Canvas: From field to foam is the philosophy of this Tipperary brewery

The Deasys generate their own power, and use water, barley and hops from their farm to make beer

‘We are tying back into a local culture using what is available and what is around us’

‘We are tying back into a local culture using what is available and what is around us’

 

“We are not the conventional model,” says Maurice Deasy of Canvas brewery, and he isn’t exaggerating. The aim here is to produce single-source beers made using their own water, hydro-electric power generated on the estate, and barley and hops grown on the farm in Co Tipperary.

It is stripped-back brewing using Heath Robinsonesque machinery Maurice built himself. “I am an engineer, a maltster and a brewer,” he says. “We are tying back into a local culture using what is available and what is around us.” 

Canvas was set up by two sets of brothers, childhood friends. Like David Walsh-Kemmis of Ballykilcavan and the McDonalds of 12 Acres, the Deasys had become dispirited with the low prices being offered for their barley crop and instead began using it to make their own beer.

‘We have different artwork for each beer because each beer is its own thing’
‘We have different artwork for each beer because each beer is its own thing’

“We have the climate and ability to grow great grain in this country. It is something we have forgotten about, but I think we should celebrate it.” He believes we may be at the start of a revival. “We have our own heritage grains with lots of flavour. We also have craft maltsters starting off, doing smaller batches and that is really exciting.”

Canvas malt their own grain, and use their own hops where possible. They ferment with a mix of spontaneous and wild yeasts. “We brew in stainless steel tanks and in barrel, and every beer is different. We want to tie in with the seasonality and not have the same thing available all year round. Grains and hops change from year to year – it is something that is celebrated in wine but not beer. Brewers try to hide it.

“We have different artwork for each beer because each beer is its own thing – different label, different beer, all the time. This is our philosophy and it makes sense to some people. We are not huge and some people don’t get that or us, but those who see and listen respond enthusiastically and that is what keeps me going.”

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