A suggestion to head North for a few days was eagerly taken up for the chance to explore some new scenery, some new dining adventures and above all else – some new whiskeys.
The former army barracks & parade ground are now a growing tourist attraction building on the new found harmony in Northern Ireland after years of conflict.
Building 70, a former Pay Office, is now home to Walled City Brewery, combining a craft brewery with a restaurant & bar – this was our destination for the evening.
Opened in May 2015 by master brewer James Huey and his wife Louise, James brought his years of experience working with Guinness to branch out on his own – and he also runs a Homebrew Academy too!
Very attractively furnished with a bottled motif wall, historical beer map, beer bottle chandeliers & a comfy dining area along with a well stocked bar – Walled City Brewery certainly made us feel at home.
I went for ‘Kicks’ a Walled City pilsner named after Derry’s finest group – The Undertones.
This flavoursome tipple perfectly accompanied a trio of Pintxos for starters followed by a juicy lamb burger for mains.
There were plenty of other beers to try. Walled City offer a tasting tray to sample a few which is always a great way to familiarise yourself with a range of styles and flavours.
The whiskey menu also impressed.
Covering all 4 styles of Irish whiskey – Blended, Single Grain, Single Malt & Single Pot Still – from Glendalough, Teeling, Derry’s own Quiet Man – who are planning to build a distillery on Ebrington Square – Echlinville and a couple of Spot whiskeys – they certainly tempted me. But a trio of American bourbons – not all of which I’d tried before – caught my eye.
Sadly a tasting flight of whiskey wasn’t on the menu – as yet – so I chose the Hudson Baby Bourbon for afters.
At 46% this 100% corn bourbon from a craft distillery in upstate New York gave a rich sweet nose with a full bodied mouthfeel. It packed a lovely heat on the palate finishing with a gentle spice & warm finish. If only all bourbons were as good as this!
Feeling fully sated & gently merry we recrossed the Peace Bridge in the growing winds admiring the starry lights of Derry which is attractively built on gently rolling hills.
I’m certainly looking forward to the growth of Walled City Brewery & the nearby Quiet Man Distillery.
My first impressions of Hudson Whiskey were also positive – I will definitely check them out on my next encounter.