EVER REALLY WATCH YOUR BARTENDER POUR YOUR TAPPER? I DON'T MEAN FROM ACROSS THE ROOM OR WHILE YOU'RE TALKING TO YOUR COMPANION, BUT REALLY SIT THERE AND STARE AT THE GLASS WHILE IT FILLS.
DID THE BARTENDER LET THE TAP BEER RUN DOWN THE DRAIN FIRST, THEN INSERT THE GLASS FOR FILLING? (NOT NECESSARY) DID HE/SHE HAVE TO KEEP TIPPING OFF FOAM WHILE POURING? (TOO MUCH PRESSURE) DID THE TAP END TOUCH THE INSIDE OF THE GLASS OR BE INCLUDED IN THE FINAL POUR AS THE HEAD ROSE?(BAAAAD IDEA) TOO MUCH HEAD? NOT ENOUGH?
WERE YOU IMPRESSED? DISAPPOINTED? AMAZED? SHOCKED? SADDENED BY OR HAPPY WITH THE OUTCOME? HOW DID THE BEER TASTE...ESPECIALLY IF IT WAS GUINNESS!
ADD TO THAT, WHAT DID YOUR GLASS LOOK LIKE WHEN YOU HAD TAKEN CARE OF THE BEER. WAS IT SLICK AND "CLEAN" SO YOU COULD SEE THROUGH IT OR WAS THERE FOAM (BEER LACE) CLINGING TO THE INSIDE, PERHAPS EVEN WITH LINES RUNNING THROUGH THE FOAM? HINT: BEER LACE IS DESIRABLE AND INDICATES A CLEAN GLASS. THE "LINES" IN THE LACE SHOW EACH DRINK AND HOW MUCH WAS TAKEN!
WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT THE SIMPLE ACTS OF POURING AND DRINKING A BEER WOULD BE ABLE TO TELL YOU, THE CUSTOMER, SO MUCH ABOUT THE ABILITY OF THE POURER, THE CLEANLINESS OF THE TAP SYSTEM AND THE TRAINING AND QUALITY CONTROL COMMITMENT OF YOUR FAVORITE HAUNT?
UNLESS YOU'RE A "POOR" COLLEGE STUDENT, WHOSE ONLY INTEREST IS HOW MUCH YOU CAN GET FOR THE LEAST AMOUNT OF MONEY (JUST AN EXAMPLE!) YOU TAKE YOUR BEER DRINKING AT LEAST SEMI-SERIOUSLY AND APPRECIATE THE NICETIES OF TASTE, FRESHNESS, CONTROL AND A PROFESSIONAL POUR FROM A CLEAN, SANITARY SYSTEM. I MEAN, WHO WANTS LITTLE THINGIES IN THE BOTTOM OF THE GLASS YOU DON'T NOTICE UNTIL YOU'RE ABOUT DONE WITH THE CONTENTS?
ANY BEER POURED IN AMERICA GOES THROUGH A LOT OF SANITATION AND QUALITY CONTROL LEVELS BEFORE IT EVER MAKES ITS WAY TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD BAR AND ONCE THERE AND TAPPED, EVEN MORE STRINGENT REQUIREMENTS FOR ONGOING SERVICE. JUST BY PAYING ATTENTION TO THE PROCESS OF POUR, PRESENTATION AND AFTER CONSUMPTION, YOU'LL KNOW IMMEDIATELY WHETHER YOU'LL EVER BE BACK FOR ANOTHER.
NOT TO GET TOO CARRIED AWAY HERE, BUT YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT RESPONSIBLE SERVERS HAVE THEIR TAP LINES CLEANED AT LEAST MONTHLY AND MORE IF A REGULAR USAGE SCHEDULE IS NOT ADHERED TO...IN OTHER WORDS, CUSTOMERS DRINKING THE PRODUCT DAILY. COLD BEER, JUST LIKE COLD WATER CAN LEAVE A FILM THAT BUILDS UP OVER TIME IN THE LINES. UNLESS CLEANED THOROUGHLY, THIS "CRUD' BREAKS OFF AND CONTAMINATES OR AT LEAST CLOUDS THE TAP BEER FLOWING PAST IT. HERE'S AN EASY TEST: IF THE BAR IS DIRTY, THE LINES ARE TOO.
A WELL-POURED BEER SHOULD FLOW EASILY DIRECTLY FROM THE TAP MOUTH TO THE GLASS....NO NEED TO ALLOW IT TO POUR DOWN THE DRAIN FIRST...AND SHOULD CREATE A NICE FOAM HEAD OF 3/4" OR MORE IF DESIRED. A "TV BEER" AS WE CALL IT AT THE MONARCH.
I WON'T GET INTO GREAT DETAIL HERE, BUT A FEW GENERAL FACTS WILL GIVE YOU AN IDEA WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU ORDER YOUR OWN:
TERRITORY: IN THE MIDDLE AGES, THERE WERE TWO SEPTS (FAMILY GROUPS), THE LARGER ONE IN CONNACHT (OURS) DESCENDED FROM THE FIFTH CENTURY KING OF CONNACHT AND THE OTHER IN AND AROUND MUNSTER. AT AN EARLY DATE, BRANCHES SPREAD INTO MAYO, NORTH MUNSTER INTO KERRY AND DESCENDANTS ARE RECORDED IN MAYO AND BOTH DINGLE AND TRALEE. THE MUNSTER SEPT ORIGINATED IN CORK AND AGAIN DESCENDANTS ARE SHOWN TO HAVE COME FROM THE SIXTH CENTURY KING THERE. IN PRESENT TIME, THE SURNAME HAS SOME FIVE THOUSAND BEARERS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY, BEING PARTICULARLY WELL REPRESENTED IN CORK.
MEANING: ORIGINALLY O'HARRACHTAIN, GRANDSON OF ARRACHTAN AND THAT OF CINEL mBEICE WAS O' HIONGARDAIL, GRANDSON OF IONGARDAL. THESE WERE ONCE ANGLICISED O'HARRAGHTAN AND O'HINGERDELL, BUT HARRINGTON IS FOUND AS EARLY AS THE 1570's , ADOPTED LARGELY IN IMITATION OF THE ENGLISH HARRINGTON'S WHO WERE GRANTED LAND IN IRELAND (AROUND WICKLOW) BY THE KING FOR SERVICES RENDERED (IN OTHER WORDS, MILITARY).
ANCESTORS: THERE ARE ALL KINDS OF SEMI-FAMOUS OR LOCALLY FAMOUS NAMES, BUT NO SENSE GOING INTO ALL THAT NOW. SUFFICE IT TO SAY WE, JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER FAMILY HAD OUR GOOD ONES AND SOME BAD ONES, FROM SHOEMAKERS TO A FEW KNIGHTS, FAMERS AND MINERS AND SOLDIERS TO ABBOTS AND CIVIC LEADERS...INCLUDING THE ONE-TME MAYOR OF DUBLIN! ONE NOTE, SHANE (JOHN) O'HINGERDELL SON OF A TADHG (TODD, MY BROTHER) IS ON RECORD AS ADOPTING THE ALIAS JOHN HARRINGTON AS EARLY AS 1577 AND A ROBERT (UNCLE) OF ESSEX SETTLED IN IRELAND UNDER CROMWELL. I THINK WE'LL IGNORE THAT ONE...
COAT OF ARMS: ON A BLACK FIELD, TRADITIONALLY THE HERALDIC COLOR OF WISDOM AND CONSTANCY, IS A WHITE FRET, GENERALLY AWARDED AS A MARK OF MILITARY DISTINCTION, HONOUR AND VIRTUE.
SO, A BRIEF SYNOPSIS OF WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR FAMILY NAME AND ANCESTORS WHEN YOU ORDER YOUR OWN COAT OF ARMS. THERE ARE PLENTY OF SOURCES ON LINE AND I WOULD BE HAPPY TO REFER YOU TO ONE IF INTERESTED. I GOT MINE DIRECTLY IN IRELAND SO I COULD MAKE SURE IT WAS WHAT I WANTED AND NEXT TRIP I'LL INCLUDE YOU IF THAT SUITS YOUR FANCY. EITHER WAY, YOU'LL ENJOY THE READING AND WHO KNOWS? MAYBE YOU'VE A CASTLE WAITING FOR YOU IN IRELAND!! (I DON'T.)
WHO SAYS EVERYTHING HAS TO BE DEEP FRIED? WITH ALL THE ADVANCEMENTS IN COOKING AND FOOD PREP, THERE ARE A LOT OF OPTIONS OUT THERE THAT STILL PROVIDE AN EXCELLENT DINING AND TASTE EXPERIENCE.
AT THE MONARCH, WE DON'T EVEN HAVE A DEEP FRYER IN THE PLACE! ALL OUR FISH, FRIES, ONION RINGS, ITEMS YOU WOULD NORMALLY EXPECT TO BE DEEP FRIED, ARE DONE IN OUR HOT AIR MACHINES. THINK A HOT CYCLONE! AIR SUPER HEATED TO 450+ DEGREES AND WRAPPED AT 30-40 MPH AROUND THE SIX SIDED TRAY HOLDER.
RESULT: GOLDEN BROWN, HOT AND GREASE-FREE FOOD !!
WHEN YOU DINE AT THE MONARCH, YOU CAN COUNT ON LESS CHOLESTEROL AND LOWER CALORIES JUST DUE TO THIS ONE FACTOR. AND WE GUARANTEE THE EXCELLENT TASTE OF YOUR SELECTION. OUR FAMILY RECIPES COME FROM GREAT GRAM ON DOWN AND YOU'LL ENJOY EVERY TIME TESTED BITE.
WHO SAYS EVERYBODY HAS TO DO EVERYTHING THE WAY IT'S ALWAYS BEEN DONE?
SO, IS THAT DELICIOUS PLATE FULL OF TENDER CORNED BEEF, MASHED POTATOES, CARROTS AND BUTTER BOILED CABBAGE WHAT EVERYBODY IN IRELAND LOOKS FORWARD TO OR IS IT SOMETHING INVENTED OUT OF NECESSITY IN AMERICA?
WELL, TO BE TRUTHFUL, WHILE NOW AVAILABLE IN ANY OF THE BIGGER TOURIST TOWNS IN IRELAND, THE CORNED BEEF PLATE CAME ABOUT IN AMERICA DURING THE GREAT HUNGER DIASPORA AND SUBSEQUENT EMIGRATION TO AMERICA.
IN FACT, MEAT WAS A PRETTY SCARCE COMMODITY FOR THE IRISH PEASANT OF THE TIME, WITH BACON AND CABBAGE BEING THE MORE COMMON AND PREFERRED LUNCH. EVEN THE BACON IS DIFFERENT OVER THERE, AS IT COMES FROM THE BACK OF THE SOW, RATHER THAN THE BELLY AS IS COMMON OVER HERE. KIND OF LIKE OUR VERY THINLY SLICED HAM.
BUT, BACK TO THE CORNED BEEF SAGA.....
WHEN THE SURVIVORS OF THE COFFIN SHIPS FINALLY LANDED IN AMERICA, THE IRISH FOUND THEMSELVES WITH LITTLE EDUCATION, FEW SKILLS BEYOND HARD LABOR, VIRTUALLY PENNILESS AND NOT EXACTLY WELCOMED WITH OPEN ARMS. THE ONLY MEAT AVAILABLE AT A PRICE THOSE FEW PENNIES COULD AFFORD WAS THE "LEFTOVER" POOR CUT OF BRISKET. COMBINED WITH WHAT ROOT VEGETABLES THEY COULD RAISE, BUY OR OTHERWISE OBTAIN, IT WAS A STAPLE THAT COULD BE STRETCHED OUT TO KEEP BODY AND SOUL TOGETHER UNTIL REGULAR INCOME COULD BE FOUND....IF EVER.
TODAY'S CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE DINNER IS MUCH MORE TENDER, SEASONED AND HAS ACHIEVED CULT STATUS FOR THE IRISH IN AMERICA. DELICIOUS AND JUICY, THE MONARCH'S PLATE IS A RECIPE HANDED DOWN BY GENERATIONS OF HARRINGTON WOMEN. COME, SIT AND EAT...ENJOY GREAT GRAMMA'S OLD-TIME AND "TRADITIONAL" RECIPE.
IN CELTIC LORE, DRAGONS ARE EITHER LEGLESS AND BASICALLY OF THE WATER/ SEA OR THE MORE RECOGNIZABLE FOUR LEGGED VARIETY....THE KIND YOU SEE ON FLAGS, SHIELDS OR CRESTS. THINK KING ARTHUR AND HIS RED DRAGON EMBLEM. IF THEY HAVE WINGS AND MOST DO, THEY ARE BATLIKE AND CAN INCLUDE CLAWS OR OTHER APPENDAGES. ACCORDING TO THE LEGENDS, DRAGONS INHABITED A 'SECOND EARTH' AND WHERE THEIR PATHS OR LANDINGS COINCIDED WITH OUR EARTH, THERE WAS A HOLY OR MAGIC SPOT.
AS PROTECTORS OF MAN, THESE SPOTS BECAME SPECIAL AREAS FOR COMMUNING WITH OR CREATING THE MAGIC, OR WORSHIPPING. AS WELLS WERE DEEP AND FAIRLY WIDE OPEN, THIS WAS A LOGICAL SPOT FOR THE MAGIC TO SEEP INTO OUR WORLD.
HOW MANY PLACES DO YOU KNOW THAT HAS IT'S OWN DRAGON? WELL, WE DO AND HEGARTY HAS FOUND HER HOME HERE FOR THE LAST TWO YEARS, PERCHED ON OUR SIGN OVERLOOKING THE GREAT RIVER ROAD AND THE MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI. ALL WHO ENTER ARE CONSIDERED UNDER HER PROTECTION AND CAN RELAX AND ENJOY SAFETY AND COMFORT WHILE DINING OR ENJOYING A COLD ONE.
HEGARTY WAS NAMED AFTER MY GREAT AUNT BETTY HAGGERTY, WHO UPON HER TRIP TO IRELAND WITH ME DISCOVERED HER LAST NAME WAS ACTUALLY O'HEGARTY AND SHE WAS FROM COUNTY MAYO. BUT, THAT'S ANOTHER STORY AND A GOOD ONE.
HEGARTY HAS ACCEPTED HER NAME WITH EQUANIMITY AND SETTLED IN NICELY ON HER CHOSEN OVERLOOK. A WORD OF WARNING HOWEVER... NO DRAGON RESPONDS WELL TO HARASSMENT, CATCALLS OR OTHER FORMS OF DERISION. PLEASE REMEMBER......YOU ARE CRUNCHY AND TASTE SOMETHING LIKE CHICKEN TO ANY DRAGON.
AT THE MONARCH, WE'RE PROUD TO SAY ALL OUR RECIPES COME FROM FAMILY...FROM GREAT GRAM RIGHT DOWN TO JOHN'S EXPERIENCE. TO MAKE THOSE WORK BEST, WE SHOP LOCALLY TO ASSURE QUALITY AND FRESHNESS...NEVER BUYING "OFF THE TRUCKS"... AND BRING IN ORIGINAL ADDITIONS FROM IRELAND WHEN WE CAN.
WE ARE EXTREMELY PROUD TO ANNOUNCE OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH THE FOLKS AT BALLYMALOE FOODS, OUT OF LITTLE ISLAND, COUNTY CORK, IRELAND. RECOGNIZED AS ONE OF THE 30 BEST RESTAURANTS IN THE WORLD, THEIR KETCHUPS AND SAUCES ARE WORLD CLASS AS WELL!
AS THE ONLY WISCONSIN DISTRIBUTOR FOR THEIR USA PRODUCT LINES, WE ARE INCORPORATING THEIR RECIPES INTO OURS (TRY OUR NEW PORKIE PIE WITH THEIR APPLE SAUCE...OMG DELICIOUS!) AND OFFERING THE BOTTLED PRODUCTS FOR SALE AT THE BAR. EVERYONE SAMPLING THE VARIOUS KETCHUPS (PLAIN, WITH CHILI OR WITH STOUT) OR SAUCES (CRANBERRY, MINT JELLY, APPLE, ORIGINAL TOMATO AND ORIGINAL WITH JALAPENO AND RED PEPPER) HAVE RAVED ABOUT THE QUALITY, THICKNESS AND TASTE AND BOUGHT MORE FOR HOME.
WE'RE SURE YOU'LL ENJOY ALL THEIR TASTE SENSATIONS WITH OUR RECIPES AND YOURS AND LOOK FORWARD TO THE DAY WE JOIN BALLYMALOE ON THAT WORLD LIST!
The Monarch continues to evolve as Wisconsin's oldest operating pub. Just before the cold weather REALLY set in, John managed to get the main street entrance area repainted to mirror what you'll see in Ireland....every place/doorway painted a different color to highlight the business within. Of course, it would have been nice to get that done during the warm months, but that would have insulted his Irish approach to getting things done on a "schedule". The good news about that is, now we can watch it get finished THIS year....stay tuned, we think you'll like the final outcome!
Remember the movie, A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN?
No crying in baseball, Geena Davis, Madonna, Rosie O'Connell, etc.?
The attached picture includes LOU ERICKSON-SAUER (second from left) and her family sharing a cold one and some stories from her playing days with the Rockford Peaches and Racine Belles...both teams were the central teams in the movie. Lou was the pitcher for those teams and could have been in the movie, but decided against all the travel. Quite a story. Quite a life. One Helluva woman.
Usually stops by with her son, Jim on Sunday afternoons. Enjoys meeting folks and especially young girls who are in sports.
Thanks to her and all those other teammates and players, girls/women have the opportunities they have in sports today.
FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. - The Monarch Tavern and Preservation Hall may illustrate a classic case of thinking all experts come from out of town and all the special places are somewhere else.
in 1894 as the Odd Fellows Hall, the Monarch Tavern draws travelers from across the Midwest and around the world.
"It's a little place in Fountain City according to the local market, but a really neat place according to the national market," said John Harrington, who has owned the business with his wife, Laurie Ahl, since 1995.
The couple promotes the business so well that tour planners in England send people over. The Monarch attracts travelers of the Great River Road, and the Wisconsin Department of Tourism sings its praises.
"They like us, and we like them," Harrington said. "We've had people here from all over - England, New Zealand, Japan.
Besides being cited in "The 101 Best Things to Do on the Wisconsin Great River Road," the Monarch Tavern has been featured in "Eating Your Way Across America," "101 Things to Do on the Mississippi River," and "Wisconsin's 101 Best Taverns." Discover Wisconsin recently completed shooting a profile of the business.
"It's a beautiful establishment, and they are interesting people, very nice people," said Jim Kafer, of Fountain City. "(Harrington) brings a spirit, an Irish spark."
Another resident, Jan Northam, says the business has a hometown homeyness, and "it kind of envelops you."
"They are very interested in restoring what's there," she said. "You can see their life is in the business."
Ahl says the Monarch has three or four clienteles. The first is people from Fountain City and surrounding areas. The second is Fountain City visitors, including summer tourists,and River Road travelers.
"The third I call irregular regulars who somehow found us and come back every year to see what's changed," Ahl said. The fourth category are people who discover the Monarch on the Internet, or through travel guides and tour planners.
What visitors find on arrival is the culmination of 71/2 years of work in restoring the building, with its 16-foot ceilings and ornate back bar. Personal touches and design decisions are evident everywhere.
All foods on the menu are prepared without grease. The Monarch sells house brands of exotic mustards, beer on tap, and wine.
Ahl is responsible for the mustard creations, which include pineapple jalapeno, apricot bourbon and kumquat cilantro.
Long after the original brewery disappeared from the scene, the Fountain Brew beer brand was restored when Harrington unearthed the original recipe, dating back to 19th century Germany. He contracted with a southern Wisconsin brewer to make it for him. A Wisconsin winery bottles "proprietor's reserve" wines for the Monarch.
Harrington describes the business as a niche between a typical Wisconsin supper club and bar. It has just now reached the point "where we can do what we always wanted to do-the whole Monarch concept," he said.
The next phase of the concept includes offering bottled Fountain Brew Beer, converting the spacious second floor of the building into a "upper scale" supper club and opening the Absolute Rock Bottom Pub in the basement.
The Pub is operational but, to date, has only been used for parties and special gatherings. It features the stuffed "original albino buck" that supposedly sired others in the area, a huge ball of string collected by a paper boy, and various curiosities donated by area farmers.
"It's a Mississippi River Guy's museum," Harrington said.
In other basement space, near the bar, the couple plans to create a shop that will feature hot pepper sauces from Louisiana and gift items from Ireland. Harrington and Ahl are planning a buying trip to Europe in February.
Long term plans include a deck, and shelter on the roof for viewing "the staggering views."
While such ambitious development might prove daunting to beginning entrepreneurs, both Harrington and Ahl had business experience in Green Bay.
Ahl worked 17 years as a process engineer and quality manager for a paper company.
After studying music in college, Harrington traveled for years as a professional musician. He subsequently was president of a credit union, created a telemarketing firm, operated a sports complex and started the first urgent care, walk-in clinic and HMO in Green Bay.
After selling the latter business the couple discovered the Monarch Tavern and Fountain City.
"It's been a diverse life. Everything I did led me to this point and success," Harrington said.
They have been methodically developing the "Monarch concept," one step at a time since 1995. Nearing the end of phase one, Harrington sees it coming together and isn't shy about pressing on.
After all, he said, "My visions have a way of becoming reality."
Contact reporter David Krotz at email@example.com or call (507) 453-3524.