A new brand of beer has been created in Northern Ireland by the Hilden Brewing Company.

The production of Hilden Ale is a tiny operation in comparison to other brewers such as Guinness or Bass Charington.

Brewer Brendan Dobbin describes the importance of using the finest quality ingredients in the brewing process.

It took a long time to settle on a recipe which would produce a beer acceptable to the Northern Irish drinker.

In producing real ale, the Hilden Brewing Company makers are tapping into a potentially rich market. After only a few weeks in production Hilden Ale is already selling in twenty pubs in the Belfast area with requests from other landlords coming in all the time.

Real ale has opened up a whole new area in the drinks market in Britain. Anthony Devlin, landlord of the Linen Hall Bar in Belfast says he is selling between five and six hundred pints of Hilden Ale a week. Having real ale on the premises has improved his trade in general.

The Hilden Brewing Company is located in a converted stable behind an old country house in the Hamilton Hilden, hence the beer's name. Brewer Brendan Dobbin holds a science degree from the Queen's University in Belfast and went on to study brewing in Edinburgh. He was recruited by Anne Scullion, the brainchild behind the operation. Anne Scullion and her family recently returned to Belfast from England. Seeing a gap in the market for real ale the brewery was established. She completed a course in Manchester for people starting their own business. This provided the opportunity to put together her business proposition. After a long search, a location for the brewery was found and the hard work began. As for the beer itself, Anne Scullion says,

I think it's an extremely good pint.

The brewing process starts early in the morning. The malts are blended and then mixed with the hops. The wort liquid is then pumped into a copper vessel to be boiled. The liquid is then poured into a hop back tank to be filtered. It is then cooled through a heat exchanger and pumped into a fermentation vessel where the yeast is added. The liquid stays in the fermentation vessel for about four and a half days. At this stage, the liquid is described as green beer not because of its colour but because it is young. Hops are added to the beer to add to the aroma. Anne Scullion is hopeful that the brewery will also introduce a porter beer.

For Brendan Dobbin, the main difference between Hilden Ale and keg beer is that the beer is conditioned in the cask resulting in a smoother beer.

Our beer isn't processed to the same extent.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 4 January 1982. The reporter is Denis Murray.