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Tír Dhá Ghlas Brewery


Cullins Yard is one of Dover's most popular dining venues and alongside it is the Tír Dhá Ghlas Brewery. recently spent the day behind the scenes to experience the fascinating process of brewing under the expert guidance of Cullin's up and coming brewer Richard Borle. Richard and Nigel regularly brew here on the premises and so, in pictures, here is what happened......


The basic ingredients for today's brew: Hops, Grain and Malt (and of course, water). In the main, four different brews are produced here and all appear for sale on a regular basis in the restaurant. They are also supplied to other local outlets and are available to purchase in bottled form as an attractive gift set.

They are:

Pig's Ear 3.7%, Jolly Roger 4.7%, Jimmy's Riddle 4.7% and Porter 6.1%.

Pig's Ear was one of the first brews produced and despite the name, proved a very popular pint! Jolly Roger was named to commemorate larger than life local gentleman Roger Marples, sadly no longer with us. Jimmy's Riddle pays tribute to the owner of Cullins Yard and the Tír Dhá Ghlas Brewery, James Gleeson.  The Porter appears during the festive season and is a stronger more potent but delicious brew that slips down far too easily. I know, I can assure you!

The first  brews of Porter produced here once again to a specific recipe, were christened Keane in remembrance of the wife of John Toomey, a close friend of the owner. 


The exact ingredients and quantities are a closely guarded secret. The type of Malt and Hops for each type of brew uses different varieties to give the distinct flavour and aroma held so dear by real ale drinkers! Below is  the Malt and the Hops used today.

The brewery prior to the commencement of the day's events.

From left to right: The Hot Liquor Tub, Mash Tun, Copper and Fermenter.

The process starts in the Hot Liquor Tub (HLT) "Liquor" is water, today 63 gallons of it, heated to 73 degrees centigrade. This is then transferred via a pump to the Mash Tun and then boiled for 90 minutes. Here, we can see Richard adding the Malt to the Tun.

It takes quite a while before the brew resembles something akin to the finished article!

The Tile Test:

A sample of the brew is taken to establish the amount of starch removed from the grain using Iodine as the test. Here, we are looking for a Golden colour and not brown, so, as you can see, we have success!

Progressing nicely!  

In the next stage, the Mash Tun contents are transferred to the Copper where it spends a further 90 minutes. The remaining water in the HLT is also pumped through into the Mash Tun.

Great importance is placed on cleanliness. Here, the Mash Tun awaits cleaning and steralising after being emptied. 

Hops add a particular aroma to each brew.

Today two varieties are used, Fuggles and Challenger.

Things are starting to warm up....

Richard checks the temperature in the Fermenter and then takes one of two readings recorded during the brewing process which will establish, using a mathematical formula, the specific gravity and thus strength of the brew.

By using the same variety of Hops and Malt for the various brews, the Alcohol By Volume (ABV) can be kept constant. Each brew is checked and all the brewing details are recorded in accordance with regulations. 

Some way into the process, the mixture is starting to take on a more familiar appearance!

Yeast is activated by boiled water that has been allowed to cool. This is then added to the Fermenter after the brew has also been transferred to it's final resting place via a filter. Flocculant tablets are also added to bind the sediment together. At this point, the temperature is 23 degrees centigrade as the yeast would be killed at a higher temperature. There isn't any alcohol content until the yeast has turned the sugar from the starch in the malt into alcohol.

A heat exchanger is used to reduce the temperature from boiling point to 21 degrees centigrade. The clever bit here is that the heat is taken away by freshwater which is returned to the HLT and subsequently used during the next brew or during the cleaning process. The temperature upon return to the HLT will be around 60 to 70 degrees centigrade which means a smaller amount of electricity will be required to commence the next brew. 

The brew spends approximately 4 days in the Fermenter at a maximum temperature of 23 degress centigrade and slowly cools before being kegged and/or bottled. The Kegs then spend a further 2 weeks conditioning before being available for distribution or consumption on the premises.

The best bit! I get to sample one brewed a few weeks ago!

What better way to reflect on the day! A fine pint of real ale produced on the premises is most enjoyable as I sit by the fire.


Cullins Yard is open daily from 10am and serves real ales, continental lagers and fine wines to compliment a superb  a la carte menu featuring daily specials together with lighter bites. Fish features strongly as do succulent steaks and a variety of vegetarian options. Sunday Roasts are always a good choice and it is worth leaving room for a delicious homemade desert. Perched on the edge of the marina with extensive waterside views, Cullins Yard also houses an extensive collection of interesting objects and maritime ephemera from a bygone era. During the summer the beer garden overlooking the marina is a popular spot. For music lovers, Jazz features on a Friday evening and there is also live music every Sunday afternoon. The Brewey can be viewed through a panoramic window from Cambridge Road at the entrance to Cullins Yard.

There is something to interest all tastes, so visit soon.  


Cullins Yard and the Tír Dhá Ghlas Brwery can be found at 11 Cambridge Road, Dover, Kent CT17 9BY.


Bookings,  reservations, brewery enquiries and orders can be made by calling the friendly team on 01304 211666.

What's in a name?


The origins of the Tír Dhá Ghlas lay from where the Gleeson family originally came from, the present day township of Terryglass, Co Tipperary. Terryglasss is on the banks of the River Shannon and it was from this township that the Gleson family emigrated in 1847. Their emigration was a result of the potato famine which at it's conclusion had caused the deaths of over three milliion people. The Gleeson family took up residence in Manchester.


In the early Middle Ages the township was known as Tír dhá Ghlas. A  Monastery was founded there in 549 by Columba of Terryglass. Terryglass has two historic wells, the Eye Well and the Headache Well, both of which are said to have curative properties. The present owner of the brewery has a similar claim and he has stated that his beers have cured many an ailment! The Gleeson Poteen is indeed something to die for.........!

Of interest is the fact that Captain James Gleeson was killed in action during an engagement with British Forces during the war of independence in Ireland. The late Captain James Gleeson of Dover Grenadier Guards served in the British Army with distinction and was the father of James Gleeson, the present owner of the Tír Dhá Ghlas Brewery.


The perfect spot for a sundowner or two......
Drew and Crew performing al fresco during the summer.
The bar area, something to interest everyone.
A further area of dining is offered in the conservatory.
One of many things to see. This is part of the garden near the entrance.
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