Life

Craft Beer: Well we're brewing more beer so it makes sense to have more beer fests

Galway Bay, whose Belfast bar Northern Lights is celebrating its first birthday
Paul McConville

FESTIVALS are for the summer, right? Well not quite and when you consider that Irish craft beer, north and south, is literally a 365-days-a -ear thing (I just know there's brewers filling fermentation tanks in Christmas Day) it's no surprise that events celebrating the best of beer on the island show no signs of winding down as the year dwindles to a close.

The fortunes of the two international football teams may be enough to drive you to drink, but it's good to see the Irish craft beer is continuing to punch well above its weight on the world stage.

Today in Belfast, the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Gordon Street will play host to the Cathedral Quarter Craft Beer & Gin Festival and when it comes to getting the best local brewing talent on board, they haven't missed and hit the post.

Farmageddon, Hillstown, Bullhouse, Samuel's, Knockout, O'Connor Brewing and Mourne Mountains will all be in attendance with the guys from Mourne Mountains debuting a new imperial oatmeal stout at the festival, something sure to warm your cockles on a chilly autumn evening.

Galway Bay have been in the big leagues in Irish brewing for some time now and have been operating a number of pubs ‘down south' for a number of years. However, they didn't make their first foray into the north until last year.

Now their Belfast bar Northern Lights, which occupies the former site of Brewbot on the Ormeau Road, has turned one year old and to celebrate they are naturally having a party – well, more of a festival.

To mark their first 12 months up north, Northern Lights are holding a two-day Northern Ireland beer festival on their premises on October 26 and 27. There will be beers from around 20 Northern Ireland brewers, as well as talks (including homebrewing tips so you don't burn down the garage), tasting sessions and a showcase of some of the finest local food too.

They even promise some family friendly fun on Saturday evening so you can even bring the kids along to the pub and not feel guilty about it.

So if you have some extra time on your hands over the couple of weekends, why not throw your support behind your local brewers and get along to these events.

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