An 18th century hostelry in the small village of Donaghmore, Ciaran and Vicki McCausland's appealing pub is the centre of the local community - but, since Ciaran McCausland returned to his home county and took over the family business a year or two ago, the good food served has also been making it a destination for food lovers from well beyond the immediate area.
Simple decor is uncluttered - traditional tiled floor, darkwood furniture and cream walls, with bookcases adding interest – and pleasing to the eye, while the quietly efficient staff are neatly presented in traditional black aprons and very friendly, especially with children, helping to give that laid-back country feel.
Although there is no formal supplier list (and imports like the ubiquitous tiger prawn make a surprise appearance), Brian McMonagle's interesting and extensive menus change regularly and are liberally sprinkled with great local produce such as Lough Neagh eel, Keenans naturally smoked haddock, Lisarra chicken, Cloughbane beef and many more.
Confidently simple, well cooked and attractively presented food is the style here and Sunday lunch, as you'd expect, is a triumph with Crossgar Old Spot pork taking pride of place – the tender meat complete with crispy crackling and all the trimmings.
The Brewer's House also manages to do something that's all too rare, in giving equal thought to both its vegetarian and its childrens' menus. The vegetarian choices go far beyond the usual token dish, and the 'Little People's' menu, offering everything from a cup of chowder to homemade haddock fish fingers or pasta, and a choice of vegetables, is hugely welcome to parents wanting their children to eat more healthily.
Staff are well versed in both the food and drinks; the personally selected wine list need make no apology for favouring the Old World and, as the pub's name suggests, there's a large international range of premium ales offered, from a Coniston Bluebird Bitter to the punchy, Brewdog 77 lager - although it would also be nice to see more of the fast-growing number of Irish craft breweries and cider makers represented.
This appealing and well-managed pub offers wholesome food, efficiently served in a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere: the perfect balance for a country pub, and well worth a visit.