Craft Beer: Bullhouse and Beer Hut pump up the jam with two fruit-based sours

Newtownards-based Bullhouse Brew Co's Double Raspberry and Blackberry Gose
Paul McConville

PRETTY soon, all those home-schooled children who have tested their parents' endless reserves of ingenuity over the past few months will be ‘dismissed' by their live-in teachers for the summer holidays and then a whole new world of worry over social distancing while playing out in the street all day will descend upon said parents.

Of course, summer holidays invariably conjure up our own memories of simpler times and one of mine is the summer afternoon strolls down the country roads near where we lived, plucking whatever resembled some sort of edible berry off the roadside hedgerow, not really caring that our hands were getting routinely punctured by the accompanying jags and thorns.

Bag enough hedgerow fruits and you could probably convince an obliging grown-up to chuck them all in a pot with a truckload of sugar and make some jam.

Of course, when you become a grown-up yourself, and a curious beer drinker at that, the fruits of your rural hedgerow can delight you in other ways.

Last Monday became a celebration of Northern Ireland's breweries in the guise of Beer Day NI, an initiative dreamt up by noted beer blogger Roy Willighan of Quare Swally fame. Not needing much of an excuse to relax with some of the finest local brews, I took the opportunity to sample a couple of fruity numbers from Bullhouse and BeerHut, purchased from the Drink Link in Newry.

First up was the Double Raspberry and Blackberry Gose from Newtownards-based Bullhouse. Now, with a gose you can expect a sour taste, and this one had plenty of that going on, but there was also a fair bit of sweet fruit bursting through too. The raspberry and blackberry gave a nice jammy feel with a tangy, tart edge.

Like most fruit-based and sour beers, this is beautifully refreshing too, with the lively carbonation giving it an almost sherbety feel in your mouth. There's a slight saltiness going on here too and it's all ridiculously drinkable for 5.5 per cent beer.

Beer Hut's Raspberry Slush doesn't whack the fruit right in your face as much as the Bullhouse offering, but the raspberry gives it a nice tart edge. Another with the lively carbonation you'd expect from a sour, that helps push the subtle flavours around the palate and this is 4.5 per cent beer is definitely one to be sunk on a hot summer's day, if we get any more of them.

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