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Roundstone rolls out across Northern Ireland

Pictured at the launch of Roundstone Irish Ale at The Dark Horse, Belfast, are Brian Beattie from Tennent’s NI and Colin Neill from Hospitality Ulster.

Pictured at the launch of Roundstone Irish Ale at The Dark Horse, Belfast, are Brian Beattie from Tennent’s NI and Colin Neill from Hospitality Ulster.

Just as you thought you’d seen – and tasted – it all, something new and exciting comes along to grip the imagination. In the drinks sector, the most recent ‘something new’ has been the rise of a new generation of beers with an edgy take on the traditional. This month, riding the crest of that wave of interest, is a new arrival launched by Tennent’s NI, a company which owes much of its success to a unique capacity to balance traditional, unhurried brewing techniques with clever, often radical, innovation.

Roundstone Irish Ale, from Tennent’s NI is a fine ale in the Irish tradition, brewed from 100% malted barley and a blend of three types of hops to deliver a gentle yet distinctive caramelly maltiness. At first sip the pint delivers a sweet toffee aroma, but with subtle hop tones and an unusually well-balanced and smooth flavour.

At 4% ABV, the stunningly smooth Roundstone is a robust choice, and that character is reflected in the quirky narrative which lies behind the brew.

It is said that, outside Nenagh in Co Tipperary, the Armstrong brothers grew up reckless and strong. They took pride in their physical prowess, wrestling and challenging each other to lift ever heavier sacks, churns and bales. Together, they dug the heavy stones from their fields and built long, straight walls which would last for generations.

One day they found two special stones: large, flat and round. They had an idea. They fitted the stones together and began to mill grain from which they brewed an Irish Ale which was as rich and red as rubies. They hoisted barrels of the precious brew onto their backs and onto their wagons and drove into town to share their discovery: when a tavern-keeper asked them what their ale was called they hesitated for just a moment before answering, ‘Roundstone’.

That back story is adding a fun dimension to Roundstone which is, as Sarah Shimmons, Beer Marketing Manager for Tennent’s NI explains, an ale with an inherent sociability. She says, “This is a pint to be enjoyed with friends; something to be earned, then appreciated and savoured in good company. There is nothing run of the mill about Roundstone and public and trade response as we trialled this innovative product has been incredibly enthusiastic. We are confident that the time is right and the market receptive for a new beer which is instantly impactful and memorable, and which has longevity built in.

“We are reflecting the unique Roundstone Irish Ale heritage with every aspect of our marketing activity, from the advertising strapline ‘It’s Made Of Stronger Stuff: Are You?’ to in-pub promotions which will feature, amongst other attractions, arm wrestling! I think the Armstrong brothers would be proud of us and what we’re doing with Roundstone Irish Ale.”

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