s it chance or is it fate?
Is it random or is it destiny?
Nurture or nature.
Hard to say. When I look at my genetic make up and see the sir name O’Conner so prevalent, I must wonder. Maybe beer was my calling from birth. Maybe brewing British Isle ales was my destiny.
Conner is an anglicized form of the Irish Gaelic Conchobhar, a compound name composed of “conn” meaning wisdom or counsel, and “cobhair” meaning aid.
Wisdom and aid, yep that’s me. (please, stop laughing)
This brings me to Ale-Conner. An Ale-Conner was an officer appointed yearly at the court of ancient English communities to ensure the goodness and wholesomeness of ale and beer. Other wise described as the greatest job in the world.
An Ale -Conner was to go from one ale house to the next, tasting the beers and certifying them to be of good enough quality to drink. I have been unwittingly doing this from an age too early to confess. Nature sure seems to be beating nurture.
Given the place of ale in the lives of medieval Englishmen, the role of the ale-conner was taken quite seriously. Here is part of the oath sworn by an ale-conner : “And that you, so soon as you shall be required to taste ale of any brewer or brewster, shall be ready to do the same; … nor when you are required to taste ale, shall [you] absent yourself without reasonable cause and true… So, God help you and the saints.”
I would add “AMEN BROTHER”.
My mother tried but, fate, destiny and nature were a tough trifecta for her nurture to beat. Beer is in my blood. I should add, it’s her Irish side of the family with all the Conners!
So, here’s to my and uncles, Aidan and PJ O’Conner and their families, thanks for the “GOOD” genes.