Brewing up a new royal Hillsborough pale ale is a nod to mid-19th century histroy

The owners behind The Plough in Royal Hillsborough have launched a new Royal Hillsborough Pale ale.

By Claire Cartmill
Friday, 25th March 2022, 11:00 am

Teaming up with McCrackens Brewery, the new ale is a nod of celebration to the village being awarded ‘royal’ status by the Queen and an affectionate look back at The Plough’s history.

The Plough in the mid-19th century supplied local beers and ales to the Marquess’s of Downshire for their grand banquets which took place in Hillsborough Fort just behind the venue.

Chair of development committee, alderman Amanda Grehan, said: “What a brilliant idea. I am thrilled to celebrate the launch of the new Royal Hillsborough Pale Ale. It is great to see such innovation and collaboration to bring something new to market. Plus, the confidence to invest in the business and new product development. This new ale is a welcomed addition and one that will tantalise locals and visitors alike.”

Ryan McCracken, McCrackens Brewery, Keith Johnson, bar manager at The Plough, chair of development committee, alderman Amanda Grehan, William Patterson, co-owner of The Plough

William Patterson, co-owner of The Plough, explained: “Hillsborough achieving royal status last year was hugely significant and we felt it presented us with an opportunity to create a new ale that marked this new chapter. We have worked with Ryan and his team since 2018, so partnering with him on this project made sense. Micro brewing in NI is a growing market and customers today are willing and enthusiastic to try new products especially if it’s from a local source.

“We tried several samples of Ryan’s ales and we agreed to have an easy drinking light refreshing pale ale, not too strong in alcohol (4%) that would appeal to both male and female customers. It also needed to complement the great food we serve in The Plough and The Pheasant.”

Ryan McCracken, owner of McCrackens Brewery, continued: “William was one of our first clients when we started McCrackens Brewery back in 2018. He and his team have been great to work with over the last four years and our beers have always gone down very well with their customers. We were delighted when William approached us with his fantastic idea. After some product development and plenty of taste testing with William and his team, Royal Hillsborough Pale ale was born. At McCrackens we believe in using natural fresh ingredients. We source many of the ingredients locally to maintain the highest quality standards and ensure we contribute to our local economy.”

William added: “With NI starting to open up again after a horrendous two years of Covid restrictions on the hospitality sector, it seems a perfect time to launch this new Royal Hillsborough Pale ale. Tourists & visitors are starting to come back into the village, so it’s the perfect time to promote something local and it would be a welcome addition to the list of great attractions Royal Hillsborough has to offer.”

Royal Hillsborough Pale ale

The Royal Hillsborough Pale Ale is available on draught in The Plough and also at The Pheasant, Annahilt. Both The Plough and The Pheasant are part of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s latest tourism programme, entitled ‘Royal Hillsborough and Historic Moira’.

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