Northern Ireland 

Northern Ireland is seeing a quiet revolution in beer tastes and the ever increasing number of breweries and craft beer bars that are opening is great to see.  Five years ago it was difficult to get a good selection of beers in bars and off-licences, I for one am happy to say that this is changing and Northern Ireland now has a lot to shout about in beer terms.

There will be great breweries, bars and beers that I may have missed out but this is just a starter to wet your appetite and to get you exploring the great beers from around Northern Ireland.

Brewery’s

Hilden and Whitewater have been on the scene since the 80’s and 90’s producing locally brewed craft beer in a time that arguably there was not a great demand for it.

There are many newer breweries that have recently sprung up who’s beer is available widely to quench the demand from the increasing numbers of craft beer drinkers. All have varying styles and ranges, many producing specials throughout the year.

Many of the breweries offer tours and I would highly recommend a visit if you are in anyway interested in beer and how it is made. Northern Ireland breweries include, Inishmacsaint, Farmageddon, Hercules, Hillstown, Pokertree, Red Hand, Boundary, Mourne Mountains brewery, Northbound and Lacada amongst an ever expanding list of others.

Festivals

The Belfast beer Festival – This is an annually held event located in the grand surroundings of the Ulster Hall.  Run by CAMRA there is no shortage of great beer including many local breweries.

ABV – The first festival took place in 2015 and was a great success.  Located in the old Titanic Drawing offices and featuring many highly regarded craft breweries and food producers from across Ireland and the UK.

Sippy of Culture – Another newcomer to the scene, located in the guildhall in Derry.  Showcasing the best in Irish beers from both North and South, and great local food.

Bars

Three great bars well work a visit if you are in or around Belfast city centre:

Brewbot – Massive selection and regular tap takeovers from well respected breweries.

The Woodworkers – Great selection of both draught craft beers, regularly changing taps.

The Sunflower – All round good beer pub.

Derry has started to get a few great drinking holes if you are in the mood for a craft beverage, two are mentioned below.

The Walled City Brewery (The brewery only has a licence that allows alcohol to be servers with food, so you will need to book a table)

The Grand Central bar – Starting to introduce great craft beer in both draught and bottles.

If you are visiting Portrush the Kiwi’s Brew Bar is a great place to find craft beer.

Off-licences 

The Vineyard – Belfast

Gap Wines – Belfast

Chill – Derry

Beers to look out for

There are many great beers that are produced in Northern Ireland, as with everything it is down to personal taste as to wether you will like them or not.  four beers that I think are very good and worth a try are:

Northbound – Sticke Alt

Mourne Mountains  Brewery – Spiced Pumpkin Porter* (special)

Boundary – Export IPA

Whitewater – Maggie’s Leap

Please remember just because I like them does not mean that they will be suited to your palate, but I can say that they are well made beverages.