Craft Beer: ABV Fest back with some bottle

Carlisle Memorial Church is once again the venue for this year's celebration of all things beer related, the ABF Fest
Paul McConville

IF YOU have been to ABV Fest in the past you'll know that the organisers work tirelessly to bring you the best and most interesting beers, including some pretty darn tasty exclusive pours, conjured up by brewers from across Ireland, the UK and even further afield.

If you have never been to ABV Fest before, then stop what you are doing right now and go and grab some tickets at go on, I'll wait...

Right, ready? OK, so seasoned ABV attendees will know that every year sees a welcome tweak to the format of this already great festival. This year's event runs on Friday and Saturday September 6 and 7 with the grand and dramatic setting of the Carlisle Memorial Church in Belfast once again the venue.

Now in its fifth year, the festival will once again feature a wide array of over 30 beer on tap, ranging from light and fruity session pale ales right up to sumptuous double-digit-strength barrel-aged stouts and everything in between. There'll be beers specially brewed for the festival, collaborations and some brews which you rarely see on draught on these shores.

It can all be a bit overwhelming if you are new to it but thankfully the bar is manned by volunteers who have a great passion for beer and can dispense sage advice as to what you might like and what is worth trying.

One of my own personal favourites last year was the cask bar, which makes a welcome return this time around and there's also the beer cocktail bar too, if you fancy something a bit different.

This year's new addition is the bottle bar but this is no ordinary bottle bar – this is a bottle bar feature big generous, sharing bottles from the likes of Burning Sky, Belgian brewers De Struise and Drie Foneteninen, US brewers Great Divide and LoverBeer all the way from Italy.

Again, you will be expertly guided here as to which bottles to plump for before a cork is pulled or a cap removed.

As with previous years, there will be a delicious range of food to soak up all that glorious beer, from noodles to burgers and from cheese and charcuterie to oysters.

The only downside to this wonderful celebration of beer is that it will nigh on impossible to sample every beer on offer, but sure give it a good shot.

:: Info and tickets at

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