The Belfast Craft Beer Festival runs on the May 31st and June 1st 2019, Custom House Square.
After a sellout event last year, the Belfast Craft Beer Festival is back and they are bringing an EVEN bigger Irish Gin Garden! Taking over Custom House Square on May 31st & June 1st the festival is ready to set the city’s taste buds alight!
Whether it is a delicious craft beer or a tasty gin cocktail that tickles your fancy, guests can relax in the atmospheric marquee or sit back under the stars in the beautiful surroundings of Custom House Square, right in the heart of Belfast city. There will be a selection of cocktails featuring Irish favourites Dingle Distillery, Gunpowder Irish Gin, Glendalough Distillery as well as Northern Ireland’s very own Boatyard Distillery. You will also have the chance to taste some of the nation’s favorite craft beers and ciders along with lots of festival specials, new beers being launched as well as seasonal twists on household favourites! You are sure to find something you love.
Along with the local heroes, a number of international breweries will be joining this year’s line-up; the lion and bear from California – Firestone Walker, a modern brewery from rural Somerset – The Wild Beer Co, based in the heart of Manchester is Marble Brewery and coming from Maine in the USA we will have Mason’s Brewing Company.
Launched in 2016, the Belfast Craft Beer Festival creates an opportunity for thousands of local craft beer enthusiasts to learn more about craft beers, ciders and gins and to engage with local Irish brewers on Ireland’s rich brewing heritage and current phenomenal growth rates. The continued growth and enthusiasm surrounding the festival is testimony to the nations increasing interest and appreciation of local, high quality brewing and distilling.
With over 200 craft beers and ciders, delicious food from some of Northern Ireland’s premier street food providers including Bella’s Pizzas, Street Dogs, The Mexican Street Kitchen and Wolf & Devour, plus live music each night, it is sure to be two fun filled days in Custom House Square. The craic will most certainly be mighty.
The Festival takes place on May 31st & June 1st, 2019. Tickets are on sale NOW, with a special early bird offer of two for the price of one. This offer is strictly limited so early purchase is advised to avoid disappointment. Normal ticket price is £10 per person and this year there is the option to add additional tokens to your tickets.
Participating Irish breweries include:
Firestone Walker Brewing Company (California), Hilden Brewing Co (Antrim), Hillstown Brewery (Antrim), Kinnegar Brewing Co (Donegal), Larkins Brewing Co (Wicklow), Lough Gill Brewing Co (Sligo), O’Hara’s (Carlow Brewing Company) (Carlow), Manchester Marble Brewery (Manchester, UK), Mason’s Brewing Co (Maine, USA), The Wild Beer Co (Somerset, UK), Trouble Brewing (Kildare), Craigies Irish Cider (Wicklow), Falling Apple (Carlow), Long Meadow Cider (Armagh), Mac Ivors Cider (Armagh) and Toby’s Cider (Armagh).
Beer isn’t your thing? Taste some of the local spiritual delights – joining this year’s line-up is Boatyard Distillery, Dingle Distillery Gunpowder Irish Gin and Glendalough Distillery.
Tickets can be purchased through www.belfastcraftbeerfest.com
Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Calafornia)
- Founded in 1996 by brothers-in-law Adam Firestone and David Walker, Firestone Walker Brewing Company is a pioneering regional craft brewery located on the coast of California.
- Their state-of-the-art brewery in Paso Robles produces a diverse portfolio ranging from iconic pale ales to vintage barrel-aged beers. Their Barrelworks facility in Buellton makes eccentric wild ales, while the Propagator pilot brewhouse in Venice specializes in R&D beers.
- In 2015, they combined with another family-owned brewery, Duvel Moortgat, to help pave the way for their next 20 years and beyond. With deep roots in the Central Coast, they employ numerous sustainable practices that reflect our commitment to the local community and landscape.
Hilden Brewing Co (Antrim)
- Their craft beer takes a little bit longer to brew than others. Selecting only the finest ingredients and handcrafting the traditional process demands patience. But 35 years? That’s how long they have been making their full flavoured beers, improving and perfecting them year after year. It makes them the oldest independent brewery in Ireland and those who drink their beer agree it’s been time well spent.
- Their aim is uncomplicated: inspire people to taste and appreciate craft beer and to enjoy good company while doing so. All of their beers are available on draught at different times of the year.
Hillstown Brewery (Antrim)
- Their Irish craft beer brewery has come a long way since its inception in 2013. Their handcrafted beers have gone from strength to strength, recently rebranded but with the same great taste. They believe their collaboration beer has struck something special and the feedback has been amazing.
- Only the finest Ingredients are used, with carefully selected local Irish base malts combined with the best European speciality malts. The freshest hops are sourced direct from the hop farmer & their yeast flown on ice from the other side of the world
- Consistency in high quality beers is their main focus, they use the best ingredients they can get from all around the globe. Full traceability is documented throughout production.
- They currently brew with a Brewiks Brewing system, a Slovenian company who have a focus on boutique equipment that is the finest quality of hand craftsmanship.
Kinnegar Brewing Co (Donegal)
- At Kinnegar they pair brewing tradition with a contemporary sense of adventure to produce clean, crisp, full-flavoured farmhouse beers. The brewery is named after the nearby Kinnegar Beach just north of Rathmullan in County Donegal.
- Their roots are deeply embedded in the hilly fields and farms of northeast Donegal. This is the perfect environment for the way they make beer. They don’t filter or pasteurise, they let their industrious little friends, the yeast, carbonate the beer naturally during fermentation.
- With the opening of K2, their new state-of-the-art facility in nearby Letterkenny in March 2017, the clinking of bottles coming off their line no longer mingles with the bleating of sheep from the surrounding fields. The farmhouse ethos at the core of what they do however remains the same.
Larkins Brewing Co (Wicklow)
- Launched fully to market in 2018
- Want to show just what lager-style beers can offer along with an a big juicy IPA and refreshing hoppy Pale Ale within their core range.
Lough Gill Brewing Co (Sligo)
- Located in the Doorley Park area of Sligo close to the shores of Lough Gill which is also its water source & main ingredient in all the beers.
- Philosophy is to brew the best beer using the best ingredients and where possible to add some local indigenous ingredients to the brews.
O’Hara’s (Carlow Brewing Company)
- Established in 1996 and one of the pioneers of Irish craft brewing. Located in the heart of Ireland’s traditional malt-growing “Barrow Valley” region that has strong historical links to the Irish brewing industry, this award winning, family run brewery has been one of the leading lights of craft brewing in Ireland for over 20 years.
- Sustainability is a vital part of the brewery ethos and as part of the company sustainability strategy the spent grain from the brewery is sent out to local farms including the O’Hara family farm. With the launch of the O’Hara’s steel pint cup in 2018 the brewery has taken there sustainability strategy further by attempting to reduce the use of single use plastics at festivals
- A big supporter of independent Irish music with 2018 seeing sponsorship of Bare in the Woods, Castlepalooza, and Another Love Story. As well as the Dublin Blues, Roots & Brass Festival in Whelan’s the brewery support the monthly indie clubnight ‘SOMA’ in Whelan’s, and a new season of ‘Future Proof’ their series with Nialler 9 and Homebeat which shines a light on the most exciting new Irish music around.
Manchester Marble Brewery (Manchester UK)
- Brewing up a storm since 1997, Marble Brewery is a microbrewery based in the heart of Manchester, UK.
- They specialise in innovative cask, keg, can and bottled beer, as well as revitalising historic British styles.
- At the helm is Head Brewer, Joe Ince, who is leading the brewery’s new range of hop forward beers, barrel ageing programme, and exciting new events. The brewery was originally housed in the rear of The Marble Arch Inn, and comprised of a four-and-a-half-barrel plant installed by Brendan Dobbin.
- The brewhouse was situated behind glass observation windows, where curious drinkers could view their beer being created. Due to increased production, the brewery expanded in 2009 to twelve-barrel capacity, seeing production up sticks and move to a railway arch a short distance away and creating Manchester’s first railway arch brewery.
Mason’s Brewing Company (Maine, USA)
- Mason’s Brewing Company is a 20bbl specialty craft brewery, located on the historical Penobscot River in the City of Brewer, Maine, USA.
- With a comprehensive understanding of the brewing process (through years of experience), their founding members have an intense dedication to the craft and place quality above everything else. Regardless of the style, true beer lovers know that one excellent pint will always be more enjoyable than three inferior ales.
- They take pride in creating the perfect beer with precision, hard work and quality ingredients, whether they are reinventing a traditional style or creating a new, exhilarating taste.
Trouble Brewing (Kildare)
- Trouble Brewing was founded in 2010 when three friends, Thomas Prior, Stephen Clinch and Paul O Connor had visited one too many pubs that had no variety in the beers available.
- They decided that something needed to be done about it. So over a few of Thomas’s home-brewed bottles they set about starting a brewery that would go some way to addressing the issue. Since then they have been at the forefront of the new generation of Craft Breweries producing interesting and exciting Irish beers.
- A 100% Irish-owned brewery located in Kill, Co. Kildare. We’re dedicated to producing distinctive and outstanding beer from only natural ingredients.
- Figuring that beer should be presented in a humorous and fun way, they chose to name the brewery Trouble Brewing.
The Wild Beer Co (Somerset, UK)
- Based on a farm in rural Somerset, The Wild Beer Co was born out of a love of fermentation, barrel-ageing and most importantly, flavour
- Unconstrained by stylistic guidelines and led by flavour, they celebrate traditional techniques whilst embracing a sense of modernity in their brewing. They want to give you a truly memorable drinking experience, altering your perceptions of beer and thrilling your taste buds.
- The wild nature of their beers is seen in the use of alternative fermentations, unorthodox yeasts, seasonally-foraged ingredients and the use of esoteric and exotic produce from far and wide. Set against the backdrop of the Somerset countryside, we are a true farmhouse brewery.
Craigies Irish Cider (Carlow)
- Craigies Cider, Irish craft cider made in County Carlow has 7 varieties, 6 growers over 5 counties and is 100% Irish. From seed to tree and from soil to season our aim is to express the unique characteristics of Ireland’s magnificent apple orchards.
- No added water, no added sugar, just pure apple juice, passionately crafted into fine, complex ciders.
- We make our ciders using the juice of 100% pressed, Irish-grown apples and never from concentrate. Our ciders are vintage – we make them once a year – vegan, naturally gluten free, and made from apples grown in some of the best orchards in the world.
Falling Apple (Carlow)
- Falling Apple Cider is made entirely from pressed apples and is available now on draught throughout Ireland. As only original cider apples are used in the making of this cider, it holds a fine balance of sweet, dry and bitter flavours making this a truly unique drink.
Long Meadow Cider (Armagh)
- The Long Meadow is part of our farm which has been owned by the McKeever family for three generations.
- Through our stewardship, we have focussed on Bramley apple production, but each generation of our family has also had a policy of growing a mix of varieties and using different planting processes to further refine the apples we use.
- Each generation has passed on different methods and traditions to the next; from Peter (Senior) to Patrick to Peter (Junior) in order to grow and produce the perfect apples on our home farm. Our cider is pressed and fermented naturally by both father and son; Pat and Peter McKeever.
- Long Meadow Cider was established in 2013 and has blossomed with success since then – the awards we have received over the last three years are a result of an ambitious diversification programme by both Pat and Peter.
- We take care of the apples from pruning through to blossom and harvest and right up until the finished cider product is delivered to the customer’s premises.
- We only use pure pressed apple juice; we do not use concentrates, chemicals, or added water which we understand some bulk producers of cider and/or juice in Ireland and other countries have been claimed to do.
Mac Ivors Cider (Armagh)
- Their farm was established in 1855 in the townland of Ardress, their cider takes its name from their Cider Maker, Greg Mac Neice’s grandmother Annie Mac Ivor.
- Farming over 100 acres of prime Armagh orchard, packing and processing the apples grown and now making great craft cider too.
- At Mac Ivors, they love apples, Cider making is all about the apples and maintaining their delicate flavour and aroma through the fermentation process. It is about taking different apple varieties and producing a balanced blend that is so much more than the sum of its parts.
- Together with their growers, they choose not only what varieties they pick for Mac Ivors Cider, but crucially when they are picked for optimum ripeness and how they are handled at harvest time.
- To the freshly pressed juice from these ripe apples they add a unique cold-fermenting yeast. Their yeast strain has been isolated from apples and has been chosen to preserve natural fruit aroma and to produce cider that tastes of real apples.
- Their base ciders are matured for at least six months and then blended to achieve the perfect balance.
Toby’s Cider (Armagh)
- Craig and his brother Chris have been making cider for years for friends and family, all from apples grown locally around the historic orchard county of Armagh.
- In 2008 Craig decided to take a big step and become an artisan cider maker, bringing our handcrafted Armagh cider to the public in the form of Toby’s Handcrafted Cider.
- Our artisan cider is hand crafted from 100% apples, all grown within walking distance of the farm located in the heart of Orchard County, Armagh.
- The cider is handcrafted using traditional methods which have been used for hundreds of years. From apple tree to bottle, our craft cider is made completely within the historic Orchard county of Armagh.
Boatyard Distillery (Fermanagh)
- The Boatyard Distillery is an award-winning farm-to-bottle distillery located on the banks of Lough Erne in north west Ireland.
- Only the best organic ingredients have been chosen for each of their products with the terroir of the land at the forefront of each new spirit.
- Their gin botanical, Sweet Gale, is foraged from the family bog and the wheat used for their vodka can be traced from the bottle back to the very field it came from.
- Founder, Joe McGirr, has utilised his background in spirits and whisky knowledge to build his dream of the first legal distillery in Fermanagh in over 130 years.
- Joe’s dream to build a distillery in the place in which he grew up was inspired by his family’s rich farming history – from grandad Brian who was a ploughing contractor to father Michael who was a dairy and beef farmer.
- It’s great to now be able to give something back to the land; all of their spent grain from their spirits go back to the land and the cows.
- Agronomy of the land is important to us at Boatyard, it allow us to capture the character of Fermanagh in our spirits”.
Dingle Distillery (Dingle)
- The Dingle Whiskey Distillery was crafted and conceived by three independent spirits: Oliver Hughes; Liam LaHart and Peter Mosley. Oliver, Liam and Peter are the people behind Porterhouse Brewing Company; one of the pioneers of craft brewing in Ireland in 1996.
- The Dingle Whiskey Distillery came into being in the cold winter of 2012. Ireland was beginning to come out of the greatest recession in many people’s memory. However unbeknownst to many, the most significant event in the Irish whiskey industry in decades was happening in a tin shed in the town of Dingle, Co. Kerry.
- Witnessed by few, the first Dingle Whiskey Casks were filled on the 18th December 2012. Three years and a day later on the 19th December 2015, one cask, Cask No. 2 was released. Our whiskey was born. Our distillery was ready.
- We have always had quality over quantity at the forefront of our thoughts. We never had any interest in distilling enormous quantities of bland whiskey. To achieve the flavours we want to achieve in our whiskey, we use three distinctive, hand-crafted copper pot stills to create what we believe is the ultimate Irish whiskey. Their distinctive design, incorporating a boil ball, encourages reflux and has much to do with the remarkable smoothness and purity of our spirit. We use a small, swan neck pot still to achieve our desired effect on our award-winning Gin and Vodka.
Glendalough Distillery (Wicklow)
- The Glendalough Distillery was set up by a group of friends from Wicklow and Dublin with a passion for reviving the heritage of craft distilling in Ireland.
- To make their gins, they forage wild plants from the mountains around the distillery. What’s picked goes fresh into the still within hours.
- All the plants are sustainably foraged by one person, every day they distil. (In fact, they think they might be the only distillery in the world that employs a full-time forager).
- The plants are then painstakingly slow-distilled to tease out delicate flavours, in tiny batches of less than 250 litres. The cut-points are decided batch by batch, by smell and taste (never timed or automated) as if each batch is the first.
- This brings flavour to a whole other level. The knowledge, experience and man-hours in each bottle are what make this liquid so special.
Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin (Leitrim)
- Through the year’s PJ Rigney has taken many journeys from the familiar into terra incognita.
- In deepest rural Ireland, on the edge of a lake in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim, is the home of The Shed Distillery and PJ Rigney. PJ created The Shed Distillery with its medieval copper pot stills, and began a quest to fuse oriental botanicals with the local Irish ones.
- As it turned out, they got on very well indeed. The result of this passionate exploration is Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin – unique, extraordinary and remarkable, all bottled and labelled by local hands at the distillery.