There’s been a little rush of brewery openings over the past couple of months. Well, three is certainly a rush in Northern Ireland terms.
Following on from the launch of Get ‘Er Brewed’s Our Brewery near Randalstown and Out of Office Brewery at the Ulster Sports Club in Belfast, along comes #31 in the list of NI breweries – Ormeau Brewing.
Located down a small road near Rosetta roundabout in Belfast, Ormeau Brewing is the baby of Australian man Andy MacLeod. His journey from there to here includes studying in Hong Kong before living in complete contrasts of London and the Scottish Highlands. Add to that mix, a weekend in Belfast in 2009 where he met his future wife and you’re now up to date. Ahead of the launch of his brewery this weekend, I took a visit out to his home in the south of the city for a wee chat and nosey around.
Inspired by Denmark’s incredible brewery model, Andy is keen on the ‘support local’ ethos and told me that most Danish towns and villages have their own brewery which is supported by the local council. This support can come in the form of the council paying the brewery’s energy bill as the brewery is seen as providing a community service. Can you imagine that here? No, really, can you even begin to imagine that happening? Of course not.
The good-humoured Aussie told me the idea of Ormeau Brewing started in early summer of 2021 when he was home brewing and became amazed at the accessibility of good home brewing equipment in Northern Ireland. Tie that revelation in with his love of our beer scene and wanting local pubs to stock local beers, wheels began to roll. Roll very slowly, granted, as we were in the middle of a global pandemic but roll they did.
And here we are now at the end of summer 2022 with an Ormeau beer on the Ormeau Road as his new 4.5% abv Australian pale ale is currently pouring on draught in Belfast’s Northern Lights and The Errigle Inn, with plans for 330ml canning in the next week or so. Named Homesick and hopped with Australia’s Galaxy and Eclipse it’s refreshingly slightly dry and crisp, coupled with little pops of light pineapple, pear and gooseberry. It’s a good start with immediate plans for the addition of a malty Vienna lager and funky Belgian ale. You can also expect a West Coast IPA collaboration with the Northern Lights to celebrate the bar’s 5th birthday. Strewth.
Andy MacLeod is a man on a mission to supply local pubs with locally brewed beer and with that pale ale currently being poured in bars only half a mile away, his mission is being accomplished. This bloke’s fair dinkum.