Searching for McAuliffe Family Roots

by Renee on July 29, 2016

wingIt has been an exciting journey, getting to know my birthfather Jack, and many of my McAuliffe relatives. I’ve loved learning about my Irish heritage–St. Patrick’s Day is definitely a high holiday to me! If you’ve been following along here on my blog, you may remember that I am a reunited adoptee, and did not grow up with Jack.  (Yes, I went so far as to make the shamrock a permanent part of my life with a tattoo!) Recently, to celebrate my daughter’s graduation from Boston College, she and I made a trip to England and Ireland. We had a great time in both places, but I especially loved the Emerald Isle. I felt completely drawn to my homeland. I loved the accents and the topography, the architecture and the Wild Atlantic Way. We didn’t have a lot of time, and just touched on a few towns as we made a Southern circle from Dublin; there is so much more to explore there.

High on my list of places to visit was the little town of Newmarket, in County Cork. This is where the McAuliffe coatfamily hails from originally. It’s not a tourist destination, and Ali and I spent a bright sunny morning there, in search of the family herald and traipsing around the cemetery. We were directed by the town butcher to the herald, which is right in front of the tiny town hall. I love the mermaids on the ancient McAuliffe symbol–I have always felt a call to the ocean. Maybe this is one reason why…it’s in my blood! (Like beer!)

tombWe found many McAuliffes in the town cemetery, which was high on a hill overlooking Newmarket. Unfortunately, we missed a July family reunion of McAuliffes from all around the world. Someday Ali and I will have to make it back and visit with these distant relations. Everyone is so warm and friendly. And Jack tells me the phrase “getting corked” comes from those who hail from County Cork… apparently there’s a bit of rowdiness in our roots.cliffs of moher

High on our list of favorite stops, Ali and I loved the beauty of the Cliffs of Moher. The narrow roads leading there took us through tiny towns and traffic jams due to sheep crossing. Meanwhile, I had a quite a core workout driving down “Corkscrew Road” from the powers taverncliffs as we made our way to County Galway. In Galway, we had a wonderful meal at a traditional thatched roof pub, Powers Tavern. The *best* lamb stew I have ever enjoyed, and a pint of course.

We never made it to Northern Ireland, and my homeland continues to beckon. I know I’ll be back. Sláinte!

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Honoring Jack in New Albion’s Birthplace

by Renee on July 21, 2016

Pioneer beersSacramento, California–It was more than my pleasure to see my father recognized recently by the Northern California Brewers Guild at the California State Fair for his contributions to the craft beer movement with the founding of New Albion Brewing Company in Sonoma in 1976. He was the recipient of a Founders Award, along with Anchor Steam’s Fritz Maytag and Sierra Nevada’s Ken Grossman. While Ken was on the road with his Beer Jack & FritzCamp, Fritz was also at the event, and brewers from the region joined in a standing ovation for both pioneers of beer. The highlight of the event was a toast to Jack with the newly rebooted New Albion Ale, graciously shipped to the beer’s homeland by our brewing partners at Platform Beer Company. It was a big hit, and got a big thumbs up from Jack.

The awards ceremony was followed by a brewfest on the fair grounds–Nedrowsand Jack and my friends Mike and Donna Nedrow (proprietors of Chardon BrewWorks in Geauga County here at home) enjoyed a beery afternoon tasting an array of beers that were award winners at the event. It was a great treat having Mike and Donna at the fest, as they just happened to be traveling in Northern Cali at that time, and gladly accepted my invitation.

We shared a table with beer writer Jay Brooks, who introduced the Founders Award winners with entertaining stories and a bit of history. It was a happy and memorable afternoon, and Jack was pleased to be so honored.

And because a girl cannot live by beer alone, I took advantage of my time in wine country and visited a couple of Ridge Winery wine countrywineries the next day with a dear friend–had an amazing Montebello–the subject of the movie Bottle Shock, at Ridge Vineyards.


CBC 2016 in The City of Beery Love

by Renee on May 8, 2016

Philadelphia was awash in suds and beards this past week, as 12-thousand brewers and beer industry folks spent the week in town for the Craft Brewers Conference. The adage “it’s always sunny in Philadelphia” turned out to be untrue (it was overcast and rainy the whole week), but it didn’t matter much as everyone was pretty darn happy to sit inside some of Philly’s finest brewpubs. I had the good fortune to meet up with a couple of old and dear friends–Terri from high school at Monk’s Cafe, and Erin from college at the Eulogy Tavern. Great spots for reconnecting over an amazing choice of brews.

stepsBeards were plentiful, as I mentioned, but I also got to hang out with some of the finest women of craft beer during that week. We were in force in larger numbers than ever before. I spent some time at the opening reception at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with Meagen Anderson of SteadyServ, and Ginger Johnson of Women Enjoying Beer. (Yes, we ran up those steps Rocky-style of course!) Hung out with Mariah Calagione of Dogfish Head at one of their sponsored events at mariahWorld Cafe Live. And this year’s Pink Boots Society meeting was the biggest ever. It was a room full of estrogen and high energy!

tap handlesI had a couple of missions while I was there. One was finding a great vendor for tap handles for New Albion Brewing Company. I came across Tony at the the Alison Group, on the recommendation of a good friend. It looks like he has some really great products at a great price.


And also in New Albion news, Meagen and I had the chance to say hello to Jack’s former brewer, Don Barkley. He’s with Napa Smith these days, and it’s always a pleasure to see him. During that opening reception, Meagen and I also met up with Brooklyn Beer’s Steve Hindy.  What an amazing and inspiring brewer–if you haven’thindy picked up his books: Beer School and The Craft Beer Revolution, you really should. Of course there’s a mention or two of Jack in those pages!


So overall, a very successful and enjoyable Craft Brewers Conference once again. My next beery adventure is going to be even further away from home: stay tuned for  news of my trip to England and Ireland at the end of May–a celebration of my girl’s college graduation. We’ll be visiting McAuliffe territory in County Cork, and there could be some pub stories…. Cheers!


Wine Time (You Can’t Live By Beer Alone)

April 13, 2016

It’s true, I’m a cross drinker. I like my wine as much as my beer. I think that’s due in part because of my Italian heritage. (I’m half Italian on my mother’s side…to match up to the Irish McAuliffe genes from my dad). So I was excited to be invited to an Oregon wine dinner […]

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