Northern Ireland

Barrahooley Sam’s Yer Man at Hillstown

Fans of Hillstown Brewery should be pleased to know that Nigel, Jonny and Ali have had another man/brewery join the team.

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Barrahooley’s one-man-band Sam Birkett has left behind his Martinstown brewing kit and full time job in Belfast and taken the plunge to join the Hillstown gang after reading a tweet!

The affable Scotsman explained all when I met up with him this week at his new job.

“It was tough before – being the brewer, marketer, salesman and delivery driver all at the same time with a family and full time job on the go.  Then I read on Twitter that Hillstown were looking for a brewer, perfect!”

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“Yeah, (former brewer) Steve got a job at Titanic Studios with Game of Thrones so we had to put the word out there!” added Hillstown’s old hand Jonny.

And up stepped Mr Barrahooley with enthusiasm and passion.  “It’s going great so far,” he added with a chuckle, before a quick approval-seeking glance towards Jonny.  “In at the deep end working on an 1800 litre system.  Plus I got back from Italy on Sunday morning and joined Hillstown on Monday.”

So how does it feel going from working for a legal support company full time while brewing part time to being a full-time brewer?

“Brilliant!  I’m only 20 minutes down the road and just happy to be brewing everyday.  This is much more manageable and at the same time the Barrahooley beers can hopefully make a re-appearance somewhere down the line.”

And what of that Barrahooley future?

“I’ve offered Sam the use of the small brewing system here,” said Jonny, “we’ll definitely do something together at some point – when we get the time!”

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Good news then for Barrahooley fans.  It’s not disappearing as some had feared, but surviving at Glebe Road between Ahoghill and Randalstown.  I’ll drink to that.

Thanks to all the Hillstown boys for their hospitality.  If you can, grab a Pamoja black IPA, Saturn and Saucer peach tea IPA or Horny Bull Stout.  A new Crazy Horse double IPA will be out soon too.

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