Northern Ireland

A Twisted Kettle for Christmas

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome new Donaghadee setup Twisted Kettle to the Northern Irish microbrewery scene. I’ve been following its social media presence for a couple of years now and am really pleased brewer Jamie has managed to get his first commercial brew out into the wild.

Lost Horizon is a 6.2% ABV coffee milk stout. The label says Mocaccino milk stout but let’s not get overly posh about it. It looks lovely and thick in the glass and is almost jet black. Me likey. A faint coffee aroma but on initial sip it’s all about the lactose milk. The coffee is there but the milkiness dominates. It reminds me of one of those milky coffees your granny used to give you as a kid before bed – no wonder I didn’t sleep. Those were the days before anyone in Northern Ireland had heard of a latte.

So, yes, the milk is forefront until, wait, hold on. I’m half way down the glass and… hello there coffee! It’s like a game of two halves. The coffee got a half-time bollocking from the manager and is showing up for the second half. Maybe it needed stirring with a spoon. It’s a warming stout and an enjoyable effort for a first brew. Fair play.

Mourne Mountains Brewery from Warrenpoint has a couple of new brews out over Christmas, an imperial stout Hoops and Staves and a Czech-style Baníck Pilsner. Both were included in a quad pack they very kindly gave me and let’s have a look at the 5.2% ABV pils.

First thing of note is the tasty, full biscuit quality which is followed by a touch of black pepper spice. There’s also a sniff of lemon and lime in there. It’s a rollercoaster of a ride for what’s perceived to be a simple beer. A glorious rollercoaster of ups and more ups – no downers here. I love a really good pilsner and this is ticking all my boxes. If you get to try one pils from an NI brewery, make it this one. The only criticism I have is that I only had one bottle. Dammit.

From Belfast, Boundary are pumping out the new beers on what seems like a weekly basis. Crowdfunding and site expansion allow that to happen of course. One of the new beers is a imperial gose with apricot, raspberry and vanilla, Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should. It’s not your traditional thirst-quenching type of guzzling gose as this is a sipper at 8% ABV.

It looks thick and dense in the glass and is initally full of sharp and sour apricot and peach with a smattering of melon that leads on to a smooth raspberry ripple underbelly. Imagine taking a peachy version of A Berliner Vice and mixing it with Screwball. Does it work? Maybe. It’s certainly different.

Finally, to Kilkeel and one of the new beers enjoyed at Beer Hut‘s taproom. Hi-Fi is the new bigger brother of the really good Lo-Fi. The little bro is a belter of a 2.9% ABV micro IPA and reminiscent of Whiplash’s Northern Lights so I was really looking forward to Hi-Fi. It really was everything I wanted and expected.


It’s 6.5% ABV and labelled as a New England IPA so it’s hazy, creamy and incredibly smooth. However they’re all secondary qualities after the mahoosive mango punch to the face! Wow. This is a great beer and worthy of standing alongside Lo-Fi. Just like Vic and Bob or Ade and Rik, what a double act.

I hope you have some great beers over Christmas. Be appreciative of the positive things in your life, check up with elderly neighbours for a friendly hello, enjoy the company of friends and family and let me know what you’re drinking over the festive period.