The Tuesday Stat Attack: 4 Northern Ireland

Hi everyone, our fourth country is famous for Sectarian Violence, building a ship that sank on it’s maiden voyage and a Giants Causeway. To be fair Belfast is lovely (mostly) and The Titanic Experience well worth the effort of going.

There are currently 34 breweries still producing with 12 closed according to RateBeer. Boundary Brewing leading the way beer wise with 214 registered on here, by far the most prolific.

@AshtonMcCobb tops the leader board with 286 ratings, @Beersiveknown being the local who has rated the most beers overall, although he appears to have stopped rating on here in 2018. Just 29 rates would see your name appear on the aforementioned leader board.

Northern Ireland was split into 6 Counties for ‘regional ticks’, County Fermanagh being the awkward one for most of us. If getting your name on leader boards is your game then a trip over, or an order from a Northern Ireland bottle shop would see you achieve that aim pretty easily.

Over to you all now to post your bits on the 14,130 km² of Northern Ireland.

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A mere 9 beers for me and of these 6 are from Boundary which is a very small sample of their output. I am embarrassed to say that even since the peace accord I have not made the trip to what I am assured is a very lovely part of the world with rolling hills and lochs and fjords.
I am also assured that the people are friendlier than their accent might suggest, which has been described as rotweiler in syrup. As for the county spread, only 2 of 6 have been ticked so it’s not just Fermanagh I will be seeking.
Northern Ireland is therefore in my future rather than my past.

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I have very little to contribute here I’m afraid, zero rates and I’ve never visited! I do know I’ve drunk at least 1 Northern Irish beer, a Hilden beer at a Spoons yonks ago - and to be honest I don’t think I see beers from there often at all, but to be sure the next time I see one I’ll be having a go on it, gotta get those country & region stats on the up

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This might help some people.

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couple of months too early - just booked a weekend visit to Steve in January, hope to double my meagre tally (think I’ve had about 60, mostly Farmageddon and Boundary)

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I have only been to Northern Ireland once and that was just for a day in Belfast while on a round the UK cruise. We did ‘The Titanic Experience’ in the morning and a few pubs in the afternoon, so I didn’t waste the whole day while in the city. We liked the city actually and would happily return. Sadly I don’t remember crossing any memorable bridges while there.

My 41 rates get me to equal 30th on the leader board with @minutemat and @Ungstrup. No Cider, Mead or Sake though. Beer52 are the real reason I’ve managed to bag so many beers from Northern Ireland, so well done them (they only get bad publicity on Ratebeer usually).

I’ve managed to drink beer from 5 of the Counties with pesky Fermanagh letting me down. Well in front are County Antrim on 23 and County Down on 12.

14 different breweries sampled, 2 of which have ceased operating.
Boundary on 9, with Hilden, Hillstown and Whitewater all sat on 5.

Top 3 beers:
Hillstown Spitting Llama
Heaney / Boundary I Can See The Stars
Boundary Gift

That’s it from me.

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5 Beers Rated from Whitewater and Hilden.
2 of 6 Regions ticked.
Never visited so no place ratings.
Of my ratings - 3 were rated in Cork, 1 in Dublin, 1 at a cask festival in Toronto!
#6 Country for Average Rating from Me. (Behind only Scandinavia, Belgium and Nigeria with it’s single rating of Guinness FES.)

Not much to say from me never having visited but I found a couple of enjoyable quotes captured in my ratings.

At Porterhouse, Dublin.
Me: “Whats on the cask?”
“Its a cask ale.”
Me:“What kind?”
Blank stare from bartender who clearly thinks I’m an idiot that doesn’t know what cask beer is.
Me:“What BREWERY?”
“Oh! Hilden.”
Me: Sigh.

At Bierhaus, Cork. Table next to us having a chat with a three year old girl:
“Whats that?”
“Thats beer.”
“Why are you drinking beer?”
“Because I like it. … I might have juice later.”

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I visited twice for total of 14 days for work a few years back. This was much to horror of my grandfather whose parents left Belfast in early 1900’s when things weren’t overly kind to Catholics. I found the city to be just my style as far as walkability, quality of restaurants/bars, live music, street murals and just the right amount of grittiness aka I loved it. I had 30 beers putting me at 46th on list but looks like I’ll fall out of top 50 soon. Rated 11 places as well and had brews from 4 out of 6 counties. Gin was all the rage when I was there so went to plenty of gin bars as well. Hoping to go back someday. Here is few pics from top of Slieve Donnard highest mountain in NIR


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Whoops, made a mistake!

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14 beers from 2 counties.

Sectarian Violence is my 3rd favourite type of violence, after footage of Russian football hooligans and footage of general violence in Russia.

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? I’m confused.

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My fault @jercraigs. I posted that you were talking about Ireland, not Northern Ireland. On reading your post again I realised my mistake and withdrew my reply.

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In terms of getting the 6 county ticks, you can buy Fermanagh beer here,

You’ll also find plenty of beer from Antrim and Down as well as some cider from Armagh.

You can find some Londonderry/Derry beers here

Co. Tyrone is currently the most difficult to find! Glad that happened years ago for me!

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These guys are good too!

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You don’t tend to see a lot of Northern Irish beer around the pubs in England, although I have found a few here and there. My rates tend to come from beer festivals and internet deliveries. All in all I’ve got 28 Northern Ireland rates, not too shabby if I do say so myself, but not quite enough to get on the leaderboard.

Quality makes up for quantity however. There are some cracking breweries in Northern Ireland, and Boundary’s as good as you’ll find anywhere in my opinion. My top rates are:

Regarding the counties, it seems like pickings get very, very slim outside of Co Antrim and Co Down. I haven’t have any beers outside of these counties (16 from Co Antrim and 12 from Co Down).

I’d like to visit - it’s certainly on my bucket list - but I’ve not managed to do so thus far. However, I do have one cheaty little place rate for KWM Wines in Kilkeel (I don’t normally rate beer stores unless I’ve been there in person but their internet service great I couldn’t resist spreading the word). They sell a 12-pack of Northern Irish beer at good value although it’s a grab bag so you get what you get and therefore probably not great for seasoned NI tickers.

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I’ve ventured to Northern Ireland on 3 occasions, firstly back in '98 with my late grandad’s beat up Ford Orion driving County Derry & Antrim’s coastline, this was in early July of that year. While enjoying dinner & watching the world cup games at a friend’s hospitable family home one Sunday in Coleraine his father warned me that I best leave Northern Ireland fairly soonish, given that I was heading to Belfast, had a mid English counties accent & the marching season was starting the following weekend, considering I’d just had 2 nights out in the pubs of Derry & visited the inland towns of Enniskillen & Omagh a few weeks earlier, this was good advice but somewhat late in receiving it. I proceeded along the stunning Antrim coastline that coming week to Belfast, after a tour of both sides of the city in a black taxi, a good night out with fellow backpackers from my hostel as England crashed out of the world cup to Argentina, I left with the old banger to Stranraer.
Six years later I was dating a Irish girl who was moving back to Derry, I seriously considered moving there for a short few weeks until I came to my senses, both about my ex & swapping Jersey for Derry.
Three years later one of my good friends married a girl from Strangford, County Down with the wedding in the tiny village church at the head of Strangford Lough, the reception was in the very impressive Slieve Donard Hotel in the town of Newcastle. After the wedding I spent a couple of days again in Belfast, what a difference in the intervening 9 years to that city. Less cultural on that visit, more visiting pub to try local ales, highly enjoyable especially the Crown Liquor Saloon with it’s outstanding interior

My RB beer stats - 12 ratings from 6 breweries with a 3.32 average
Hillstown Brewery in County Antrim is responsible for 7 of those ratings (as a local garden centre stocks them) with a 3.29 average
Highest rated beers - Hillstown Goats Butt, Hillstown Henrietta the Hen & Boundary Gift all with a 3.5 rating
2 / 6 Northern Irish counties rated, the only home country I’ve not completed. Another trip is possibly in the offering although with a lot of different English counties as competition, well just have to see

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Have 25 rates from Northern Ireland, the highest is Farmageddon Cider Bittersweet at 3.8

There are 11 active cideries in Northern Ireland, the most prolific is the Armagh Cider Co. with 11 entries. The top 5 rates of NI ciders and cideries are:

Northern IrelandCider Ratings

Northern IrelandCideries

Was booked in to visit Northern Ireland in 2020 for a NI friends 50th birthday party which was cancelled due to the COVID pandemic which was abit of a shame. Hopefully will get there one day and boost my cider ratings!

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Not been to Northern Ireland for a while. Have entered on the ferry from Scotland a couple of times, but mostly via southern Ireland. Only really visited Belfast which is a nice city, but for those of a certain age the Troubles are always in the back of your mind, especially when you see the heavily armoured police cars and vans driving past.

Took the photo below when visiting Sandy Row, and must admit it felt a bit odd. Really hard to fathom the mindset of those who have grown up in this area, but I felt it important to see the murals and get a sense of it myself

This was around the time I joined RateBeer in 2013 so I remember searching out a bottle shop for a few beers, but there wasn’t a great amount of choice for modern craft beer then.

N.I. is my 22nd highest rated country with a whopping 41 rates.

My top ten rated beers / ciders:

My Rating Avg Entered Updated
Boundary Push & Pull Comet 4.1 3.38 9/13/2016
Boundary Tom 4 3.4 10/9/2016
Boundary Export Stout 4 3.55 4/16/2017
Boundary Gift 4 3.59 4/16/2017
Boundary / Zapato You’re Not Getting Any 4 3.68 9/4/2018
Farmageddon Gorse IPA 4 3.2 2/13/2019
Boundary Black Is the Colour 4 3.66 2/24/2020
Farmageddon India Export Porter 3.8 3.5 7/23/2016
MacIvors Medium Cider (Bottle) 3.8 3.1 4/10/2019
Heaney / Boundary I Can See The Stars 3.8 3.64 7/28/2020 7/28/2020

Unsurprisingly dominated by Boundary who I rate highly, and remember having a nice chat with the brewers at IMBC probably the same year they started.

No place rates, but like every post on these country / region stats I’ll finish by saying I’d love to visit again and explore properly, esp now craft beer’s moved on a bit.

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I have been to Northern Ireland but very irregularly and into hardly any drinking establishments. I used to have to visit a factory in Portadown, during the troubles. It wasn’t the place to wander around at the time, so I didn’t and we had to drop them as a supplier in the end. My only other trip was along the coast visiting the Mourne Mountains and Giants Causeway and some seaside resort nearby, where nothing, literally, was open. So there is little else sporting or otherwise to report.

Beer wise, rather a poor contribution unfortunately. I have had just 39 beers, which does put me in 35th place having had just 5% of the beers available. I have had beers from just 9 different breweries, amateurish.

The Northern Irish breweries I have had most beers from are –

  1. Hilden Brewing – 14
  2. Boundary Brewing – 7
  3. Farmageddon Brewing – 5

My favourite beers have been –

  1. Heaney / Boundary Lessons Learned – 4.1
  2. Farmageddon Baltic Porter (2019) – 3.9
  3. Hilden Twisted Hop – 3.8
  4. Boundary / Outland / Kinnegar / White Hag Pink Sunglasses – 3.8

I have reviewed 0 places in Northern Ireland. Ho hum.

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And yet here I am sipping my first Londonderry/Derry rate in the Two-Tailed Lion in Leicester.

Also noticed that KWM just started carrying Inishmacsaint beers from Co Fermanagh. Think I’ll put in an order with then in the next couple of weeks, get a McIvors cider (Armagh) and then I’ll only have Co Tyrone outstanding. Smiley face emoji.

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