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Jackies Blog

Beauty and the beer

Published 27.04.15 · Living ·

Source: ©

When she wasn’t busy, examining and exposing the lives of fashionable society, Jane Austen brewed beer…and drank it.  In fact, much of the family brewing would be the domain of women, from earliest times, right through the Georgian era.  The word ‘brewster’ means ‘female brewer’.  Unfortunately, once beer production became largely an industrial process, it also became the domain of men, as did beer drinking.

The promotion and proliferation of ‘Real Ale’ led to a return to women drinking beer, and brewing it - women currently being some of the most celebrated brewers and tasters in the field - and, more recently, the emergence of ‘Craft Beers’ has accelerated this process.  Craft beer has introduced a far wider range of styles and flavours, with something suitable for almost any palette; and the sector has bucked the recent trend of declining beer sales.  Nowhere is this truer than in Northern Ireland, where the number of small, independent breweries has tripled in the last decade.

ABV15 Fest

The problem is – or has been – that it’s difficult to discover if there’s beer out there for you.  Modern, sophisticated beers are the same as wines, in their variations of bouquet and palette.  Those who stick to the same old drinks, without exploring what’s going on in the world of fine beers, could be missing out.  Ideally, you’d have a whole host of them lined up before you to try, in sample size.  This never happens… until now, that is!

A very special beer festival is coming to Belfast.  ABV15 Beer Festival takes place Bank Holiday Weekend May 22-23, 2015. For one weekend only the historic Titanic Drawing Offices will be transformed into a beer-filled extravaganza (Eeeekkk!!!! how cool is that?). And it will be the last event held at the venue, before a £27m boutique hotel project gets under way.

Michael Kerr, part of the team of four behind ‘ABV Fest 15’ says, “The local beer scene is rapidly changing, for the better.  People want more than just a pint; they want quality and choice.  Local pubs and off-licences are increasing the range of beer they offer and we believe a growing local beer scene needs an innovative beer festival.”

The festival is not just restricted to local beers, Michael continued, “We've invited all NI breweries and cider producers, as well as the best that GB and ROI have to offer.  With three unique sessions over two days, we are planning a range of special tastings and some exceptional beers.”


The speed at which tickets have sold (completely sold out with one month to go) seems to show Belfast has been crying out for a different kind of beer festival, where not drinking the same thing twice is to be encouraged!  This promises to be a festival where great beers can be sipped, shared, talked about and debated in the company of some of those who create them.  We are very excited about the beer that's coming to Belfast, and we can't wait to taste it.

So girls, if you’re one of the lucky ones to have bagged yourself a ticket I hope you have a blast.

  • Admission: £12 per session or £30 for a weekend pass. I know, I know it’s sold out, but definitely worth putting you name on the wait list – you never know? And if you’ve missed the boat this time, keep an eye out for the next event and remember to get in early (very early). Wait list available at
  • Full beer list and prices to be announced online
  • Over 18s, ID required
  • Follow @abvfest on twitter for the latest news





Thanks for reading, Jackie.

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