Food & Drink

Craft Beer: Quad's in

Skipper & Orla is a 9.1 per cent Belgian quad from Boundary Brewery
Skipper & Orla is a 9.1 per cent Belgian quad from Boundary Brewery

A little over a year ago, Boundary Brewery announced plans to finally open a permanent taproom at their east Belfast.

A community share scheme helped raise the necessary £150,000 to turn their brewery, which had been at the forefront of running occasional taproom events, into a permanent bar, serving the freshest Boundary beer possible.

Boundary’s approach from day one has been rooted in the community, from their initial cooperative scheme to their willingness to throw open the doors of their new taproom as a meeting place for local community and sports clubs.

The taproom opened in November 2022, so why am I only writing about it now? Well to mark the opening, Boundary brewed a new beer and they didn’t do things by halves.

To herald a new chapter in the more than decade-long history of the brewery, they made a Belgian Quad called Skipper & Orla.

I’d only recently got my hands on a can, hence the belated review. However, a quad is something that will hold up over time, unlike a hop-crammed IPA which is best drunk at its freshest.

Skipper & Orla clocks in just north of 9 per cent ABV. It is aged in Calvados brandy barrels. Calvados is a type of apple brandy, native to Normandy, so this beer is a bit of French-Belgian alliance, although one which is nowhere near as problematic as Napoleon’s day.

Camper is a 4.8 per cent IPA
Camper is a 4.8 per cent IPA

The ageing not only gives a smoothness, but also lends it a slight sweet tinge of apple to all the other standard quad characteristics.

It pours a deep red, almost mahogany, colour in the glass. There’s loads of those sweet, dried fruit and malt bread aromas coming out and on first sip (this one really isn’t a gulper), you get flavours of raisin and apple with the fruity esters of the yeast bringing some banana to the party.

There’s a richness to this which, coupled to the strong ABV, makes it one to take your time over.

If time isn’t really a luxury you have available to you as far as beer drinking is concerned, then another recent Boundary offering may be more up your street.

Camper is a Session IPA, which comes in at a manageable yet robust 4.8 per cent. It’s a light amber colour in the glass and is very much in the mould of a West Coast IPA – lots of piney and citrus notes and bitter, crisp finish.

It fronts up with some sweet tangerine flavours, with the pronounced bitterness giving it a bit of marmalade vibe before the grapefruit kicks in all on top of a nice malty backbone.