Discover Northern Ireland is celebrating Northern Ireland's microbreweries as part of International Beer Day.
While there were only a handful just a decade ago the scene has exploded and has helped solidify Northern Ireland's place as a top artisan food and drink destination.
There are now over 30 breweries leading the way in the craft beer market, with many bars and restaurants now offering specialised options alongside the more traditional fare.
Gary Quate, Tourism NI’s food and drink development officer said Northern Ireland had embraced the increasing popularity of craft beer.
"Brewery tours and craft beer walks, trails, and even cycle-tours are proving a hit with people who are enjoying a staycation this year," he said.
“Our producers are really brewing some excellent products which are being very well received. Consumers want choice and Northern Ireland can certainly offer a wide range of excellent craft beers.”
Discover Northern Ireland has put together a list of local breweries and experiences which are well worth a visit during your staycation this year:
Hilden Brewery and Tap Room Lisburn, County Down
Hilden Brewery is the oldest independent brewery on the island of Ireland. A visit will show you the stages of traditional brewing, and you’ll have a chance to sample Hilden’s award-winning range of craft beers, including the famous Molly’s Chocolate Stout and Scullion’s Irish Ale. Hilden’s Taproom is a unique venue for BBQ’s or formal dining. There is also a licensed restaurant situated in the converted stables of the historic Georgian Hilden House.
Walled City Brewery, Derry
Located at the end of the Peace Bridge, in Ebrington Square this award-winning brewhouse and restaurant is housed in an historic military barracks. It has a fully operating brewery and accompanying restaurant – the first of its kind in the country.
The ethos behind the business is to provide an authentic taste of the north west through local, premium quality, flavoursome, perfectly paired beer and food.
Whitewater Brewery, Castlewellan, County Down
Established in 1996 on the fifth-generation family farm amidst the spectacular Mourne Mountain range, Whitewater Brewery still retains the passion and desire to brew beers with fantastic flavours.
During your visit you will hear about Whitewater’s journey, with a tour around the brewery, you will learn how they make some of their award-winning brews, then head back to the new tap house to try some ales and hear some tales.
Hillstown Brewery and Farmshop, Randalstown, County Antrim
Hillstown Farmshop runs an Economusée Tour of their brewery, offering you the chance to see how they make their range of traditional craft IPAs, lager and sour beers from milling and mashing through to fermentation and bottling.
The labels – with names like Hilda The Hen, Crazy Horse, Drunken Donkey and Squealing Pig – may be quirky, but the beers are seriously tasty.
Taste and Tour, Craft Beer & Street Eats, Belfast
Join Taste and Tour on a three-hour tour of Belfast’s best beer bars and street food venues with their resident beer expert as you learn all about and experience the local beer and street food scene in Belfast.
You’ll visit a range of fantastic craft beer bars and street food venues, tasting at least seven beautiful beers (including some wild and whacky) and biting into four very different street eats.
Foodie Cycle Tour, Derry~Londonderry
Far and Wild’s Foodie Cycle Tour of Derry takes in two culinary experiences in a two-hour cycle ride, focusing on quality local produce and some gentle exercise in between servings.
Their partners in culinary services vary seasonally and include The Walled City Brewery, Pykes N’ Pommes and The Legenderry Warehouse No 1 for example, who offer samples of their freshest and locally sourced fare to tour participants.
The tour includes an historic view of St Columb’s Park, Ebrington, the Peace Bridge and inner city and can be tailored to client’s interests and fitness requirements on request.
For more information on Northern Ireland’s food and drink experiences, visit www.discovernorthernireland.com