We recently had coffee (and perhaps some cake, I couldn’t possibly comment) with the lovely Isabella from Glens of Antrim Craft Ales and Beers, based at Murlough near Torr Head. We were on the hunt for ale for the Feast of the Earls because what is a feast without ale?!
Rathlin Red is already a part of the Ballycastle and Rathlin Food Tours; Isabella and I did our OCN Level 2 in Social Media together at NRC’s Limavady site and, as the Feast of the Earls celebrates the history of Bonamargy Friary and Sorley Boy McDonnell, we were hoping to persuade them to supply us with a respectable quantity of ale to wash down our food. Feasts need ale!
Lacada Brewery, by the way, also make fabulous ales and beers, and are hosting a Beer Festival in Portrush on the .... of October and will feature a vast array of wonderful, local, sustainable, delicious ales and beers as well as some excellent food. Well worth a visit!
The McCarry’s make their brews in small batches taking 1 day to brew, 7 days to ferment and then they bottle. The fermentation time is dependent on the atmospheric pressure, the yeast, the water, the grains...all of this needs watching and thinking about. There are no extracts, no carbon dioxide, it’s not pasturised nor filtered. Unlike other breweries, The Glens of Antrim bottle all their ales and beers on site (as do Lacada) Their output is created to match their tastes and to go with the local foods which is why, having bought a filtration unit, they didn’t continue using it. They both thought the finished product was bland and tasteless - not something they’d want to put their name to.
With this much attention to detail, along with the constant feedback from tour guests about how good the ale is, we really, really wanted Pat and Isabella’s output. Thankfully we all agreed that the Feast of the Earls couldn’t have gone ahead without a few cases of this iconic ale as well as some Lizzie’s Ale and a couple of bottles of Fairhead Gold, so we’re all set to have a rollicking time at the Feast, just as Sorley Boy and his clan would have done!