Northern Ireland's biggest brewery.

Northern Ireland has four brewers. I've already reviewed one of them; so decided its time for another. County Tyrone is very beereft* but thankfully Whitewater beers are stocked by both Asda and Tesco. I bought the entire selection of their beers in order to review them. The beers are available fairly widely and most real ale pubs in Northern Ireland have on of their beers on draught.

As you can see from the picture above they have a distinctive and simple brand which helps the beers to stand out on the shelf. They brew a range of different styles, though the beers tend to fall at the lower end of the ABV spectrum. Copperhead is the new session beer. The nose has apricot fruitiness and grassy meadows. Fruity body with a dry bitter finish and some malt sweetness.It is a golden session ale and very quaffable at 3.7%. Its the only whitewater beer available on draught at GBBF this year.

Belfast Ale on the other hand is a much darker, reddish colour. Lively carbonation in this one as you can see from the picture. It has a spicy, peppery hops aroma with fruit shortbread.  Fruity at first taste then the goldings hops become apparent. Fairly long finish with some dryness 

 Belfast lager is as good a British lager as any. The clean hop aroma comingles with esters that come from the use of an ale yeast. The beer is a lovely pale yellow with gentle carbonation and a small head. The body is light with pineapple notes and a bitter finish. Could easily have polished off another few bottles of this if I'd had them.

Clotworthy dobbin is a classic porter. At 5% its the strongest beer that Whitewater brews. The aroma is of a washed rind cheese with vinous fruits and underlying alcohol. The taste is chewy caramel malt, fermented apples and a dry sweetness. Seems more like a best bitter than a porter, which isn’t how I remember it from draught; so I may need to try it again. I was lucky enough to try a whisky barrel aged version of this at Belfast Beer Festival last year which rounded off this complex beer nicely. Look out for it!

No Irish brewery worth their salt would be without a stout in their portfolio and this one is no exception. The dark brown beer poured very lively with a thick tan head. Lovely aroma of roast barley, chocolate, coffee and raisins. Thick bodied, dry stout with burnt after-taste and a bitter chicory finis. This is my favourite of the five beers sampled here, though if I were to pick a beer to drink multiple of in one session it would be the lager.

*My new word, invented 28/07/11!


  1. Well, Inishmacsaint beers are brewed in Co. Tyrone, just round the corner from you at Loughry.

    That's the first I've seen of bottled Copperhead. I'm a big fan of the keg version.

    Clotworthy is probably my favourite Irish beer, but it never seems to work on cask. There's a nice hop bite in the keg version, however.

    Conversely, while Belfast Black is a decent bottled beer, the cask version is stunning.

  2. Hadn't heard of them, will look it up!
    Yeah bottled copperhead appears to be new, well Asda say so in any case.

    As i said in my post, whisky cask aged clotworthy at Belfast last year was pretty special, did you get a chance to try it? Haven't yet been fortuitous enough to see Belfast Black on cask, but I really like Clanconnel black

  3. Yes, I was caning the McGrath's Black on cask in the Bull & Castle last week. It's really good too. Sadly I've never been able to make the Belfast festival any earlier than Saturday so last year that meant no Clotworthy, no Clanconnel and no Blue Monkey. You snooze you lose.