It all started with Inishmacsaint.
I’ve been a fan of the Fermanagh beer for a while now and wanted to know more about the Lough Erne island here in Northern Ireland which bears its name, the cross and 6th century monastic remains. Also, as I live over two hours drive away I had no idea of exactly where it was. Praise the Lord for the internet. After much searching I found the exact location.
I became intrigued by the island and thought it would be a great idea to take a photo of the beer bottle in front of the church sign on the island.
Then in a second I began planning similar photos for other Northern Ireland locally produced bottles of beer. Thoughts like Ards Ballyblack stout on the Ballyblack Rd Newtownards, the malty mild Hilden Halt at Hilden railway halt near Lisburn, the Cathedral Quarter pale ale at St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast etc…
A bit nerdy and sad, yeah, but what the heck. It would be a bit of fun. What was even better, my new wife and fellow beer drinker Gillian said she would come with me on my placename quest, so surely it couldn’t have been that pathetic an idea?
So the adventure was on. First two to be done were Belfast Lager at a “Welcome to Belfast” sign (there’s a similar sign on the M2 motorway outside the city but maybe that wasn’t the best place to stop for a photo!) and College Green Belfast Blonde at College Green, Belfast (technically yes, College Green is the brewery name rather than the beer but this is my quest, right?)
Others followed in a matter of days like Ards Ballyblack, Whitewater’s deep and fruity Clotworthy Dobbin at Antrim’s Clotworthy Arts Centre; the fresh Clanconnel Weaver’s Gold at Weaver’s Court; and a quartet of Hilden after indulging myself and taking a trip to the Hilden brewery. Hilden Halt; Scullions at Scullions Rd, Mallusk; Cathedral Quarter at St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast and Titanic beer outside the Titanic Visitor Centre.
After talking to Charles from Ards Brewing at the Belfast Beer Festival, I’m hopeful that he’ll produce another batch of the west coast-esque Pig Island pale ale soon – I’ve just to find out where it is! According to him, it’s one of the smallest islands in Strangford Lough and the name reflects the size of his business. It’s quite small. So my fun continues… Anyone got a boat?
Oh yeah, I still haven’t been to Inishmacsaint!