

The company was founded in 1877 by Johann Gottfried Glauner who reactivated the former monastery brewery. In 1880 the company was passed onto his son, Carl Albert Glauner and in 1906 the company was renamed to Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu. The company was, and is,  continuously held by the Glauner family that is now in its fourth generation of ownership.

I have tried their products before, their big seller and award winning beer, the “spezial” lager, which was fine, and their Märzenbier which I liked. 

Other beers they produce have also won prestigious awards. Its Pils getting a silver in the World Beer Cup in 2014, and its Wheat crystal, Monastery Starkbier and Monastic Substance all picking up awards in the World Beer Awards

Review: 0,5l Bottle of Schwarzwald Michel: ABV: 4.8% vol 

Black Forest MichelSchwarzwald Michel translates as Black Forest Michel in English!

This beer is exclusively brewed for Edeka, a German supermarket giant, as a special thanks for all their years of cooperation with the company. 

Has an interesting label of what looks like a blond, blue eyed (“Aryan” cough!) German woodcutter.

On appearance got a very light golden colour, and a nice soft white head.

A good bit of carbonation, beer buzzing along, a lively beer.

Looks lovely as it has a nice colour and a decent sized head, good start.

Black Forest MichelHas a very nice aroma, it smells of malts and hops all light but fresh and fine on the nose.

The taste is nice and soft, and very easy to drink, really smooth and refreshing with its subtle flavours and light tastes. Can detect citrus, wheat, malt notes, and it is also a little creamy.

Nice and malty. The barley malts hitting the spot. 

Got lovely mouthfuls. Very nice to drink. Tastes like a decent lager. Nice, I like it. 

Citrus notes are quite apparent in this beer. 

Was tasty and very easy to drink. Excellent, loved it. Recommended

 

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Müller Bräu Red Porter Ale

Müller Bräu Red Porter Ale

http://www.meinbier.ch/

Brewed by Müller Bräu
Style: Red Porter Ale
Baden, Switzerland

My second tryout on the Müller Bräu range of drinks, that are sold in lovely six packs here in Switzerland. Had previously tried their Dry Stout which I absolutely loved, especially how smooth it was. 

Founded in 1897 by the brewer Hans Müller, Müller Bräu is a small fourth generation family run brewery located in the town of Baden in North Switzerland. The brewery is still located in its original location, in fact the industrial town has more or less developed around the brewery which is handy as it always has newer, thirsty customers to cater for!

Innovative, while at the same time traditional, the brewery uses old style recipes of yesteryear and gets its water from its own spring.

Review: 33cl Bottle of Müller Bräu Red Porter Ale: ABV: 5.5% vol

A Red Porter Ale which is I guess, and correct me if I am wrong, similar to a red Irish ale. 

On pour got a dark reddish colour, with a decent sized frothy head.  Looks good, and also had some good carbonation. 

On the smell I got malts, faint but nice, bit of a porter type smell. 

On the taste, got nice big mouthfuls, malty.

Was smooth enough with a creamy sweetish aftertaste. Bit light the hops.

Very smooth, lovely taste, like it, a relaxing and very pleasant drink. 

So overall, another decent beer from the Müller Bräu collective. 

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A nice chat with Funzo

A nice chat with Funzo

A nice chat with Funzo

A nice chat with Funzo

We recently had the great pleasure to sit down over a coffee and have the chat with Liam McDermott, more commonly known as “Funzo“.

Funzo is a Dublin musician and/or band, considering who Liam is performing with! What started out as a 5 piece group has become a one man outfit that churns out a pleasant mix of soul, hip hop, rap, old school pop and even the odd ska tune. And more recently he has turned his hand at producing some comedy style political songs, that are quite catchy it has to be said!

Funzo has performed all over Ireland since 2009, most notably at some of Ireland’s premiere music festivals; Oxegen, Electric Picnic, Hard Working Class Heroes and Castle Palooza, and has received airplay on US radio and on national radio stations in Ireland; RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ 2FM, Today FM, FM 104, Newstalk, Dublin City FM and Phantom FM. Live television performances include ‘Ireland AM’ at TV3 and TG4.

Funzo’s debut single, ‘This Christmas’, was released in December 2010 and entered the Official Irish Charts as the highest independent entry on two consecutive weeks. As well as being a national radio hit in Ireland, the single received vast airplay in the US, being featured on radio stations in 25 different states. Funzo is also popular on Youtube/Facebook with his videos amassing well over 1 million hits and counting. 

His videos are excellent, and his songs are all heartfelt, well worth checking out. 

“First off, I have to ask you about the name Funzo, where did that come from?

Oh the name…well do you know where it comes from?

“from the Simpsons, I think”

yeah its from the Simpsons, when Lisa had to pick a name for a toy, and she just went with the name “Funzo”, as she couldn’t think of anything else, which was a bit like me! So I just went with Funzo!

I know you are always asked this but how would you describe your music, because it is quite eclectic, you have the hip hop, some soul, poppy tunes and……. and I even found some Ska in there 

It is a mix of all my favorite types of music. Mainly ska, sixties pop and soul, and hip-hop. I also hate doing the same style over and over again, I do like to mix it up

So where did it all start for you?

I was always into music and growing up in Leixlip I got a piano from my parents, so you know listening to 60’s and 70’s music like the Beatles or Stevie Wonder, I just practiced those kind of songs on the piano and just built up a real love of music and then started singing along to them. This then got me into writing my own music. I used to record everything I sang and played on the piano and then I started entering them into competitions, and this is what got me a taste for the whole music scene, you know bands, writing music, playing to people, recording studios. it was all great fun 

One thing is the videos are excellent, very well produced, I know Jonathan Lambert does a lot of them, but how much of it is your idea or the director?

Its mostly from Jonathan, who is an excellent director and knows what he is doing, but I do throw some ideas in as well.

As I said, some of the videos are class, really well produced……..Dublin Tune with yourself and Nugget, Collie and Lazy Bones, brilliant, that and the song on the Luas that I cant remember ha…..,

Thanks, actually that song on the Luas, “Me and Her”, even though it is short it was one of the most difficult to film.

We set up early got all the props ready, had the direction, the tripod, and were ready…. then the Luas inspectors wouldn’t let us do the filming. Was annoying, we did shoot it eventually but it was hard as security kept moving us along from station to station, it was a bit of cat and mouse thing, but we got there in the end. 

Jonathan said it actually was one of his most difficult shoots, ha ha. But he was excellent, he adds things you’d never think about, small things, like the balloons at the start, the red rose, the newspaper……it was great fun to make and work with him.

I know you initially from the Irish rap and hip hop scene, you kept propping up on many videos on YouTube…..Class Az, Collie, Big Siyo, Nu Centz n all the rest, how did you get into that scene….

Hip hop and Rap music is what I really love listening to when I can and with the band I wanted to use some rappers with my music and so that’s how I got to know the guys on the scene. 

I know you have been on TV, the radio, etc but why is the rap and hiphop scene not as popular as it should be, you know the national media always have The Coronas or Hozier or some other wank like that on the airwaves, but these lads dont get the recognition they deserve. 

There us a lot of luck involved, and hip hop and rap is still a bit of a niche in Ireland but

they are all popular on YouTube, so I guess that is some kind of recognition and if it happens it happens, but yeah it can be frustrating at times.

Presently you have moved into another direction, musically, into politically motivated songs, all taking the pee and with a good healthy dose of humour, where did that all come from?

I just thought it was something I could do, I was getting sick that people couldn’t express their opinions without getting called a bigot or racist or something, when they are clearly not.

Well I like musicals, they are catchy, so the first song we did I just thought that the Mary Poppins tune, which everyone knows, that that tune would work well with a video, its not original but I put my own slant on the scene, and it is working out well as the video is very popular online, getting a load of views on YouTube.

You seem like a fairly positive happy go lucky person, do you ever get angry

No, I always try to keep everything positive, and my music and thoughts reflects that. 

Do you get a hard time for your views or your videos? 

No, never. 

Must people take it as humour , they dont take it too seriously

No one really gets angry, and the songs are always humorous so there is no need to get angry.

Sometimes there are a few things on Facebook but that I can handle.

But there was this one girl who got very personal with me and Leanne, she got very vicious and abusive, and brought up some really bad personal things that was uncalled for. 

But overall no never.

so are you in a crossroads now with the alt right thing and……..

ha you know alt-right is……

well I know that’s a catchall term, ha, sorry…..

It does come from somewhere specific and it is associated with white nationalism which I have no association with but now people throw alt right at anything, like Amy Schumer’s (American “comedian”)  Netflix specials, she was disappointed with the reviews and she said that the alt-right gave me bad one star reviews……alt-right just comes into her head……everyone’s alt-right, we did a song about that as well! So if you dont like someone just call them alt right!

The problem is they do it so much with fascists, Nazi, bigot, Islamophobe, whatever phobe….they throw it out so much that they water down any actual issue that’s going on because there are people who think Hitler was cool and have swastika tattoos…. I mean call them a neo-Nazi and maybe challenge them or tackle their ideas or expose them or whatever you want to do but if you just call everyone a Nazi…..every politician you dont like, everyone who likes that politician that you dont like, a Nazi, then those Nazis are actually getting away with their actual dangerous ideology. 

So what kind of feedback have you been getting from the rest of the music scene, cause it is kind of unusual….

It is very unusual, ha. But you see like at every turn I am doing something that I haven’t done before but this wasn’t I need to do something different it was more of like …there is comedy here, this is a gold mine and the “phobia song” got such a good response. I have never seen shares like that, thousands and thousands of shares.

https://youtu.be/9FWAdwcS-WU

Well its a very catchy song!

It is, and I think people get that things are a bit mad with speech now, but yes I think the reaction has been deadly, but as I have said a few Irish people have gone on to me, you know I even got a message off a girl saying …I have seen you have clicked like on this particular speaker or You-tuber, can I ask why?…..em I enjoy their content, you know, how are you, you know I haven’t talked to you in 5 years!?….but its this kind of prying and this isn’t what everyone else does so why are you stepping outside the line? But I have been happy with it. 

So can I expect you to be on the Alex Jones channel anytime soon, or the Ben Shapiro show?

I’d be honoured! I think the guy is funny, he is a bit off at somethings, but…. 

Yeah that would be cool. I dont know if you know but I recently did a song on Ben Shaipiro and the Berkeley protest.

But with these lads you dont have to idolize them or think their perfect but you have to let them speak.

Yeah you kind of get something from everyone and you make up your own opinion.

Exactly. well that used to be the way it was!

How are your podcasts going, I was listening to them for a while but its hard to keep up with them?

Yeah we put out 7 or 8 but we were kind of unsettled again with the move to Santry, me and Leanne, but she said she wouldn’t mind doing them again

Great, I enjoyed them, always thought they were good fun, throwing minds together and having the chat, isn’t it?

Exactly!

I am a bit of a punk fan so I wonder when is the punk album?

Punk, ha, I am not so sure about that. Anyway there are no real punks left anymore, not true to themselves.

I guess you are right there. Ok Funzo thanks for the friendly chat, really appreciate it. 

No problem, just one thing, dont call me alt right! Ha!

Was nice to have a talk with Funzo, I appreciate that he was tired after a hard days work to come and have the chat with me. It is refreshing to see someone try something different on the Irish music scene, and not be afraid to express their opinions, or at least take the mick. And he is bloody good at what he does, which is always good! Anyway, if you cant take a joke then fuck it basically, surely that’s the best philosophy to life. 

I did a short and brief review of Funzo’s 4 albums. I am not a great music reviewer, maybe not even a good beer reviewer, but I gave it a try. Also a little difficult as Funzo has his fingers in oh so many pies….jazz, hip hop, rap, soul, pop, ska,……..

All 4 of Funzo’s albums are available to listen on Spotify, or download on iTunes, so go for it! 

Discography

Class A’z And Funzo: Twenty 13 – 2013

A nice chat with Funzo

Teaming up with the great Class A’z (Terawrizt, Redzer, and sometimes Nucentz, Rawsoul, Siyo, and Rob Kelly), top dogs in the Irish hip hop and rap scene, Funzo provides the harmonies and rhymes to the collective. 

Straight in to the beats with “Take Forever”, a great build up to the album, Funzo with his singing, and Terawrizt and Redzer giving it welly, full of soul, good start. The next two songs, “Never let it go” and “No Matter” (with Rob Kelly) follow the same theme, good old skool rap, Irish style. 

“Gimme the Mic” is a change, a throwback to 70’s style funk and disco. Love this song, really catchy tune. With the rap, it works well, very good. A song to play before you hit the town, class.

Robyn Kavanagh guests in the song, “Survive”. Amazing vocals from Robyn, the boys chipping in with the raps, this album is moving along nicely. 

“Silly Games”, another change, this time in pace, fast tempo rap and harmonies. Love this song, you can feel that the raps are heartfelt. “In it to the death”, you know that this is not a game that the music is something important. This songs shows that. 

After that we get a couple of chilled out efforts “No One Knows” and “If Loving you is Wrong”, and we finish the album with what I consider the best song of the lot, “Here I am”. The final song is where the hip hop scene is at at the moment in Ireland. 

“They only want to play the Coronas now, But the radio wont play us so we wont be found, but I dont have time to mope around. See if the radio would play us then we’d run this town, but the radio wont play us so we’re underground. People pat you on the back at your album launch but they really only want to hear Rihanna songs”

It is a frustration I share, this grouping of artists should be way bigger than they are. I think perhaps its cause they are too opinionated (not a bad thing by the way) for the safe confines of radio and TV. The internet suits them better, fuck RTE and the rest. 

 

The Great Lonesome – 2014

A nice chat with Funzo

This is Funzo’s first real tryout under his own steam, and what a treat it is.

From the start we get “Beginning of the End”, a short intro, but sets the mood that this is going to be one heck of a fun album. And it is. A lot of high tempo upbeat songs, with some references to 60’s pop and 50’s style dance hall numbers, a bit of soul and pop thrown in for good measure, all jazzed up for the modern audience.  At least that’s what I got!! 

The rapper Leiko makes a great guest appearance in “Take Sometime”, a great song with an even better video of Dublin. Check it out. The song finishes with the Discovery Gospel Choir rounding off the song. Beautiful.  “Never be like them“, is another hip hop style number where Funzo is telling it as it is, keeping it real!

“The Window Song” reminded me of the Kaiser Chiefs, a rockier tune, and again a positive happy go lucky tune. 

This is the album where we get the infamous “Me and Her” tune, AKA the Luas song, sounds like a musical. Fun song about unrequited love.

In the song “Pop Secret”, I feel that Funzo is channeling his inner Paul McCartney. A really good pop song with a killer line

“I listen to a little bit of rock and a little bit of roll and a little bit of pop and a little bit of soul….I’m just a song writer…” 

A song that is so fun to listen to and stays in your head a good while after. Perfectly encapsulates Funzo’s style I think, a little bit of pop, a little bit of rock and a little bit of soul! Love it.

“Just a thought”, another love song with an equally great video.  Unlike “Me and Her”, Funzo is getting the girl in this song.  I also hear the Paul Macca influence here. Lovely easy listening song.

Quite a few love songs on the album. “We didnt waste it” on the piano, “Listen here” back with that gospel choir, “Never Win” and “Now I know” where Funzo lets his heart out, and “Amour Fou”. Yeah the album is a bit heavy loaded with love songs, but its an album well worth getting. Enjoyable and fun to listen to. I liked it a lot. 

 

Artificial High – 2015A nice chat with Funzo

An album made with producer Alan Newman. A very upbeat album, a lot of funk and some disco, a bit of soul, the expected rap numbers, and some melodies. That’s Funzo, a mixed bag of treats taking you in all musical directions.

“Like the beat” has sounds really like a Jackson Five number pumped up for today, very funky. 

“Dreamer Girl” is a quirky enough love song. Don’t know who the girl is, but its a song that really grows on you.  “1963”, sounded a lot like a Gorillaz number, that kind of style, think they call that trip hop!

Overall a good album that is a good at showcasing the varying musical styles of Mr Funzo.

Beggars & Choosers-2016A nice chat with Funzo

Funzo’s latest album is a little bit different to his last two. Much more rockier and with a lot more rap and hip hop this time.

“Look Around” a mish mash of sounds, again getting the Paul McCartney influence, a Wings type of song.  

Guest appearances this time from Reuben James on the jazzy number “She Loves me not”, Leanne in “Happy Face”, a happy song but anything but happy, Raptor B and Row B rapping it out in “Should all Know me by Now”. Great to hear NuCentz on the album, with Leiko again, on the song “Way Back”. Leanne makes two more appearances, “You really had me” a nice hip hop song, and “Pyjama Night” with Row B. Its good to hear other artists guesting on Funzo’s album, makes a change as it is usually the other way round! 

Its not all rap though, the song “Walk alone together” is a nice melancholic interlude in the album. Perfectly coming in the middle of the album. 

But the standout song for me is “Some People”, a ska/reggae style song that I just love. I think it just might be my overall favourite Funzo song of them all. Gets the rhymes and beats just perfect. BRILLIANT. Love it. 

An upbeat album, bit more modern styles here. Looking forward to the next album Funzo!

Check out Funzo!

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Bohemians, football away days

Bohemians, football away days

So off on another League of Ireland ground-hop, into Dublin this time to see Bohemians in Phibsboro, and make it 7 out of the 20 completed, to tick off on the LOI list! 

Phibsborough, or Phibsboro, is a mixed commercial and residential neighbourhood in North Dublin hugging the The Royal Canal. A typical red-brick terrace area, with the odd Victorian style looking pub and the always busy Doyle’s Corner thoroughfare.

Bohemians, football away daysA good key land mark is St Peter’s Church, a nice church that dates back to 1862, the National Botanic Gardens are situated in nearby Glasnevin, and the vast Phoenix park with Dublin zoo not far off too. And if you fancy some Gaelic sports, then Croke Park is also within walking distance.

The area is a nice mix of locals, people working in the city, and students who attend the DIT or are training in the Mater Hospital. As a result the area is well built up, has all the amenities you would expect from a smallish town, and is served by a good supply of decent pubs. 

Notable residents include actor Michael Gambon, of Harry Potter fame or Shakespearean thespian, depends on your age I guess, Éamon de Valera, former Taoiseach and President of Ireland and also James Joyce spent a while here in his early formative years.

Easily reachable by a whole swathe of Dublin Buses, the area will also soon be linked to the city centre via the Luas Cross City Line network, of course one could walk from O Connell Street which could take you about 30 minutes or less.

 

Pub watch (and Cafe’s!)

Seventy Four Talbot bar

Address: 74 Talbot St, Dublin 1

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Bohemians, football away daysBohemians, football away daysFirst bar of the day, just off the train and thirsty, hopped in to Seventy Four Talbot Bar, on ……surprise surprise….Talbot Street. Up until very recently this used to be Mother Kellys bar, a decent bar that was always quite popular and always busy, so I was interested to see what the new guys had done. They have done a good refurbishment, and it looks the part alright, but I wonder does it have any character as now it looks like an identikit Dublin bar with all the wooden floors and polished furniture. As it was still early there weren’t many customers, ordered a Smithwicks, which went down well, then quickly left as I went off to get my hair cut, as I so often do when I’m home (its really expensive to do in Switzerland!) 

Pint was decent, staff friendly, place looks smart, clean and good. Will return when busier to get a better feel for the new place, but looks promising. 

 

The Confession Box 

Address: 88 Marlborough Street, Dublin, 

http://c11407968.wixsite.com/ryan

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Bohemians, football away daysNext up was the Confession Box, a pub that the brother recommended, and is considered one of the best pubs in the Northside.  A lovely looking frontage, while inside it had a pretty decent early afternoon crowd in, a bit packed in a smallish intimate bar, I guess that’s why they call it the confession box, that and also cause its not too far from St. Mary’s Pro- Cathedral! Horse racing on, boisterous enough crowd, pints a flowing, doing some good trade. 

Bohemians, football away daysApparently it was Irish revolutionary, Micheal Collins, favourite watering hole. And this also ties in with the name, as many of Collins men during the War of Independence would receive confession here from the priests of “The Pro”, after some of their heroic deeds in the fight for independence, but I do wonder was Collins much of a drinker. I am a drinker and so ordered a Smithwicks, but I probably should have ordered a Guinness as I read later they do one of the best pints in Dublin, but truth be told I wasn’t in the mood for the black stuff on the day. 

Established in 1795, as it says on one of its doors, it is an old pub with a variety of different names and owners since then. The bar is quite tiny, and we were lucky we got seats, but there is an upstairs as well. 

Bohemians, football away daysThere is a great deal of memorabilia and old photos adorning the walls of the pub featuring a lot from the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence, and Dublin in the rare old times, amongst other stuff. They do sell T Shirts and key rings, which to be honest is a little naff and don’t look worth getting, I mean its an ordinary pub at the end of the day, not Disneyland!

I liked this bar, was small and comfy. The pub had a nice mix of locals and tourists, and I am sure if we had stayed longer we would have got into conversation with some of its clientele. The service was fine, and the pint good. Will be back for sure and hopefully next time will try to catch some of the live music that they are renowned for putting on, all for my sins!

Fusciardi’s Cafe 

Address: 27 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1

Bohemians, football away daysBohemians, football away daysWas pretty hungry at this stage as we had skipped breakfast so we decided to have some fish n chips in Fusciardi’s Cafe just up the road from the Confession Box. 

An Italian chipper where you can sit down, they serve food fast and the place is well known for serving great food, especially the fish n chips, for over 80 years now to Dubs and people hoping to get a quick bite as they head up to catch their bus/train home to the country! It has a very relaxed setting and people eat away minding to their own business.

Was busy enough, service friendly, the fish n chips were fine as expected, got well fed, stomach lined and ready for more beer. Like most Irish people, we LOVE our little Italian chippers. Result.

 

The Metro Bar 

Address: 155 Parnell St, Dublin D1

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Bohemians, football away daysPopped in to the Metro for a pint, and it was a very fast pint, as I had to start making a move on to Dalymount. Nice interior, ordered a Tennent’s Lager which was fine. 

Is a sports bar so had a lot of sporting memorabilia dotted around the place.

Small midday crowd, good service, decent pint and that was that. 

 

Bang Bang Cafe

Address: 59A Leinster St North,
Phibsborough,Dublin 7

http://bangbang.ie/

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Bohemians, football away daysI was due to meet Daniel who is a Strategic Planner for Bohemians, and meet him at his place of work which was his Bang Bang Cafe and Delicatessen not too far off from Dalymount itself. 

After a few twists and turns we eventually found it tucked away at the end of a side street. We were surprised to see such a cafe hidden away from the main street in a quiet residential area.

Daniel set up the place with his sister in 2015, looking to open something new in an off street location where people could come and go, enjoy their coffee and food with chill out tunes and friendly vibes all in a relaxing environment. Also important was that any products on sale should be, if possible, local. 

Bohemians, football away daysBang Bang Cafe takes its name from a well known Dublin character. During the 1950’s and 60’s, Thomas Dudley, acted out the life of a cowboy on the streets of Dublin. “Bang Bang” he went at bus and tram passengers, playing with his gun, ie a big church key that he used to carry round with him. It was all fun and games as many used to actively participate in the high jinks and return fire and play dead on the city streets. What great craic it must have been to see a whole street turned into the Wild West all due to the imagination and humour of one eccentric, Bang Bang.

He was immortalised in The Dubliner’s song The Mero which included the line “Bang Bang shoots the buses with his golden key”.

Despite given so much joy to ordinary Dubs, Bang Bang himself had not the best start in life. Both parents died when he was young so he spent a lot of his early life in an orphanage. 

He passed away in 1981, aged 74, in a Home for the Blind run by the Rosminian Fathers in Drumcondra and was buried in an unmarked grave in the grounds of St Joseph’s Cemetery.

The fact he was buried in an unmarked grave troubled Daniel, so much so that he decided to set up a GoFundMe account to get a decent burial place for one of Dublin’s characters. With the help of the cafe, over a hundred ordinary Dubliners donated to the cause and raised enough money to erect a plaque at the grave of Bang Bang. On the 28th of August 2017, the plaque was unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mícheál Mac Donncha, on the site of Bang Bang’s unmarked grave. A fitting tribute to Thomas Dudley and hats off to the Bang Bang Cafe for the lovely gesture and for keeping the story alive.

Bohemians, football away days(on a side note: wonder do people remember the Diceman who entertained my generation on the streets of Dublin, wonder has he got a memorial?)

Was great to chat to Daniel about Bohs, and his cafe. Only had a coffee but can definitely say that the place was buzzing and I must say it had a better atmosphere going on than a lot of the bars I had visited that day, excellent.There are also many books on art, politics and football available to have a gander, and they also sell retro clothes and all sorts of nick nacks.

Will definitely like to check it out again, even if I am not a big coffee drinker, but I must try their Brunch Burgers as I have read that they are legendary, and I do like me burgers! 

 

Long Island Bar (Joxer Daly’s)

Address: 103 Dorset Street Upper, Dublin 1

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Bohemians, football away daysBohemians, football away daysVentured up to Dorset street to check out two pubs, Glynns and the Long Island Bar.

Not a bad crowd in, nice enough bar, settled down to try a new beer, ordered a Dublin Blue Lager from the Beer Factory, who ever they are. Bar man did a great job on the pint and it looked fantastic. Good news is it also tasted great, definitely a beer to check out again in the future. They should do a Mayo version just for the laugh!  

Good pub, good service, and nice pints. Simples. 

 

Glynns pub (The Wellington House)

Address: 100 Dorset Street, Dublin 1

http://glynnswellingtonhouse.com/

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Bohemians, football away daysAt the corner we went into Glynns and this time I went back to the old reliable, a pint of Smithwicks. This bar had a good friendly and relaxed atmosphere going on, also interesting to watch some Polish fellas play pool very badly, and the pints were great and served well.  

Lovely decor inside with a lot of famous pictures and photos of Irish musicians of the present and the past.  Another good pub to add to the long list of decent Dublin boozers. 

 

The Hut (Mohan’s)

Address: 159 Phibsborough Road, Dublin 7

http://www.thehutbar.ie/

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Bohemians, football away daysBohemians, football away daysWe decided to have one last pint in a new pub for us, just before we headed into the ground. Having already been in Doyles before, on the corner, which is a great pre match boozer, we decided to try somewhere new, so to The Hut with its inviting exterior. The Hut is a family owned traditional Victorian bar on Dublin’s North side.

Also decided to try for the first time the Hop House 13 Lager which wasn’t anything extraordinary from Guinness.

Apparently The Hut got its name from the hut-style dwellings the locals lived in when the bar opened its doors way back about 150 years ago. Not sure about that but what I do know is that it is a nice pub, with a lovely traditional interior, has good service and decent pints, all well and good…

 

The Members Bar/the Phoenix Bar 

Address: Bohemians F.C, Dalymount Park, Phibsborough,
Dublin 7

http://bohemianfc.com/?page_id=83

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Bohemians, football away daysThe beauty of Dalymount is that it has not one, not two, but three bars for supporters to wet their whistle, the Members’ Bar, the Phoenix Bar and the Jackie Jameson Bar. Not a lot of LOI clubs can even manage the one so thats a great venture for the club to offer fans on matchdays, top notch stuff there! 

Bohemians, away daysThe main bar – the Members’ Bar – is open every Friday and Saturday evening, as well as every Sunday from 12pm. It also open early on Bohs match-nights and for other televised sporting events.
The Phoenix Bar and Jackie Jameson Bar are open on match-nights and available to hire as function rooms.

Even though its called a Members bar it seems anyone can walk between it and the Phoenix bar with ease. Not much difference between the two, as they were both packed to the rafters with supporters having the beer and the craic. Good atmosphere brewing in both bars for the game.

Bohemians, football away daysDidn’t get into the Jackie Jameson bar but then I am not that important as it is mainly for VIP’s and Guests of Honour. 

Ordered the Bohemian craft beer, which was rank, disgusting. But then went for the Five Lamps Dublin Lager which was excellent, a nice find. The Five lamps was so good I will definitely be checking it on next time I am home. 

Tickets into the ground cost €15.00, and that includes the game, least you dont manage to actually leave the goddamn bar!!! 

 

Bohemians

Bohemians, football away days

Arena/Stadium: Dalymount Park

Location: Phibsborough,
Dublin 7

Capacity: 4,300

Manager: Keith Long

Founded: 1890

Leagues: League of Ireland Premier Division

Honours
• League of Ireland/Premier Division: 11 (Last 2009)
• FAI Cup: 7 (Last 2008)

Club home page 

lynn@bohemians.ie

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Nicknames: Bohs, The Gypsies, The People’s Club

Bohemian Football Club, the Bohs, is a professional football club from the Northside of Dublin. They were founded by a bunch of students, way back in 1890 at the Phoenix Park Gate Lodge beside the North Circular Road entrance. 

One of the founding members of the League of Ireland in 1921, Bohemians are the oldest League of Ireland club in continuous existence, and are also only one of two clubs (St Pats) that have never been relegated from the top flight.Bohemians, football away days

It didn’t take long for the club to win its first title, winning its first league title in 1924. And more early success followed as the club won four more titles and two FAI cups by the 1930’s. But that was in the good old days of amateur football, and so with the advent of professionalism and the club unable to sign players as an amateur club, they went 34 seasons without anything at all. They finally went professional in 1969, and broke their barren spell in 1975 winning their sixth title, and another one in 1978 with two FAI Cup wins thrown in for good measure. Another trophy-less spell came until the noughties when they won four league titles and two more FAI Cups, making Bohs the third most successful club in League of Ireland football history, having won the League of Ireland title 11 times and the FAI Cup 7 times.

European wise they have had not much success, but they did eliminate Aberdeen from the UEFA Cup in August 2000. In the next round they came up against Kaiserslautern of Germany and although they lost the tie, they did beat their more illustrious opponent away. Its not often that a LOI team can beat both a German and British team in one season. They also beat Rangers 3-2 at home in 1984 in the Uefa Cup, in a very bad tempered game both on and off the pitch.  Of course they also got a 4-0 away hammering from the mighty Total Network Solutions to lose the tie 4-1, which was pretty embarrassing at the time. A game I was at, and am still in shock about.  

Bohemians, football away daysBohemians played their first games in the Phoenix Park’s Polo Grounds, after that they played in numerous different locations, in Jones Road, Old Belvedere, Glasnevin, but it wasnt until 1901 that they decided on Dalymount Park, in the neighbourhood of Phibsborough, where they have stayed ever since. It has been said that this is how they got their name….Bohemians and the nickname of the “Gypsies”….with all the wandering around looking for a ground to call home. 

A lot of Irish international games were played there before the national team moved to Landsdowne Road in the early 1990’s. Many memorable Irish games were played out to a packed Dalymount, 45,000 people cheering on. A 3-0 thrashing of the Soviet Union in 1974 one famous night where “The Dalymount Roar” was in full effect. Pelé, Beckenbauer, Zidane, Van Basten, Charlton and Best, all the greats have lined out here in what many people call the “spiritual home of Irish football”

Bohemians, football away daysDodgy land deals done during the era of the Celtic Tiger put the club in debt and on the brink of collapse, with its members selling the ground not once but twice to developers but with nothing to show for it. But in March 2015 Dublin City Council announced that it would purchase Dalymount park for €3.8 million, thus wiping out the clubs debt.The Council plans to demolish and rebuild the old ground on a phased basis at a cost of €20 million, into a new modern ground with a total capacity of about 8000, and to groundshare it with local rivals Shelbourne. This all comes at a good time as the stadium, loved by the Irish footballing community and all, is in terrible disrepair at the moment, as on big match days only two of the stands are used, making a lot of the ground look bare. The Jodi Stand is the main stand in Dalymount, and this is where the Bohs singing section are located at the far left of the stand.

Their club colours are red and black, which they adopted at the 4th AGM in October 1893.

As Bohs’ fan base is mainly drawn from the northside of Dublin their supporters share a bitter rivalry with Southside club, Shamrock Rovers.

 

To the game

Bohemians, football away daysBohemians 3-2 St Pats   

22.09.2017  Dalymount

 2 ‘Ismahil Akinade (Bohs)
3’ Christy Fagan (Pats)
16’Daniel Corcoran (Bohs)
52 ‘Daniel Corcoran (Bohs)
65’ Conan Byrne (Pats)

Attendance: 2,543

Barely had time to settle in my seat when Bohs went one nil up,  In just the second minute,  Paddy Kavanagh down the left, passed across to Ismahil Akinade who headed home at the back post. A well worked goal and a great start to the game.

Bohemians, football away daysBut if you thought that was quick, then the equaliser was even quicker, Pats were right back in the contest, just one minute later when a long ball from Barker on the right was latched onto by Christy Fagan who with great effort slid the ball under the Bohs keeper to equalise. 

Fagan was getting a lot of luck down the right, in the first half especially, while at the other end Akinade was causing the Pats defence all sorts of problems what with his lanky frame and decent ball control for a tall fella! 

Bohemians, football away daysThe game turned on its head when in the 15 minute Gavin Peers got tangled up with Akinade’s big legs and gave away a penalty. Was it a penalty? I am not so sure but Dinny Corcoran  converted to give the home side a deserving 2-1 lead. And to makes matters worse for Pats, Peers was also sent off with a straight red card. A huge amount of excitement in a jam packed first twenty minutes, scintillating stuff.

Keith Ward was a lively wire too who went close on a number of occasions, a nice free just over from 25 yards out, and long rage effort that was oh so close but for a finger tip save from the Pats keeper. 

Not long into the second half, Dinny Corcoran scored again. This time he slotted home from a loose ball to give the Bohs a two goal lead. It was a pity I missed it as I was still making my way from the bar, damn it.

On the 65 minute Conan Byrne got himself some space on the right (where it was happening all the time for Pats), cut inside and scored a decent goal, to give pats some hope. 

Bohemians, football away daysPats had one more chance when Conan Byrne, that man again, had a great chance to get an equaliser when his stretching shot came off the crossbar, unlucky, but I don’t think Bohs deserved to lose this game.

Was impressed, very impressed, with Keith Ward who was pretty awesome in the central of midfield, creating opportunities any chance he had and also linking up well with the front two. he was also very unlucky not to score with some fantastic shots that were close. Along side him in midfield, Fuad Sule also caught the eye. A really small compact player who can pass well, and gets himself about the park, excellent. I really hope Bohs keep onto these two for next season, as with the front two of Dinny Corcoran and Ismahil Akinade they have the making of a serious team. I guess that’s what Keith Long is doing. He is a manager I have rated in the past and I guess it is taking him time to get things to gel with Bohs. But he would really want to push on for next season, now that he is in his third and a bit season…..but I expect good things for next season……roll on 2018!

As for Pats, well they are a two person team, Conan Byrne and Christy Fagan, and that’s about it for them.

Interview

Short chat with Daniel Lambert, a Strategic Planner with Bohemian Football Club Limited (and also co-owner of the Bang Bang Cafe)

email: daniel@bohemians.ieBohemians, football away days

Daniel Lambert is my name and I look after a lot of the strategic planning for bohemian football club.

They call Bohemians, I see on the advertisement, the peoples club, can you explain that please?

Yeah, basically I suppose soccer has been, in recent years, football or soccer has been associated with owners, individuals, corporations and Bohs is the complete opposite of that. For 127 nearly 128 years we have been owned by a couple of hundred ordinary men and women, in Dublin, so it’s the peoples club in the true sense. Someone like Everton used the phrase when it actually doesn’t hold true, the club is literally owned by ordinary people, and its ran for their enjoyment and to be passed onto another group of people.

And what ways have the club reached out to the ordinary people?

Oh we do a whole litany of things, you may have seen earlier this week we were selected, 12 LOI clubs applied for youth funding in a project called More than a Club and that’s a reflection on how good clubs are integrating into the local community. Ourselves and cork were selected, yesterday is was announced
We do walk in football with mentally challenged people, walk in football with older people, we do a programme in Mountjoy prison to try and help people refrain from reoffending when they emerge from prison, there is actually a group, our club president, is over a prison in the Netherlands right now, tonight, a group of ex-prisoners in Mountjoy are playing with a group of bohs players over there
We do a whole range of things, we have a project for school completion and….

So what about yourself, how long have you been supporting Bohs….?

I was brought since I was a baby….so 30 years.

so you had no choice then

No, no choice at all!

Best season all those years?

For me actually the best season was probably last season! As a fan I suppose I was unusual in that I was on the board for a lot of the years, we had severe trouble and I actually realised in retrospect that the Fenlon years and the other years where we won a lot of trophies behind the scenes were the worst years the club had ever had. And id hand them all back if I could and not have almost destroyed the club.
I think that last year there really was a sense of togetherness, Dalymount was saved, we had a group of honest players on the pitch and we didn’t win anything but for me the feeling around the club is better than its ever been.

So was that serious then, really?

Absolutely. The club blew a serious amount of money in a very short space of time for trophies that really don’t mean anything if you talk about preserving your club that was passed down, that was put in severe jeopardy for trophies over a very short space of time.

then I guess the general consensus is that Keith Long is doing a good job?

Amazing job, yeah, in fairness, Keith’s done a great job and I suppose for Keith he has come to Bohs at a time everyone is fully aware of the situation and what we are trying to do and he has been giving an awful lot of leeway that perhaps other managers weren’t in the past and that’s a good thing. People are realistic about where we are, what our budget is and they know we are not going to win the league, and when you put a group of players on the pitch like Keith has who just have effort and honesty about them, it’s hard not to applaud them
(so this season so far, your more or less mid table, your safe aren’t you?)
Yes, I think we are more or less safe. It would be nice to win tonight, you know Pats were one of the clubs that wanted to go for the ten team league, so id love to see pats go down, and we weren’t in favour of it obviously, yeah so I hope we win tonight and I think we will finish mid table.

your cult hero of the club, all those years?

Tony O’Connell

 
for what reason then?

Well he built the Jodi stand, he is the honorary life president, played for the club, and he stuck around. Tony will be here tonight, and Tony, in those years we were stuck for money, the first person up to write a check or to try to get people together was Tony. And that’s a man in his late seventies. So fair play to him.

so tonight’s game then, st pats, shud be a good game, their real pressing teams

Id say both teams to score

a draw maybe

I think so, one all, or two all either way, pats usually come to Dalymount looking to not concede first so they can’t do that tonight, and our home form has been atrocious, so I think both teams will score and then 2-1, two all or one all.

any players to look out for tonight that maybe general fans wouldn’t know about, under the radar

For us, Fuad, I mean Fuad will be going to England by the looks of things, he is a phenomenon player, he came from Pats under 19’s

definitely then going to score tonight so!

I think he is our best player

its worth a fiver

And of course, wardy after the hat trick up in Drogheda.

and the atmosphere tonight, what should we expect?

The atmosphere will be good. Dalymount is difficult in that , you know we are fully aware that the ground has two sides realistically, so you are creating noise on two sides which isn’t ideal, but Bohs n Pats its one of the better atmospheres, I think you will be pleasantly surprised, obviously us and rovers isn’t comparable to any other game we play, so this ranks up there with one of the better atmospheres

is it difficult to get punters in all the time?

Not anymore no, we turned a huge corner, that the perception of bohs, and its something we have worked on very hard, the perception of bohs has changed massively, when you go in there tonight, you will see there will be quite a lot of tourists, quite a lot of girls, and the kind of demographic at bohs games has shifted quite a lot in the last few years. we haven’t lost anyone, we have just added on a new group of people.

I see you are linking up with other teams as well, you have FC United…

Fc United, we have good links with st pauli in hamburg

really, wow

yeah its something we have really tried to press home

will there be a sparkling of German and……

yeah you will see it here, there will be german, French, Spanish, they will be drinking the bohs craft ale, there will be hipsters everywhere

you have three bars

So The one in the middle is the members bar, generally older demographic in there, mainly bohs members, the bar on the far left is the phoenix walking in that’s generally our singing section, there is a jukebox in there, lots of pictures of past gigs in Dalymount, the one on the far right isn’t open to the public that’s our sponsors bar, it opens up after the game.

will I see Johnny Logan tonight?

You might!

brush shiels?

You will see brush shiels,
You will see, who else will be here….
James Kavanagh is coming tonight, im picking james up in the jeep, you know james kavanagh, the snap chat celebrity

No, sorry

John Kavanaghs brother, McGregor’s coach. So james is coming to tonight and he is snapchatting the whole night

im just after realising the name of the bar (café)…..bang bang , you were in the news recently…

Yeah we got a gravestone made for bang bang, on rte news

bang bang?

Used to shoot a key around Dublin

it was only recently, what 2 or 3 weeks

2 weeks ago
I know you cant see this now obviously as we are speaking, but the idea behind this and its something we have tried to say to other clubs, happening more and more is with this picture obviously its red and black but beside that its everything you wouldn’t expect to see on a football poster, no crest, no footballer, and there is a woman in it and that’s done on purpose as very often the FAI try to market the league and they miss the point, they put up a player in a jersey and a kit, that only appeals to existing fans….
But you see this, first of all you are thinking what’s it about……..but it kind of draws you in….

Bohemians, football away daysquestions, questions

Yeah and that’s something we have tried to bring across all our engagements with the public…

so what about shamrock rovers then? Ha ha 

In what way

you get excited when they come this side of the city

yeah both of us do, like…..there are some good things going on about shamrock rovers, I think they miss the point in that we try to celebrate the fact that what they did in terms of a club is getting themselves a ground and coming out from that period of absolute madness that they were in, should be commended as a club. Id have nothing against them as a football club
When we play them I want to beat them, do I like them…..no I don’t.
But I do think for us, been able to stay in Dalymount is massive.
Tallaght is a nice stadium, but there is no soul to it, it’s a sterile place, its on the periphery of the city

(its very windy, jesus right up the middle

I don’t like it. I met a guy here recently and he was a Spanish fella and he had come over, and he came to see us and rover in Dalymount, and he arrived on the Thursday and he got a Dublin bike and cycled out to Tallaght stadium to see it, and he said “I had left the city”

so what’s this place you have going on here the, it seems like a pretty cool place

It… what do we do,,,, we do food, records and clothes and coffee and

are you long open here?

Nearly two years

yeah, seems pretty busy, buzzing in there

A lot of it is football stuff. Me and my sister did it, her rule at the start was no politics, no football, so ….its full of bohs stuff…. And I climbed on top of that building last week and put a Palestinian flag on top last week

Bohemians, football away days
So that’s pretty much it, thanks very much …..and a prediction for tonight 

Id go 2-1 bohs

And who is going to score the last goal

Dinny, to score

Dinny Corcoran, thanks very much

 

Overall

Overall, enjoyed my visit to Dalymount, as I always do. Its a smashing old style ground that can create a special kind of atmosphere in the Dublin air. 

Was great to meet Daniel and get the low down on the club. He was right about Fuad, he is some player alright.

Enjoyed the bars in and around Phibsboro, was good to find some new decent boozers and some new beers to try out next time i am back in Dublin…..Five Lamps n Dublin Blue….

Dublin still the place for the craic….good pubs, great beers, football and the Liffey!!

Anyway, here is my day out in video form

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1906 Reserva Especial

1906 Reserva Especial

1906 Reserva Especial

https://cerveza1906.es/cerveza-1906-reserva-especial/

Brewed by Hijos De Rivera, S.A. 
Style: Amber Lager
LA Coruña, Galicia, Spain

1906 Reserva EspecialMy second beer from the Hijos De Rivera brewery, having tried their Estrella Galicia pale lager a while back and which I generally liked. That was a good session beer so I had highish hopes for this brew from their collection. 

In the year of 1906 a Mr. José María Rivera Corral, who had just returned from his trip to Mexico and full of enthusiasm and bright ideas, decided to start his own brewery in the city of La Coruña, in the North West of Spain and called it the “La Estrella de Galicia” factory whose main products would be beers and soft drinks.The Rivera brewery is still owned and operated by the same family, by his great grandson and namesake. 

In the 90’s the company diversified and expanded into new markets such as for mineral water, juices, ciders and vinegars. But the main brand of the brewery is Estrella Galicia, a 5.5% abv pale lager brewed since the beginning of the brewery, and a brand that is found all over Spain and also exported to the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Brazil, Mexico and the United States, amongst others.

Review: 33cl Bottle of 1906 Reserva Especial: ABV: 6.5% vol 

1906 Reserva EspecialThe beer has won a stack of international awards….at the Monde Selection and the World Beer Challenge amongst the many. 

The bottle caught my eye…..the design of the label was quirky enough, looked more like a bottle of wine with its age printed……1906…..looked intriguing, so I snapped it up. The 1906 refers, of course, to the date the brewery was founded. 

A pretty good looking beer in appearance, with a lovely decent sized frothy white head and a nice golden colour.

Very good lacing with a head that maintains throughout. 

Good carbonation.

Lovely smell, very beery, very malty, very good smell…… 

1906 Reserva EspecialSmell is very strong on nose, grains, malty. Yeah liked the aroma.

Taste is very sweet initially, front taste is hoppy and too sweet, not a great start.

Horrible! Typical, always the way….good smell n good looking but always a shitty beer, why is that?

On taste got a creamy mouthful.

Very hoppy. Not great, not smooth.

Ok, there are some tastes, mainly malt and sweet grains, but overall it is tough to drink. Not nice at all, what a pity. 

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Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA

Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA

Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA

firestonewalker.com

Brewed by Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Duvel-Moortgat)
Style: American IPA
Paso Robles, California USA

Firestone Walker Union Jack IPAComing out of Paso Robles, Central Coast, in California, is the Firestone Walker Brewing Company.

Founded in 1996, by Adam Firestone, it is California’s fourth-largest craft brewery and is known for producing hoppy ales. The company has seen substantial growth since and remains a favourite brewery amongst the craft beer aficionados, with their Union Jack IPA particularly popular. 

The brewery is run by two brothers-in-law, Adam Firestone (aka The Bear) and David Walker, (aka The Lion). English expatriate David Walker brought a British outlook to the operation, an old world view in the Californian sunshine, and a reason why the beer is called Union Jack in homage to these origins.

Firestone Walker was World Beer Cup Champion Brewery for mid-sized breweries in 2004, 2006, 2010, and 2012,

In 2015, Firestone Walker sold the company to Belgium beer kings, Duvel Moortgat Brewery, well known for their iconic Duvel beer. 

Review: 355ml Bottle of Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA: ABV: 7.5% vol 

Firestone Walker Union Jack IPAA popular beer that has won many awards and several honours since 2008. 

Do like the design of the logo and bottle. Simple but stands out. 

On pour got a nice big frothy white head, and a lovely clear golden orange beer appeared. Is a nice looking beer for sure, lovely looking colour. 

Light carbonation.

On nose got a pleasant fruity aroma, was really lovely to smell. Got citrus and grapefruit.

Firestone Walker Union Jack IPAOn the taste side of things, I found it way too hoppy. Now I know this beer is an IPA and popular with the beer geeks, but fuck me I found it very difficult to drink tbh. 

Was tasty, did get to savour a bit of it and did get some tasty sweet malts, but those hops, were way too aggressive and bitter for me, yuck!

Also got too much of the citrus flavours, not a nice taste, a bit sour.   

Was a strong beer though, did feel the alcohol later!

Disappointing considering all the hype. Maybe if I grew a big fuck off beard it might taste better?

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Thun, Swiss football away days

Thun, Swiss football away days 4.

My next Swiss football trip brought me to the small town of Thun in the canton of Bern. The German speaking city of just over 40,000 inhabitants is situated where the Aare flows out of Lake Thun (Thunersee), 30 kilometres (19 miles) south of Bern.

Be careful and dont get too rowdy at night as this is a garrison town, the largest in the country. That, the armaments industry, tourism, and the food industry are what makes this town. 

Thun, Swiss football away daysIt has had people living on the shores of the lake going back millennia since the Neolithic age but like a lot of towns and cities, it wasn’t until the Romans arrived that things started to progress quickly. The Celts had called the town “Dunum”, meaning “fortified town”, and in 58 BC it fell to the Romans who at that time had conquered most of what we know today as Switzerland, soon making Thun one of the main centres of Roman administration in the region.

Next it was the Romans turn to get booted out. This time by the Burgundians. The who? They were a large East Germanic or Vandal tribe, or group of tribes, who lived in central/east Europe. The Romans viewed them as barbarians and (I am guessing here!) vandals. Vandals or not, they got rid of the Romans from not only Thun but also the whole of Switzerland around 400 AD.

In the 12th Century, the Burgundy Duke, Bertold V of Zähringen, built Thun castle and expanded the town. The castle, in the centre of the town, overlooks the whole town and is a major draw for tourists to the area. 

Thun, Swiss football away daysBut it is not only Thun Castle, with its museum, that’s an attraction, the area is surrounded by stunning views of the Bernese Alps, which include the Eiger and Jungfrau peaks, and also Lake Thun, which is popular for cruises. The town itself has kept some of its old medieval architecture and the old town has a rather unusual style, where the buildings balcony all have lovely greenery and flowers overhanging and you dont know whether to look at street level or above. Behind the old town is the Aare River which boasts numerous restaurants, cafés, and bars.

Getting the train to Thun is no problem as it has a direct line from both Basel and Bern, and Zurich (via Bern)

 

Thun Castle/Schloss Thun

Thun, Swiss football away daysOpening hours:

April through to October: daily 10 am – 5 pm 

 November to January: every Sunday from 1 pm – 4 pm 
(open daily over Christmas and end of the year festivities)

 February and March: daily 1 pm – 4 pm 

Address: Thun Castle, Schlossberg 1, 3600 Thun

Website

info@schlossthun.ch

Thun Castle (German: Schloss Thun) with its four towers, built in the 12th century, today houses the Thun Castle museum, and is a Swiss heritage site of national significance.

Thun, Swiss football away daysThe medieval castle was built as an administrative castle and so was the seat of the local court and since at least the 17th century there was a prison on the castle grounds. As early as 1888, the museum opened in the castle and for a brief time the jailer was also the ticket seller and guard for the museum!

The castle’s five floors contains the Knights’ Hall, one of the few surviving halls of its type from the Middle Ages, and cultural and historic displays showing the development of the region over some 4,000 years. 

The corner towers of Thun Castle provide a breathtaking view over the city of Thun, Lake Thun and of the far off mountains.

If that all gets a bit too much for you, then you can relax in the onsite restaurant or perhaps stay the night at the adjacent hotel!

Loved the castle, it is very well preserved, and it was good to climb up to the top and get a great view of the city and its surroundings. You really get a killer view from up at the top, out from the turrets. Also it has a lot of very informative displays, interesting coats of armours to look at, and if you have kids with you they would love it as they can dress up as knights and ladies and play with small wooden swords and reenact the life of the middle ages. It was excellent value for CHF10, and a good start to the day. 

 

Pub watch 

 

Bistro-Bar Ratsstübli

Thun, Swiss football away days

                                             Address: Rathausplatz 6 , Thun 3600

 

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Thun, Swiss football away daysFirst pub of the day, in the centre of the towns square, the Bistro bar. Nice frontage, in keeping with the traditional style of the city. As it was morning, few customers, ordered a beer I tried before and enjoyed in Thun, a Valaisanne Biere de Cave which was a Zwickel beer (typically a cloudy beer), but which I didn’t particularly like this time. Service was friendly and the bar looked decent inside. Was nice to rest my legs after going up and down the castle in the morning. Decent place.

 

McArthurs Pub Thun

Thun, Swiss football away daysAddress: Marktgasse 12, Thun 3600

http://thun.mcarthurspub.ch/

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Next up was the Irish/Celtic style pub, McArthurs, situated in the Old Town of the city. Decent frontage and what you expect from a traditional Irish style pub, and also had a very good selection of Irish beers and ciders, Guinness, Smithwicks, Kilkenny and Bulmers on tap, which was excellent to see. But I went for another Valaisanne Biere de Cave, cause I really liked it in Thun and this time it was fine. Perhaps it was a different beer I had in the Bistro bar?

Thun, Swiss football away daysBarman was very friendly and chatty and since I was enjoying myself, I decided to order some food. Did notice on the menu that they did a British Breakfast Buffet, so it isn’t an Irish or Celtic bar then, bit annoying that, but I guess the locals wouldn’t twig that! Ordered the veggie burger with chips.  Food looked good and tasted fantastic, was well done and I really loved the carrots in the burger, was a new taste for me but it was bloody good. Hats off to the chef on that. 

Liked this bar, good service, friendly, nice decor and great food…….and the pint was decent too! I will even forgive it for been a plastic Oirish pub!!!

 

El Camino 

Thun, Swiss football away daysAddress: Obere Hauptgasse 32, 3600 Thun

https://www.elcamino.ch/

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Dropped in for a quick beer. Place was nice and cool, and empty inside, as most were sitting outside. I decided to relax inside and catch my bearings. Ordered a Feldschlössen Hopfenperle, which I had enjoyed before in a can,  which was lovely and cold straight from the tap, which tasted just fine on the hot day that it was, top job bar lady! 

Fancy enough bar, nice interior, had some decent beers on tap, good for my quick refreshment break. Nice.

 

Café Zentral Bar

Thun, Swiss football away daysAddress: Obere Hauptgasse 42
3600 Thun

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Thun, Swiss football away daysLast bar before I decided to head to the game, was Cafe Zentral Bar, with its perfect location on the banks of the river with excellent views. Was more like a local bar as it had a lot of, shall we say, older clientele. Bar lady was very friendly and I ordered an Eichof BrauGold. Relaxed and enjoyed my lovely beer as tourists and visitors walked by in the midday sun. Great for people watching! 

Good beer, friendly service, in a very relaxed setting. If I was any more relaxed I’d be comatose. 

 

FC Thun

Thun, Swiss football away days

Arena/Stadium: Stockhorn Arena, Thun

Location: Weststrasse 12, 3604 Thun

Capacity: 10,000

Manager: Mauro Lustrinelli

Founded: 1898

League: Swiss Super League

Club home page 

info@fcwohlen.ch

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Thun, Swiss football away daysOn the first of May, 1898, FC Thun was founded by a small group of football fans in the “Zum Sternen” restaurant on the corner Schwäbisstrasse / Marktgasse.

The club currently play in the Swiss Super League, the top division. Their home ground is the Stockhorn Arena which has a maximium capacity of 10,000. The club’s colours are red and white, representing the city’s coat of arms.  

It has played in the Swiss second division for most of its history but from 2002–2008 it played in the top division, later to be relegated, but they quickly bounced back and in the 2009–10 they won promotion back again to where they have remained ever since, the Swiss Super League.

Thun have never won a Swiss football championship, but they have featured in European club football on a few occasions. 

Perhaps the greatest moment in the clubs history was in the 2005/2006 season as FC Thun qualified for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, a stage they reached after Thun, Swiss football away daysknocking out Dynamo Kiev and Malmo in the two previous rounds. They were drawn in Group B alongside Arsenal, Ajax and Sparta Prague. Despite losing to both Arsenal and Ajax home and away, by beating Prague at home, Thun managed to extend their European adventure by qualifying for the Europa league as a third place finisher in the group.  Unfortunately the run ended when they were narrowly beaten 2-1 on aggregate to Hamburg. But as European debuts go, it was not bad, 12 games, with 5 wins and a few narrow loses against some pretty tough opposition. They have had three other seasons of European football, always getting by a few rounds and knocking out a relatively big name…..Palermo, Partizan Belgrade….. 

One good thing to see is that Thun’s squad is, bar 3 players, made up of mostly Swiss players, which is a bit unusual in the modern game. If you look at a lot of the other Swiss squads, you get an assortment of international players in squad lists. perhaps the club does a lot with underage development, or maybe they are tight with their money?

 

To the game

FC Thun 0 – 1 FC Sion

23.07.2017  • Stockhorn Arena, Thun

Attendance: 5617

Thun, Swiss football away days

The goal came on the 28th minute, against the run of play I must add. A quick break from midfield resulted in Kévin Constant playing a lovely swerving forward pass that beat two defenders and was placed perfectly for the Senegalese striker Moussa Konaté to rifle home. Except he didn’t as the last defender put in a great block, only for Konaté to get the rebound to make it one nil to Sion. Unlucky. 

Thun, Swiss football away daysMoussa Konaté had a golden opportunity to put the game to bed for Sion in the second half, when he had the time to place it, but put it just wide of the post from outside the box. Should have at least got it on target.

Thun’s Central midfielder Dennis Hediger was sent off for a rather soft challenge on Joaquim Adao, who went down like a tonne of bricks. Bit harsh me thinks from the referee there.

Thun huffed and puffed and had a good few half chances and also hit the post late on, but that was that.

Have to say, despite losing, I was impressed with Thun as they are a team set up to attack and play half decent football (unlike Sion, from what I saw), and I can see what the manager is trying to do. Just hope they give him time as I am sure Thun will turn out to be a good team in the near future. Watch this space! 

Goal of the game here

 

Overall

Thun, Swiss football away daysThun was a lovely town to visit, a lot of history and I liked the set up of the traditional street with its balconies full of flowers and beautiful shrubs. Also the walk along Lake Thun was nice and the river that goes through the town, albeit it was packed with tourists and day visitors along the river banks. It was also very interesting to see people surfing along the river, something I didn’t expect to see near the centre of Thun!!

Of course the castle is a must see, that goes without saying. And I would like to return to the city someday.

Thun, Swiss football away daysAs for FC Thun, found the ground a little soulless. Ok their ultras did give it a good go, but its one of those stadiums on the edge of town near no bars or pubs and that is such an effort to get to that its a pain in the hole. It was really tough to get to, the bus was direct but little info on where to get it from the bus station, so I ended up with the Sion fans on their bus to the ground. Also was a bit annoyed that a plastic bottle of water was taking off me as I entered the ground. FFS, that’s a first for me, fucking water, and me having brought a six pack into Wembley before, lol! Silly.  Also frustrating was that the club shop was closed, yes fucking closed, as I went round to have a look. I always like to buy a scarf or momento of my day at the club, but no chance here. What the fuck FC Thun!! The only redeeming feature, apart from the ultras who were decent and created some good atmosphere, was that the team were generally enjoyable to watch (at least for me anyway).  

Anyway onto the next ground-hop in Switzerland.

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Denner Lager Hell

Denner Lager Hell

Denner Lager Hell

www.denner.ch

Brewed by Ramseier Suisse 
Style: Pale Lager
Hochdorf, Switzerland

Denner Lager HellManufactured for Denner AG / Zurich. Denner is Switzerland’s third largest supermarket chain after Migros and Coop, a discount chain considered to be the poor man of Swiss supermarkets as its cheaper than most, and where you can buy wine and beer at very low cost prices. You do have to give ity some respect though as it has been going since 1860, way back, so it has some history to it. Its motto is “One for all” (“Einer für Alle”) as the company describes itself as the “Retail’s Robin Hood”, who is fighting for cheaper prices for the customers. 

It is majority owned by the Federation of Migros Cooperatives since 2007.

Denner was able to establish its own brewery in Switzerland, which now brews the “Denner Lager” into two bottlings (5 and 3.3 dl) and cans with 4.8% and the “Spezial” into 3.3 dl bottles with 5.2% alcohol.

Review: 50cl can of Denner Lager Hell: ABV: 4.8% vol 

Denner Lager HellCheap supermarket fare that comes in a distinct red can, with a small Swiss flag for the patriotic drinker. 

Not much smell, very faint on the nose, but can detect malts and a lagery sort of aroma, all light on the nose but ok.

On pour got a big frothy head, some small bit of carbonation and a light golden yellow colour.

Head did die, a flat looking beer by the end. Not a looker.

On initial taste, unfortunately got a very soapy, cheapish taste, not nice at all, certainly no nice flavours. Was a bit too sweet especially initially. 

Denner Lager HellCompletely flat in taste and in look.

Tastes that I managed to find were some malts but that was generally it. 

I guess considering it is a very cheap beer, you could argue it is ok considering it is smooth enough I guess, but its a little too metallic for me.

Not a bad session beer if desperate, Its ok to be fair.

Did get some nice enough mouthfuls and overall it is an ok beer I guess.

Not bad for a discount beer, does the business, but there are better discount options available and I dont think I will be buying it again.

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Gralsburg Export. Cheaper than water

Gralsburg Export

oettinger-bier.de

Brewed by Oettinger Bier Gruppe
Style:Export Lager 
Oettingen, Germany

Got this beer from the Swiss Supermarket discount chain, Denner, who have been importing Gralsburg Export for many years from the Oettinger Brauerei in Southwest Germany.  It is one of the cheapest beers one can find in Switzerland.

Have reviewed Oettinger Export  and found it to be a very reasonable beer, certainly great considering the price. Nicknamed “Oetti”, the brewery is well known for producing vast amounts of cheap beer which can be easily got in all the major supermarket chains. Basically it is a German version of “stack em high sell em cheap”, and for people with only coppers in their pockets and students, well….. theirs are the perfect beers. They produce Gralsburg Export for Denner, but they also sell Oettinger Export on the market, so you can knock yourself out (literally perhaps) on cheap beer from Germany! 

Review: 500ml of Gralsburg Export: ABV: 5.4% vol 

The special beer that is cheaper than water, but as its actually German it is brewed according to those lovely purity laws we keep hearing about, so it cant be that bad, right?

On pour got a decent sized frothy head, with a nice golden beer appearance, looked very good.

Got absolutely nothing on the nose, zilch, nothing at all. On the second can, I did get some smells but again nothing to get too excited about. Got a bad smell like dishwater and also a very metallic smell. Too sweet, too yeasty.

Not much taste at all, big mouthfuls of nothingness, You are waiting for a taste, but it never comes.
Ok there is a slight hoppy bitterness, and you can get the sweet malts, but overall not much there of substance.

Bit difficult to drink, as its not smooth, and can get a taste of light washing up liquid, its not a nice beer to drink at all. Very soapy, and a real struggle to drink. Overall a big NO!

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Chopfab Draft. Quite popular and always recommended

Chopfab Draft. Quite popular and always recommended

Chopfab Draft 

www.doppelleu.ch

Brewed by Doppelleu Brauwerkstatt
Style: Premium Lager
Winterthur, Switzerland

Chopfab Draft is a very popular beer brewed by Doppelleu in the small Swiss city of Winterthur, not far from Zurich. 

Not too long on the market, the beer can be found all over Switzerland and from what I find from my Swiss friends here it is a beer that is quite popular and always recommended. 

Review: 50cl can of Chopfab Draft: ABV: 4.7% vol 

Chopfab Draft. Quite popular and always recommended Love the all black distinctive can with clear white lettering, stands out. Have read in a Swiss tabloid, that some have complained that it is to similar to the ISIS flag! That and the fact that Chopfab means “Head off”, a reference to downing the beer more than anything else!

On pour get a very clear beer that has a light golden yellow colour, with a small sized head.

Not much carbonation resulting in a head that dies quickly,  all goes very flat.

Not much of a looker. Got a lot in the can, perhaps due to fuck all carbonation.

Chopfab Draft. Quite popular and always recommended Has a real lager smell, also very lemony, crisp and malty.

Nice smell actually, like it, lovely in fact. The yeast and lager smell is refreshing, nice.

On taste, I can feel the alcohol, and it is very sweet but in a nice way. Sweet malts, nice.

It is very drinkable, with a nice creamy back end, not strong to be horrible, light enough to enjoy.

Very easy to drink, very smooth, tasty, get a lot of nice light tastes, creamy, very malty, yeasty, a bit of fruit, all in all a good balance of clean and fresh tastes that go down easy and well.

Very good, smooth and refreshing. Liked it a lot, wonder if it can be got on tap…

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