Northern Ireland

A St. Patrick’s Day alternative

It’s been an interesting couple of months in the Northern Ireland beer scene.  Newcomer Bullhouse Brewing near Newtownards launched its first two beers, Boundary had its first birthday, Lacada released a cracking limited edition stout and there’s also a hot chocolate from Mourne Mountains?

Bullhouse is so called as the brewery used to be…a bullhouse.  But you knew that was coming, right?  Brewer Willy Mayne has been adventurous by starting off with an imperial coffee stout and a Comber potato infused saison!  If there are other spud based beers in Ireland, let me know as I don’t know of any.

Because I’ve never had a spud beer before I didn’t really know what to expect.  It’s of saison ilk, pours golden-amber and certainly one for the summer days ahead.  I got some slight potato-starchiness but I’m not sure if that was the placebo effect taking hold.  Anyway, Über Tuber is a great name for a spud beer.

On to the 8% abv El Capitan stout and this is great stuff.  Good body, slight coffee aroma and the coffee continues into the taste.  A good start from Bullhouse, and I love the artwork on the labels.

Co-operative brewery Lacada from Portrush also launched the first of their new limited edition Salamander Series: Utopian Stout. I had the privilege to taste this from cask when it was launched in Portrush town hall and I’d go as far to say this is one of my favourite new NI beers this year.  A very tasty stout – hints of chocolate and coffee with a slightly sweet edge.  The cask version was only available for the launch night, though it is available in 8% abv bottles around the north coast and in selected Belfast locations.


Mourne Mountains’ new 6% abv Chocolat Chaud is another dark hit.  Again as you would expect, choc and sweet coffee notes on the nose but this South Down stout has a very distinctive taste of clove and orange that mix well with the chocolate.  It reminded me slightly of their recent Pumpkin Porter but with a fuller stout body.

So this St Patrick’s day, there’s more of a stout to experience than just Guinness.  Give your taste buds the break they deserve and try one of the above.

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