Belfast · Northern Ireland

Old Kid on a Different Block

The first Belfast Craft Beer Festival took place recently at Custom House Square.  Run by the same folk who are responsible for the Irish Craft Beer Festival at the RDS in Dublin, it was good to see another festival in our capital.  Great to have so many Irish brewers from both north and south of the border all in one place – as well as beer, cider and whiskey there were some tasty food selections on offer too; pies, curries, burgers, pizza, cheese. That’ll do nicely.  Thankfully the rain stayed away although it was still baltic! Maybe next year have an enclosed marquee?

Below are a few of my highlights of the festival…included in the list but minus photos are Farmageddon’s cask Impy Porter and keg Wolf IPA .

First up and on cask, a new barrel aged red from O’Hara’s.  As you would expect, smoother than the standard red with lots of vanilla up front.

O’Hara’s Barrel Aged Irish Red – 7.5% ABV

Next, another new one from co-op brewery Lacada in Portrush.  Made with the addition of ivy honey from the brewer’s own beehive.  Some honey beers have a hint of sweetness, not this one.  Boom!  Honey to the fore, a real cracker.

Lacada’s Ivy Honey – 7.5% ABV

Another corker and at this strength, a triple red IPA to be greatly respected.  So called as it’s the first brew by new Galway Bay head brewer Will and last by outgoing Chris.  A total hopbomb.

Galway Bay’s Change of the Guard – 11.5% ABV

One of the few bottles I had during the fest and I was so happy to see this as I’d been wanting to have it for a good while.  From Carrickmacross in Co Monaghan, Brehon’s Shanco Dubh porter is as smooth as Roger Moore’s Bond with lots of coffee and dark chocolate going on and a hint of sweetness.  More please!

Brehon’s Shanco Dubh Porter – 7.7% ABV
From just outside Derry/Londonderry (whatever, ffs) another wee hop sensation.  70 represents its IBU bitterness (as do all Northbound beers – 08, 26, 33, 34, 47 & 70)

Northbound’s Magnum 70 – 6% ABV


Bar of the tent goes to Hillstown Brewery.

Again congrats to the organisers and thanks to all the brewers for the craic and pints.  Here’s to 2017.

4 thoughts on “Old Kid on a Different Block

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