Food & drink

Craft Beer: All points west... in south Down

Beer Hut's Interstellar is a 11 per cent beast
Paul McConville

LAST week's Assembly election threw up many stories and threads and if you are one of those nerdy types like me who likes to follow counts and quotas and marvel at the minute differences between getting elected, then you'll have been an avid refresher of the Irish News's excellent online election blog.

Of course, seasoned political followers will know their norths from their souths and easts from their wests.

They aren't the sort who learned the directions on the compass thanks to a rudimentary rhyme about a refusal to eat certain wholewheat biscuits for breakfast.

Our wee part of the world does throw up a few quirks, though, when it comes to directions.

Take Kilkeel for example. It's on the east coast, in south Down and has produced a sparkling IPA called Way Out West.

To be more specific, this is a west coast IPA, but we're not talking Donegal or Galway here, more like California and Oregon.

The Americans like to designate IPAs by coasts and it's usually the indigenous hops which give them their distinctive aromas and flavours.

For Way Out West, the guys at Beer Hut have used Columbus, Centennial and Cascade. This 5.6 per cent IPA pours an amber colour in the glass with a white head.

There are fresh and bright citrus aromas which really wake up the senses.

On the palate, it is juicy and piney, with hints of melon and orange, with a bitter edge which gives it a marmalade vibe.

There's a resinous quality to this one and although it has a slightly sharp, piney finish, it's balanced nicely by some sweet, biscuity malt.

Geographically speaking, the next one from Beer Hut I had this week couldn't be further apart.

Interstellar is a salted caramel imperial stout which has existed in a number of guise over the last year or two.

With updated can art, this 11 per cent beast pours into the glass with an oily consistency and jet black colour and tan head.

There's rich caramel malt flavours, with a hint of salt, but you also get strong yet smooth coffee notes and even a hint of dried fruit.

If you want to try some of these beers in their freshest form, then you could do a lot worse than get yourself down to Beer Hut's taproom in Kilkeel on Saturday May 21. Check their social media for more details.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Food & drink