Ah the North….. home of the Wexford accent, the Ulster fry (there is no difference), and our Head Brewer Declan Nixon. It was also the destination for another YellowBelly road trip. I was to be picked up by Bossman Lambert and his trusty sidekick Shambo. Fashionably late of course, the boys pulled up in Shambo’s battered black Opel, sporting matching blue jumpers and white shirt combinations. They were looking smart. I took a look at my own get-up, stylish yet understated. Our looks were on point; we were ready to go.
We had barely been on the road an hour before Bossman Lamberts stomach began to grumble. A hunger only 2 Burger King meals could satisfy. I opted for a salad. We looked in disgust as a man, our boss, took down two Chicken Royale meals in less than 5 minutes. It was horrendous. After what seemed like an eternity Shambo came back from the toilet and we were ready to hit the road again. God knows what he was doing in there! Rumours of a secret double cheeseburger remain unfounded. The ketchup stain on his newly pressed white shirt would never stand up in court.
Next stop Derry, The Maiden City and our Maiden visit. We were hitting up The Blackbird for a tap takeover. Well, we brought three beers with us so it was more of a ‘Tap Anschluss’, but that doesn’t really have the same ring to it and might lead to more questions than answers, so we stuck with Tap Takeover. But before we headed to the pub we had to call up to the Nixon household and collect our head brewer. As we walked up to the house we were met with a rather touching image. An image usually more akin to a halting site, but touching none the less.
As soon as Declan had finished getting his hair done and doing his Liam Gallagher impression we left. Our home for the night was the Travelodge in Derry City, conveniently placed above a Wetherspoons. We quickly unpacked (placed bags on floor), branded ourselves and headed out. The Blackbird was only a short stroll away. Dec was leading the talk as we were on his turf, it was reassuring to find out that nobody could understand him here either, even in his own hometown and it wasn’t just us down south! As he rabbited on about YellowBelly (I Think), I took the oppurtunity to chat up his mother. Here I am in full flow-
The night was a great success, a good few pints of Citra followed by a couple of cheeky Old Fashioned’s lubricated us all nicely. We moved on from the Blackbird and made our way to some other pub that I can’t remember. We managed to get some late drinks based on our YellowBelly identity, like rockstars, it was at that point we knew we had finally made it as a brewery. The rest of the night was a blur, only pieced back together in the morning with the help of Bossman Lambert and the kebab ingredients stuck to my face.
Thanks to all the staff from The Blackbird and that pub that gave us a lock in, and everyone that came to drink our beer! Much appreciated, see ya’s all soon.
Many thanks to the organisers and all of those who attended both events.
You can click here to check them out on Flickr.