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ABV beer festival: Tipplers to sing praises of dozens of specialist beers at new-look church

By John Mulgrew

The grand backdrop of a once-derelict Victorian church in Belfast will play host to one of the city's top specialist beer events this year.

The ABV Beer Festival will draw some of the world's best beers and brewers to the Carlisle Memorial Church in north Belfast in September.

The specialist event, which is now in its second year and running over five sessions, is being organised by three beer industry boffins - Michael Kerr, Felicia Matheson and Darren Nugent - who are once again expecting the brew and food festival to attract fans from across Northern Ireland and beyond.

Built in 1875, the Carlisle Memorial Church lay derelict for years before being brought back to life last year. It is now run by the Belfast Buildings Trust.

ABV co-founder Michael Kerr said: "This year, it's in one big beautiful room, with one monster 30-tap bar.

"We are keen to keep the numbers sensible. Too often these events are very busy and that's why we are ticket only to control the numbers."

Beers from across Northern Ireland, the Republic, the UK and as far afield as Denmark and the US will make an appearance.

That will include London's Kernel and Beavertown, Donegal's Kinnegar and Denmark's Mikkeller.

A number of food stalls will also make a return, including Farm & Food and Pizza Vantastica.

And for those unsure about trying the dozens of hop and malt brews on offer, beer cocktails will also make a return.

"There is such a wide range of beer styles, so we think there is something for everybody," Mr Kerr said.

And he's encouraging people to get online and get tickets soon, as last year's event sold out.

"Last year the atmosphere was amazing, and sold out well in advance," he said. "It's a great introduction to new things, and gives people a chance to try and host of great beers across a vast range of styles."

The ABV Beer Festival runs between September 1-3. For tickets visit www.abvfest.com

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