You may be surprised to learn that 19th century Ireland boasted over 200 breweries. While that number dwindled over the intervening decades, a new revolution has seen a microbrewery resurgence.
Thanks to the rising taste for craft beer, there are now 16 microbreweries on the island, offering fans more options, new tastes and better beers. While they may be competing against some of the world’s biggest brands, this doesn’t daunt Ireland’s craft brewers who experiment with different combinations of hops, malt, yeast and water to produce their signature tastes.
With a Titanic connection, Hilden Brewery in County Antrim is Ireland’s oldest independent brewery. Founded in the 19th century, it is the former residence of Helen Barbour who was the daughter of Thomas Andrews, the ship’s designer. Visit the brewery on Wednesdays and Saturdays, or make an appointment if there are more than eight in your group.
Originally from Australia and New Zealand, the brewmasters at Eight Degrees have chosen the Rebel County to establish their brewery. Having studied their brewing technique in the United Kingdom, the brewery is not currently open to visitors, however, the location in the Ballyhoura Mountains is well worth the trip regardless.
And if you’re not a beer lover, then why not try a refreshing cider? As a family business, the Troughtons have grown apples at Ballinteggart House for over 100 years. Since they began producing cider in 2006, the Armagh Cider Company, in County Armagh, has been run off its feet ever since and with numerous requests, there are plans to open the farm and cidery to visitors by the end of 2014.
For more information visit Tourism Ireland’s website.