My name’s Graeme and I like beer. And I’m clearly not the only person living in Northern Ireland who shares this passion.
There’s never been a better time for beer lovers than right now. The choice of beers in pubs, clubs, restaurants, off licences and supermarkets is phenomenal.
Better still homebrewing is no longer something that’s confined to the home.
In the not too distant past, when offered homebrew, you’d politely decline for fear of temporary blindness, hairy palms or because it was guaranteed you’d end up talking like a washing machine.
Now it’s gained the altogether more consumable title of craft beer and it’s brought out the best in some local entrepreneurs and beer enthusiasts.
To celebrate the opening of Belfast’s first brewpub, Brewbot, here’s 10 of the best craft beers that are made in Northern Ireland…
Hercules became the first brewery to open in Belfast for 160 years back in 2014. It’s three flagship Yardsman brews are among the best you’ll find in the city.
Brewed by NI’s largest microbrewery, Whitewater Brewery in Kilkeel, Belfast Lager is not surprisingly a very popular drink in the capital city. The name is the only gimmick. This is quality stuff.
A pale hoppy ale from Hilden Brewery, the granddaddy of Ulster’s microbreweries. I’d go as far as saying that Hilden Brewery is head and shoulders above everything else to come out of Lisburn. Or in the case of Headless Dog, just shoulders.
Clanconnel brewery was set up in Waringstown in 2008 and rivals only the village’s cricket team in terms of fame and accolades. McGraths Irish White Ale (Recipe No 3) is the pick of their expanding portfolio.
One of the newest kids on the block, this IPA, which is also from Whitewater Brewery, was launched earlier this month. It’s initially being showcased by the Hastings Hotel group. Maggie is well worth a leap of faith.
This pale ale comes from Station Works brewery in Newry. As a fan of Leicester City I had no choice but to be hooked by The Foxes Rock. Their other product Finn lager is also a force to be reckoned with.
Knockout Brewing began life in sixth months ago in East Belfast. Their punchy middleweight IPA is their pick of their stable of big hitters.
This co-op based outside Ballygowan has a core range of three beers. Just as you’d expect from a partnership made up of seven friends from the martial arts and punk rock scene, the taste is punchy and experimental.
Boundary Brewing in East Belfast became Northern Ireland’s first crowd-funded brewery when it was launched earlier this year. Inspired by the US craft beer revolution and traditional Belgian styles, Boundary have produced a winner with their American Pale Ale which sits nicely alongside their stronger IPA (7%) and Export Stout (7%)
Located between Randalstown and Ahoghill in County Antrim, Hillstown is a local farmshop which started selling bottled beers in 2014. Weighing in at a hefty 7% this is definitely one to swallow not spit.