Belfast Beer Week to show off best of local beer this bank holiday weekend
The first ever Belfast Beer Week is being launched by CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) NI, to show off the best of local, small and independent breweries in Belfast and beyond.
The event will give people the opportunity to explore and discover distinctive, tasty and local brews and brands which the group wants more people to try and get to know.
The pub-based beer festival kicks off this week and continues across the four day weekend. Events include:
- A showcase of fresh cask ales from Derry’s Rough Brothers brewery at the Deer’s Head in Belfast.
- Tap takeovers with local breweries including Lacada, Modest Beer, Norn Iron Brew Co, Boundary and Ards Brewing taking over taps in the likes of The Sunflower, The American Bar, The Errigle Inn and Northern Lights in Belfast, as well as The Wildfowler Inn in Greyabbey.
- Beer and food pairings at a range of venues in Belfast and Cookstown.
- Meet the Brewer events with Comber’s Farmageddon Brewing, Kilkeel’s Beer Hut Brewing and Derry’s Walled City Brewing, amongst others.
- A beery pub quiz at The Northern Lights on the Ormeau Road on 2nd June, accompanied by local beers from the Norn Iron Brew Co.
- Judging the Champion Beer of Belfast at the Northern Lights on Saturday night, the winner of which will go forward to compete in the Great British Beer Festival in London in August.
Full event listings are available online at https://camrani.org.uk/belfast-beer-week/
Speaking ahead of the launch of Belfast Beer Week, Chairperson of CAMRA NI Ruth Sloan said:
“We are a pint loving people but far too often it is difficult to find great local beer and cider from independent producers in our pubs.
“That’s why we’ve been teaming up with breweries, cider producers and great pubs in Belfast and beyond to offer these unique experiences, tastings and events to help people enjoy the best of what Northern Ireland’s beer scene has to offer. We really want people to go back to their local pubs and ask them to stock more Northern Irish beers because they want to buy them.
“We are particularly pleased to be promoting several events showcasing traditional cask ale – fresh, live beer which can be hard to find here. CAMRA NI is inviting everyone to find an event near them and to get involved in sampling the best local beer going this bank holiday weekend.”
The campaign group will also be using Belfast Beer Week to spread their call for NI’s archaic alcohol licensing system to be overhauled in order to unleash the cask ale, craft beer and micropub culture that has developed in GB and across Europe.
It comes as 1st June marks the introduction of a new law allowing breweries and cider producers to apply to sell their own products from a taproom on their production premises for 104 nights per year.
Speaking about the campaign to change the licensing system Ruth Sloan commented:
“The new producers licence introduced this year which allows our local breweries and cider makers to open a brewery shop and sell online for the first time, together with running a limited number of taprooms, is a step in the right direction.
“However, we desperately need a fundamental overhaul of our archaic licensing system if we are to unlock the potential of our great local pubs, breweries and cider makers and catch up with GB and the rest of Europe where micropubs, craft beer and cask ale is thriving.
“The restrictive ‘surrender principle’ in the current licensing system means no new licences have been created since 1902. This massively restricts consumer choice, stops new, small and specialist pubs opening and sees large global brewers dominate at the bar at the expense of small, independent and local breweries which are thriving elsewhere on these islands.
“The next Executive here must do more to support independent pubs and our local beer and cider makers so that locals and tourists alike can benefit from greater choice, and so Northern Ireland’s beer scene can catch up with the rest of Europe’s.”