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Chairman's Birthday Pary
Sunday, 31st March
Saturday 2nd February 12-midnight
Hopefully a nice cask af ale to wash down some excellent foods. Maybe even a barbie if the weather holds up.
TREVOR DICKSON CIDER DAY
Trevor was a long time friend and an inveterate Strongbow drinker (original, not the newfangled fruit stuff). He was highly supportive of our endeavours with cask ales & wood and was always in awe that we would go to a pub and taste several totally different beers while he stayed faithful to his beloved Strongbow. That did not stop him being a member and hence supporting us financially, and being at BFTWNI events. So we had thought of a Strongbow session in his honour.
This was to take place at The Errigle as that was his imbibing home for members and friends to remember him fondly but, with Trevor gone, so has the Strongbow. Other arrangements will be made.
Mermaid Munch & Bittles Beers:
Belfast Pub Crawl.
Third & final of the BFTWNI Belfast Pub Crawls in support of Tryanuary.
WOOD WEEK @ THE ERRIGLE
Hosting a week of beers/cider from the wood from Bullhouse; Lacada; Mashdown; Whitewater. plus, the first cider-from-the-wood from Kilmegan.
Meet The Brewer nights from 7:30pm (Monday - Bullhouse; Tuesday - Whitewater; Wednesday - Mashtown)
POTY - December 2018
Bittles Bar, Belfast: POTY 2018
John Bittles has been running this pub for almost thirsty years. It is one of the best of the old fashioned back street pubs in Belfast. Known for large pictures of literary themes and fine ales for years, it is now making a name for class whiskies. John is a character of the old style, at times gruff and sharp but always a gentleman who knows the licensed trade for many a year. It is a haven away from the shopping complexes in the area.
A well deserved win.
Belfast Beer Festival - November
An excellent couple of days at the glorious Ulster Hall with friends. All the better for having beer from the wood (our own casks) from Mashdown and Lacada Breweries. Plus, meeting the brewers.
Cathedral Quarter Beer & Gin Festival, Belfast - October
A weekend pass saw us enjoying the whole of the Cathedral Quarter Beer & Gin Festival. It was good to meet up again with our brewer friends and get to meet some new ones. Breweries attending included: Farmageddon Brewing Co, Hillstown Brewery, Bullhouse Brewing Company, Samuels Brewing Company, Knockout Brewing, Mourne Mountains Brewery and O’Connor Craft Beer. Sadly, Willy from Bullhouse could not attend. The music was brilliant as well.
Lynestone Brewery, Stone, Staffordshire - July
It was a glorious summer morning when we got off the train at Stone station and made our way to Lymestone Brewery for a visit. Set in the old Bent Brewery building, which has lost its top three stories, it is a thriving little hub of social activity and is an amalgamation of the names of the towns of Newcastle under Lyme and Stone, both in Staffordshire. Here we met Ian Bradford (Brad) who has run the brewery for over two years and did 12 years at Titanic before that. He gave us a run-through of the 6X10 barrel set up, producing cask and bottle (which is outsourced to Holden's Brewery) and we presented him with a BFTWNI certificate of the visit. We had a quick sample in their tap room bar, the Borehole, about a minute walk away. It had to be quick as we were being picked up for a our canal boat holiday. Imagine our surprise when we found a welcoming gift of brewery beers on the boat.
Dublin Bar Crawl - June
An early start to arrive just after 11am and then a nice walk to Inns Quay and the Legal Eagle, where we found they could not serve us the food we wanted so we left for Bourkes on Camden Street. This was closed so not a good start so far. Thankfully across the road was Against the Grain, a Galway Brewery pub where the girl behind the counter was so enthusiastic and helpful to us. We got a second pint in here from their wide range of taps. Then it was on to PMACS and an extra one Euro per pint! Quickly across the road to Bar Rua for a more sensibly priced pint of Carrig Lager and another friendly and chatty barmaid. A short walk around the corner to find Idlewild closed so it was a stroll to Dame Street and the Underdog. It was now 4pm and (like the other closed pubs) getting ready to open. We were the first there and I had a pint bottle of Guinness (not frozen!), my first in many, many years. Then downstairs to a huge array of taps, including cask. The staff are brilliant, friendly & knowledeable. Time was of the essence now so we grabbed a taxi to the Brew Dock, of which I will say no more about customer relations. We ended up eventually in the Crown Bar, in a booth, chatting to a dozen visitors from Canada and just made the last bus home and no more. A great tour of central Dublin and a couple of noteworthy pubs for next time.
Bullhouse Brewery Visit & Presentation - June.
An early start to the day, getting a bus out to Dundonald to meet brewer, Willy Mayne, and be driven to the brewery (courtesy of his mum). A brief intro to the brewery & equipment then it was getting down and dusty helping to load the malt for the P45 mash and get it well stirred in. It is easy to end up looking like a ghost with the fine grain powder floating everywhere. Once the mash was complete it was loads of nibbles and a sample or two to wash it all down. Then the transfer and boil, addition of hops, the strenous job of cleaning out the spent grain and bagging it, and finally a break for a BBQ lunch, all with more and varied samples. We took this opportunity to present a token of our visit to Willy. Finally the brew was sent through the heat exchanger to cool down for the yeast pitching. Time for the taxi back to Dundonald (courtesy of his dad this time) to get a bus home - or, at least, via a couple of well deserved pints in the Crown Bar.
An excellent day out with a great guy.
Sulwath Brewery Visit & Presentation - May.
A weekend away meeting our good friends, the Henderson family, in Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway district, to enjoy great ales at their Brewery Beerfest - along with a jazz band and marvellous pies (Henderson's Butchery - no relation). A walk round the town chacking out the hostelries, and a final day touring the Solway coast and back again for a picnic on the nearby loch shore park. We would like to thank Allen for letting BFTW have a membership discount. The return journey to the ferry and a quick stop-over at The Grapes in Stranraer. A lovely old world boozer, relaxed and very friendly. Our thanks to owner, Billy, for allowing us a BFTW membership discount. Brilliant news for those using the D&G gateway to Scotland and northern England.
Belfast Bar Crawl - February
Our usual starting point, The Hudson, was closed for a refurb so it started at the Berliner for an excellent solid lunch washed down by some craft (keg) then a tour of places not visited in quite a while. Starting with the Northern Whig, then round the corner to the Dirty Onion (which once had cask Whitewater in the wood) and on to The Spaniard. Here, with the weather being really chilly, a couple of hot rums did not go amiss. Round the corner to the National then crossing the road for the final two - Muriels and Bootlegers. It was a great day, leisurely walking, good friendly barstaff and a sharp coldness ever chasing us onwards to the next point of refuge. It was quite dark by now so a short walk round to the City Hall and a bus home for some victuals and a bottle of beer.
POTY - Pub Of The Year - November
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE ERRIGLE INN, ORMEAU ROAD, BELFAST
This place has steadily been making a name for itself as The place to go for cask ale and more so for beer from the wood. It was not all that long ago that only one handpull for cask was on the bar counter. The bar took the forward thinking step to move cask ales into the appropriately named Oak Lounge and have not looked back since. So, on Thursday, 30th November, the BFTW members attended a presentation for their Pub Of The Year Award. Four casks were available with two from the wood, plus BFTW membership discount!
Belfast Bar Crawl - October
A good solid lunch at the Hudson Bar and some pints of craft (sadly Tennants is the supplier so probably dictating the tap menu just like Bass/Guinness did so many years ago.
Next came the Sunflower Pub, always a joy to drop in for a beer.
A walk in the rain to the Crown Bar, packed to the gills with visitors. We did manage (shoch, horror) to actually get a free booth to enjoy our casks ales.
A short run on the bus to Northern Nights, a burger and some craft, FInshed off with an excellent cask ale.
Finished the night at the Errigle with some of Joseph's Knockout Cherry Stout.
Dublin Bar Crawl - October
A nice walk from the bus to St. Mary's Church for lunch. A lovely makeover of a grade 1 listed building. The clientele was predominantly female for some reason. A pint of Five Lamps keg Lager to start. Crisp and very clear it puts other half hearted cloudy stuff to shame. This was followed by Liberation's keg Pale Ale. Again, crisp and clear. Two winners in a row. Tried the fish & chips - great fish but the mushy peas were watered and came in a tiny cough bottle type plastic container.
Across the river to my old haunt the Porterhouse but taking a detour via the Czech Inn for Kozel washed down with Zlaty Bazant. An excellent selection of eclectic Czech music making for a relaxed afternoon. Finally, in the Porterhouse where my name is up in light! Two of my awards to the Porterhouse from the second Belfast Beerfest. Enjoying a pint of their 4.2% Grand Day, a fresh super ctrus hopped (and clear) ale. Great chat with Brian.
A nice stroll round to Brewdock for cask Sabotage from Trouble Brewing. Sadly it was as clear as poo! Overly hopped and not on condition. Poor choice for me. Anyway, much better clear Careen German style lager (4.8% €5.80 pint Good) and a clear Bale Ale (4.6% €5.45 330ml, ok). A pity they do not standardise their serving measures, ah well, that's life!