Craft Beer: ABV Fest returns to Belfast's Carlisle Memorial Church

Carlisle Memorial Church in north Belfast is the venue for September's ABV Fest where an impressive array of craft beers is promised
Paul McConville

NO SOONER is summer upon us than shops are reminding us of how fleeting it is. Back-to-school offers usually start popping up before the previous school year is even finished with eyes firmly fixed on the start of September.

Well, beer lovers have every reason to look forward to the opening days of September as the summer's end is eased by ABV Fest, a celebration of craft beers from Ireland and further afield.

Now in its third year, the festival of flavours returns to the Carlisle Memorial Church in Belfast where a dizzying array of beers will be on offer.

Once again, the organisers are promising some never-been-poured-here brews, although are guarding the identity of said beers with their life... for now anyway.

There will also be limited tasting sessions with some of the finest brewers and beer writers (ie people who actually know what they're talking about) and some cracking grub to soak up the ales.

The festival takes place over three sessions on September 1 and 2 with 30 rotating taps dispensing some cracking beers.

"We always set out to find the most interesting beer available to us, and what we hope is that people will enjoy it in a very special location in the company of friends, and strangers who will become friends throughout the festival weekend," said ABVFest organiser Michael Kerr.

Fellow organiser Felicia Matheson added: "We make it our mission to have the most exciting, unique beer lists possible across our three sessions."

The only way to get through the huge wooden doors at the Carlisle Memorial Church is to buy tickets in advance at


THE newest offering from Wicklow siblings O Brother certainly packs a punch. Brutus is an imperial IPA which clocks in just north of 9 per cent – and boy can you taste it.

But there's also lots of flavour crammed in there too. It pours an almost dark amber colour and gives off tropical aromas of mango and pineapple. It is a pretty juicy number, with those tropical flavours to the fore, but there's also an epic sweetness to it. It's almost like a candy floss kind of sweetness.

Given the strength and intensity of flavour, it's not too far off a barley wine. It comes in a 330ml can, which is more than plenty.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 for the first month to get full access