The Craft Beer Revolution Hits Newcastle

BrewDog was born in 2007 when two friends became bored of typical lagers and beers found in bars throughout the UK and decided the only way to fix this predicament was to create their own.  After the typical ups and downs faced by all new businesses conceived during difficult financial times BrewDog expanded from competition success and loyal thirsty followers, but while most companies may have resisted new opportunities, the ballsy entrepreneurs at BrewDog decided creating great beers was good, so why not create great spaces to enjoy their beers.  The two friends in question were Martin Dickie and James Watt

I suspect many of the residents of Newcastle upon Tyne feel the same way Martin and James felt.  I have noticed that quality beer and ale drinking has become fashionable in recent years, but while taste is important, what is often not appreciated is the passion that has gone into the creating and brewing the golden goodness sitting in front of you.

When I was invited to a press tasting at Newcastle’s BrewDog bar I was extremely excited because I had sampled their beers before and thoroughly enjoyed them.  I remembered the beers alternative labelling and urban typeface which was very different to typical traditional beer, you know what I mean, usually a plain label with a picture of a stone mill or some local animal, and recognised at the time that BrewDogs bold marketing suited the beers distinctive taste.  So, as you can imagine, I wanted to see what BrewDog had to offer Newcastle as both a venue and as a range of finely crafted drinks.

Myself and Mr Gourmand made the short journey from Jesmond to Dean Street and met up with my good friend Katie and her husband Paul from Lady from a Tramp.  It was great to see a good mixture of people in the bar, I was a little worried that with it being just round the corner from the Diamond Strip that the “wannabes” may find themselves into the bar, luckily I saw no Mahogany Males just stepped out of an All Saints catalogue and no Bleach Blonde Barbie’s (Ale just aint their scene!).

The interior of the bar is great, the walls look like they are made out of old school flooring, concrete bartop, exposed structural steel, bar stools that you would find in a chemistry lab, an old school pinball machine, comfy leather sofas and a huge selection of board games!

The staff are extremely knowledgeable and friendly, if you want to sample a beer before you buy it’s not a problem, in fact it’s encouraged.  A selection of wines are available and soft drinks are on offer for the non beer drinkers.

I started off with a Motuaka IPA 6.7% and costing £3.60 for a 1/2.

This went down a treat!

I followed the Motuaka with a couple of glasses of Hardcore IPA 9.2% and £3.25 for a 1/2

I have to admit that after drinking a few of these I was starting to feel a little tipsy (I can handle a tankful of whisky but not beer!)

James, one of the Co-Founders, started off the tasting session with a very inspiring story about how the brand started and how it came to be where it is today.  James talked with such passion about the beer he produces which made me want to drink the beer even more!

The first taster was the Punk IPA 5.6% which had the most amazing aroma, Mango was the main scent I picked up, I really expected the beer to have a sickly sweet taste and was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t, in fact it had a lovely dry finish to it.

The 5am IPA 5% was next, this beer had a citrus scent

I did find this quite pleasant to drink but it wasn’t my favourite.

The Tokyo beer was the last to be served, at 18.2% it’s not a drink for the weak!

I found this beer quite similar to some stout’s that I’ve drunk in the past, the beer had quite a malty taste which I really enjoyed.

The fabulous bar staff made me a special platter with no blue cheese (allergies) and no pork products (can’t eat them)

The platters that did contain the meat did look very appetising and went down well with other drinkers.  If you do pop into the BrewDog bar, I urge you to try one of the platters, the cheese goes so well with the beer!

I managed to grab a quick photo with Co-Founder James before he did his third tasting session of the evening!

The last drink to be consumed was the Tactical Penguin 32% which tasted very much like a brandy, this is an extremely strong beer, which should be enjoyed in small servings, it’s not the sort of beer you drink out of the bottle with your mates!  Be Warned!

We were extremely lucky to be able to sit down with the extremely knowledgeable Jonny Bright from the Camden Bar who is filled with just as much passion about the brand as James.

If you were not convinced about craft beer and why it’s so special, a short time in Jonny’s company would change you to his way of thinking.  The man oozes passion for the brand, changing career as a tour manager travelling the world to working for BrewDog must have been a pretty huge step but it’s apparent that Johnny loves what he is doing and that’s great!

I had the most amazing night and from the look on all of the faces around me, everyone else was having a bloody good time themselves.  I wish BrewDog the best of luck and hope to see more real beer bars popping up in more towns and city’s across the UK.

Brewdog bars can be found in Newcastle, Camden, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Nottingham and Manchester.

If you would like more information on the brand you can visit the website here:

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