Northern Irish micro-brewer takes to the telly

This week we’re going to see a fledgling Northern Irish craft brewer on the telly. Yes, you read that right – Northern Irish. Nick Hewer – one of Lord Sugar’s incisive advisers on The Apprentice and Countdown's new host – has turned business guru and headed to the land of his schooling to help a clutch of farmers make their businesses viable in the BBC's new show Farm Fixer.

Our hero, Gordon Fallis, has been brewing for a while from his small family farm just outside the village of Derrygonnelly on the shores of Lower Lough Erne in County Fermanagh. 

Inishmacsaint

Following his visit, Nick swiftly becomes convinced that Gordon's Inishmacsaint Fermanagh Beer should spread its wings beyond the kitchen table. Hence several months later we meet them both on St Patrick’s Day in The Porterhouse bar in Covent Garden for the UK debut of his tasty brew.

But back to the beginning. As on the mainland, making a farm financially sustainable is getting tougher all the time, hence Gordon's decision to diversity and follow his hobby. Only unlike on the mainland, there’s not dozens of breweries within 50 miles or half-a-dozen brewpubs in the next town with which to compare notes. In fact the number of breweries in Northern Ireland has yet to reach double figures.

But that’s not stopping our Gordon. Using Irish malt and continental hops, Gordon’s amber beer follows a “leave it alone” philosophy. A confirmed environmentalist, he isn’t fining, filtering or pasteurising his beer.

With good maltiness and elegant, balanced hop notes, if this is a taster of what’s brewing across the channel, it’s a good sign. While he’s starting with some regular ales, he tells DrinkBritain.com he’s looking forward to including some locally foraged ingredients, such as juniper and meadowsweet, in his brews.

When we met, Gordon’s beers were only availably locally, but he does want them to reach further. I’ll make enquiries and report back on that one.

You can see Gordon’s story this Tuesday on Farm Fixer, BBC2, 6.30pm in England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland is getting its own showing later in the year. And rumour has it I might be spotted adding my two penny’s worth during the Porterhouse Bar tasting. 

Keep in touch with Gordon via his Facebook page.