Northern Ireland

Maiden Foyle (Mostly)

Derry, Londonderry, Legenderry, Maiden City, Stroke City (God bless broadcasting legend Gerry Anderson for that one), however you refer to that small city in the north west, it’s fair to say its local brewing scene has been doing reasonably well this past few years.

The excellent Walled City restaurant and brewery opened its doors in 2014 shortly after Northbound from nearby Campsie started brewing – that was quickly followed by O’Connor Craft Brewing in nearby Greysteel and then Dopey Dick from Derry city (now a contract brand) with Rough Brothers starting up commercially this year. More on the last two in a moment.

(A full list of breweries and brands in Northern Ireland can be seen here.)

Walled City Brewery‘s new 5% ABV stout takes the clever name of Foyster – derived from combining Foyle and Oyster. The brewery does have some great names in its repertoire; Cherry Londoncherry, Derry Milk and Beerexit to name a few.

Thanks to Walled City for sending me a sample. Foyster is a collaboration between the brewery and the city’s local beer festival, SippyFest, and is brewed using the Lough Foyle Irish Flat Oyster. Out of the bottle and into the glass produces a very appealing, dark roasty looking stout with a great thick head. It’s a little bit creamy, a little bit salty. Everything you’d expect from a good oyster stout.

Andrew Rough used to be a brewer at Walled City before going solo with his Rough Brothers project. I’ve already reviewed a few of his beers and the latest one to cross my path is a 5.5% ABV Oatmeal Stout.

The head disappeared after a few seconds but it looks appealingly thick and creamy. Sweet, burnt caramel start it off followed by dark and bitter chocolate shortly afterwards when it warms up a little bit. Despite initially looking thick when poured it’s actually thinner than hoped, a bit on the watery side. Let’s not open up that stout/porter debate again. Still, it’s a decent beer from a new brewery.

Let’s get the contract brand done. Dopey Dick’s Lager is, to all intents and purposes, Hillstown Brewery’s The Drunken Donkey lager as all Dopey’s beers are now brewed by the County Antrim outfit. I’ve already given my opinion on this situation here.

The 4.1% ABV lager itself is darker and maltier than I expected, more Bavarian in colour like a Märzen beer and has potential to scare off the Harp or Carlsberg drinkers. Another one where the head didn’t last long but it’s a tasty wee number. Low level peachiness coupled with a hint of Seville orange marmalade flavour makes this a brew that the aforementioned macro lager drinkers should try out when they see it.

Northbound Brewery and O’Connor Craft Beer complete the quintet of north west breweries/brands in the city’s area though a hundred yards just across the Donegal border in Muff, what used to be Boghopper is now part of Yellowbelly/Otterbank.