To say craft beer has experienced a boom in Northern Ireland in the past couple of years would be an understatement.
It’s hard to keep up with who’s who in the craft beer world so to that end we profile 4 breweries, both new and established, who have just launched new beers that we’d highly recommend you get a sip of sooner rather than later.
Their beers contain only water, malt, hops, yeast and knowledge
There are plenty of people who claim to know their beers, but few have the qualifications to prove it. David Rogers is the only qualified Master Brewer who is at the helm of an independently owned craft brewery in the island of Ireland. He achieved a Diploma in Brewing in 2008 and went on to become an IBD (Institute of Brewing and Distilling) Master Brewer, in 2013, one of only 12 to qualify globally.
Northbound was born in 2012 when Martina and David Rogers returned from nine years in Sydney, Australia, where David worked in a local brewery.
They started selling beers from their microbrewery in Campsie in April 2015 and now their beers are available all over Ireland.
They say the business came about thanks to destiny and the love of beer.
The four beers that have on offer right now are Kolsch Style Beer (Great Taste Award winner), Pale Ale, Sticke Alt and Limited Release IPA.
It may be cloudy – harden up – it’s craft beer
The new Double IPA from Farmageddon is so new that we don’t have a picture of it yet. But trust us, it’s going to be pretty damn amazing when it launches the week after Christmas.
Weighing in at an almighty 8.5% it’s Farmageddon’s strongest brew to date. It also notches up as massive 118 on the IBU scale. For non-beer geeks that means it’s incredibly bitter.
The three hops used in the brewing process – Sorachi, Equinox and Galaxy – are incredibly rare and create a flavour the like of which you’ll never have experienced before.
Eoin Wilson said: “We brewed this beer for ourselves. It’s going to be a challenge for some people but for those who like double IPA it’s going to be something special.
“We’ve been working incredibly hard for the past six months to allow us to expand and be able to make beers like the double IPA. It’s a very exciting time for the Farmageddon co-op.”
The legend awakens
Gallopers Craft Beer is the brainchild of 26 year old Belfast entrepreneur Declan Holmes and in just a few short months it has not only achieved significant listings in the trade throughout Northern Ireland he has plans to bring the brand to the export market.
The man himself is getting a few second glances as he goes out and about to promote his beer. That’s because he bears more than a passing resemblance to his famous father Eamonn Holmes!
Declan said: “Actually the Gallopers name was my dad’s suggestion when we were brainstorming what would be a recognisable Northern Ireland brand. His mother used to threaten him and my uncles that they had to be home at night before Galloper Thompson got them!
“I’m delighted that the headless horseman legend is getting a new lease of life with a younger generation, but the most important thing is that people like the taste and come back for more.”
“Entrepreneurial spirit runs in the family so I’m determined to make this a success not just in Northern Ireland but to take the legend of Galloper into Great Britain and further afield. So watch this space,” said Declan.
Gallopers Golden Ale passes the post at a steady 4.3%.
Handcrafted local ales
In the hills outside Newtownards, homebrewer turned microbrewer Willy Mayne has been busy turning a historical former bull’s house into Bullhouse Brewing Company, an innovative microbrewery aiming for an early 2016 launch.
Willy has managed to find a use for modified dairy equipment to maintain rural authenticity on the 100 year old farm. Bullhouse are planning on launching with an Imperial Stout and a Farmhouse Saison, turning speciality local ingredients into flavourable experiences.
The blurred image of the beer label in the photo above is deliberate. This product is so top secret that we’d been hunted down and given third degree Chinese burns if we revealed any more details about it.