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Des de Moor
Best beer and travel writing award 2015, 2011 -- British Guild of Beer Writers Awards
Accredited Beer Sommelier
Writer of "Probably the best book about beer in London" - Londonist
"A necessity if you're a beer geek travelling to London town" - Beer Advocate
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"One of the top beer writers in the UK" - Mark Dredge.
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Des de Moor


Okell’s Mac Lir

First published in BEER June 2008 as part of a piece about wheat beers. Read more about wheat beers in previous post.

ABV: 4.4 per cent
Origin: Kewaigue, Isle of Man

Okell's Mac Lir Wheat Beer

From one of the other Celtic nations [Cornwall was featured in the last post] comes a wheat beer at a more quaffable strength. The Isle of Man’s biggest brewery and its only surviving Victorian-era independent, Okells was founded in 1875, though moved to its current site just outside Douglas in 1994. Long known as a bastion of traditional styles on an island renowned for its conservatism, the brewery has in recent years diversified into new specialities to reach markets across and beyond the Irish Sea, under the inspired guiding hand of its Yorkshire-born head brewer, eccentrically moustachioed Dr Mike Cowbourne.

In the process it’s made much of its Celtic heritage: witness unfiltered wheat beer Mac Lir, named after a legendary warrior wizard and sporting label artwork that appears inspired by 2000AD’s Sláine strip. However the launch of this beer occasioned a significant break from tradition. Brewing on Man is regulated by a Bavarian-style purity law that limits ingredients to barley malt, hops, sugar and water, so before they could produce a wheat beer, the brewery faced a six-month wait while the Manx parliament, the Tynwald, considered their application for an exemption.

We can be thankful this was finally approved since the beer is very good indeed. Made with a half-in-half grist of Maris Otter barley malt and malted wheat, it’s a hazy orange-yellow beer with a good white head, and flowery citrus and botanical notes on a creamy wheat aroma. The rich spicy palate is quite well hopped but beautifully balanced with cereal and citrus tones, and a cleansing swallow leads to a chewy tasty finish with a faint hint of roast and burnt wood. There’s a notable hoppiness (seven varieties are used at different stages of the boil) to this big, distinctive and wheaty beer which is one of the best examples of the style I’ve tasted from the British Isles. 

Read more about wheat beers in the next post.
Read more about this beer at

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