Northern Ireland

Derry/Londonderry New Beer

For most beery people in Northern Ireland, Huddersfield in West Yorkshire would only mean the home of the acclaimed Magic Rock brewery. Now there’s a second point about the town that you can throw into the conversation.

Former brewer at Londonderry’s Walled City restaurant and brewery, Andrew Rough, is also from the English town and has now taken the plunge to go solo with the creation of Rough Brothers Brewery. The good people of Derry may already be aware of Andrew’s venture as it’s been on the go since March of this year.

I had the good fortune to be in the area a few weeks back, enjoying a bit of footgolf as you do (you should try it, it’s super craic) and Andrew very kindly provided a few bottles when we briefly met up.

First off is Me-Kong Street Beer, a 5% ABV pale ale-cum-IPA brewed with Japanese Sorachi Ace hops and only found in the city’s MeKong Asian restaurant.

The head worringly thinned away quickly after pouring and it looks like lemon barley water but those familiar Sorachi qualities of lemon rind and dill come to the fore immediately on the tongue. Me-Kong is a crisp and tasty beer. Exactly the kind you’d want to accompany Vietnamese chilli king prawns or chicken pad Thai. So what are you waiting for? Next time you’re in the north-west, grab a table.

An IPA next. It’s a little bit stronger than Me-Kong at 5.6% ABV and initially dollops a great whack of bitterness on your tongue. This is quickly mellowed out by a fresh, grassy and lemon quality that is followed soon after by a little bit of light and funky pepperiness. If you’re a fan of saisons, then this IPA should appeal.

Finally, it appears no new Irish brewery can really say they’re an Irish brewery until they brew a red ale, right? It seems that way; for whatever reason is beyond me. So ploughing on into the obligatory category, this 4.5% ABV red’s head dissipates as quickly as the Me-Kong and the beer itself is a glorious deep copper colour. There’s the expected roastiness with a gentle sparkle at the back of the tongue. I could easily see this doing well as a cask beer. Maybe that’s a future intention?

A steady start then for Rough Brothers brewery and I wish Andrew well.

PS – a raised glass if you correctly guess the number of his brothers involved.




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