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Should you need any excuse for a pint or three this Easter weekend, Twice Brewed Brew House and Inn on Hadrian’s Wall is hosting its first brewery tours at 4pm on Easter Saturday and Sunday in the company of head brewer, Matt Brown.

The tours begin in the Brew House before moving to the cosy Twice Brewed Tap Room, where a tasting platter of beers tailored to your tastes is served. The tours are £10 per person, including the beer taster board and a 500ml bottle of your choice to take home. Advance bookings only, tel 01434 344 534 or email twicebrewedinn@outlook.com

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Cheers North East by Alastair Gilmour - 3w ago

Without delving too much into the whys and wherefores, the Blind Pig was another name for a US Prohibition-era illicit drinking den. Often also referred to as a speakeasy, it would sell moonshine – high-proof, illegally-distilled spirits. Put all this together and you have Tynemouth’s newest pub, the Blind Pig.

“We wanted to call it either the Blind Pig or Blind Tiger,” says Stephen Bones who, with his wife Victoria, owns the tiny and perfectly formed speakeasy inside the Land of Green Ginger shopping complex in Tynemouth.

“Both names mean similar things, but Blind Pig sounded better for what we wanted it to be. It’s going really well; we’ve only been open a few weeks and weren’t sure which way it would go.”

It’s actually going so well that Victoria has had to compile a job vacancy advert. Inadvertently, she touches on one of the meanings of “speakeasy”.

She says: “When you have a small place like this, people are almost forced to talk to each other (speak easy?). In fact, last weekend two groups started talking and ended up going off to the other bars together and exchanging numbers. They had a great time and are coming back again to meet up.”

Stephen enjoys real ale but feels the pub is too small to give it the constant attention it deserves, so he has concentrated on what is quite simply a terrific range of locally-sourced and American-style craft keg, bottles and cans. A mixologist has created bespoke moonshine cocktails.

“People in the business have been a great help,” he says. “Firebrick Brewery, Anarchy and Mordue have looked after us loads. It’s all about building relationships.

“From the start, we wanted it to look like a proper pub, not a pop-up. Being a joiner, I had to do it to a high standard, else I’d get grief.”

The Blind Pig certainly feels like it has always been there – handsome, solid counter with lovely shelving behind, high-backed upholstered pew-style seating, and high poseur tables by the window. The communal area on Green Ginger’s ground floor is used as an extended lounge for the pub and next-door Alfie & Fin’s Gin Bar.

Land of Green Ginger services include a pet shop, surfing-inspired and vintage clothing, jewellery, gifts, shoes, sweets, accessories, hairdressing and barbering. Stephen and Victoria are about to open a pie shop there as well, to complement the Pie & Bottle Shop they run in North Shields (for which they won a national street food award last year). The emphasis will be slightly different, but there’s no doubt it’ll be a huge success.

Victoria says: “We’re all working together in here. The shoe shop sold loads of pairs of last Saturday afternoon – customers were trying on shoes while they were having a drink.”

The Blind Pig has started a real tiger economy.

The Blind Pig, Land of Green Ginger, Front Street, Tynemouth NE30 4BP.

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A new micropub in Heaton, Newcastle, has set out to straddle the traditional with the contemporary. The Heaton Tap offers modern craft keg beers, bottles and cans alongside ales drawn from wooden casks as was the norm for centuries.

Robin Shacklock, national chairman of the Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood (SPBW) and Mick Cantwell, have taken over the former Champion Bottle Shop, transforming a double garage at the rear into a lounge and cellar, while retaining the front “showroom” and serving area.

“We’re getting busier as word is getting around,” says Robin. “We’ve got six keg lines and three cask.”

The Heaton Tap is nicely tucked away in Warton Terrace, off bustling Chillingham Road, an area of shops and services of every description and an unmistakable sense of community – virtually a village in itself.

Careful thinking has made the best use of space and shape available, which is quite an art. Church pew seating runs along one wall – at this rate there will soon be more pews in micropubs than in churches. But an advantage they have is you can store cases of beer and soft drinks under them before they hit the fridge, saving precious space in a tightly-run, super-functional cellar (aka “Robin’s pride and joy”). The slight L-shape of the lounge is ideal for a poseur table to take up the slack. More of a traditional bar counter is to be installed at the front, rather than the simple serving area there is at present. And no doubt the walls will fill up smartish with breweriana. Small steps, it’s all about small steps.

A front “terrace” is ideal for late afternoons when even in early spring, the sun soon warms the area up. Chillingham Road is well served by public transport with stops every 100 metres or so. Parking is a bit of a bind, but who wants to take the car anyway?

Regular beers are Three Kings (North Shields) Bacchus and The People’s Pilsner and draught Kriek (cherry beer). Guests include Durham Etienne, Basqueland Imparable IPA and Campervan Dark Blast.

The SPBW, Britain’s oldest beer campaigning group – was founded in December 1963 to encourage the drinking of traditional draught beer drawn directly from the cask by gravity or handpump. Wooden casks impart different flavours and mouthfeels to different beers and it’s always something of an adventure to sample them.

The Heaton Tap, 41 Warton Terrace, Newcastle NE6 5LS.

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Cheers North East by Alastair Gilmour - 3w ago

The Curfew has just about it all. Cosy and intimate interior, a suntrap of an outside terrace and a small area next door that’s ideal for hosting beer festivals and events.

It’s also child and dog-friendly and considerately, there are rolled-up blankets in the award-winning Berwick micropub for chilly evenings. Entering the pub through the passageway from the town’s Bridge Street, the counter (four handpulls) looks like it has served as a cupboard in a former life, but if it fits it works. Seating is sawn-off dining chairs creating practical stools – very welcome in small spaces. Elsewhere, the slim-bottomed pew seating tends to make the relaxed sitter gradually slip off – but it’s probably time for another pint by then anyway.

Brewing paraphernalia in the shape of metal signs is gradually filling up the walls in a range from Alaskan Amber through to Rochefort and Trappistenbieren.

This sets the tone for a quiet pint over a newspaper crossword or animated banter among a bunch of cronies.

The Curfew, owned by Gemma and David Cook, has been a regular Campaign For Real Ale (Camra) award winner since it opened in June 2014. It’s currently the Tyneside & Northumberland branch’s North Northumberland pub of the year and also overall cider pub of the year. This is testament to four handpulls serving well-kept real ale from across the UK and a craft beer fridge with world specialities and a particular emphasis on Belgium, plus a choice of three ciders and a handful of wines.

Meeting the visitor could be Oakham Black Hole or Abbeydale Daily Bread, Bear Claw Winding Spring, Tempest Long White Cloud from Kelso, as-local-as-it gets Bear Claw Saison, and Arbor I Speak For The Trees. Keg-wise it’s likely enough to be De Koninck Antwerp Pale, a classic in its own right.

“Paddles” are available – three glasses on a tray which is a great way to understand beer that might be unfamiliar. Food is limited to pork pies and sausage rolls (before they run out) but Berwick is renowned for its broad range of eating places anyway.

The Curfew name is steeped in Berwick’s history. Only a royal messenger or doctor was allowed pass through the town gates after 8pm.

Today? Best get there early.

The Curfew’s spring beer festival takes place from Friday May 3 to Sunday May 5.

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Cheers North East by Alastair Gilmour - 3w ago

First & Last Brewery, based behind the Bird In Bush pub in Elsdon, near Otterburn in Northumberland capitalises on not one but two avenues of brand awareness. It’s the first brewery you come to in England and also the last, depending on your direction of travel.

First & Last (F&L) is owned by Red and Sam Kellie. Red was instrumental in setting up StuBrew at Newcastle University, Europe’s first student-run microbrewery. She has also been heavily involved with Twice Brewed Brewery near Bardon Mill in Hadrian’s Wall country but is gradually cutting back her involvement to concentrate on F&L.

First & Last is deeply entrenched in everything Northumberland; it’s part of their DNA, their USP and their raison d’être.

Sam Kellie says: “As a family-run business, we believe in living life to the full and contributing to the community that we live in. We also like having as much fun as we can along the way.

“Northumberland inspires us. We’re always looking for ways to reduce our impact on this wild landscape and the wider environment. It’s no good just going through the motions, you’ve got to brew with love, passion and care and that’s what comes across.

“We don’t want to get pigeonholed in the traditional market, but we brew to our market which is Northumberland. There’s no point in me doing a heavily-hopped cloudy DIPA which I love drinking anyway. Northumberland isn’t like that.

“I like working with the customer – the pub and the consumer – else we don’t have a sustainable relationship.

“We like to work with other brewers in Northumberland, although I don’t like the term ‘collaboration’; it’s more boardroom than brewery. I prefer ‘in cahoots with’. We love bringing in new ideas and it always interests me how other brewers work.

“We’ve got Jonny from Cheviot Brewery coming to see us as well as Theo from Rigg & Furrow, while Luke from the Enigma Tap in North Shields is hosting a tap takeover for us on May 3. We’ve also been chatting to Heppell Gin about using juniper in beer.”

Working closely with First & Last (alongside the Bird In Bush) is foraging business Northern Wilds, based in nearby Tarset. They collected gorse flowers for an “in cahoots with” pale ale for International Women’s Day and sloe berries for a similar project with StuBrew which resulted in a German-style sour beer called Gose’berry Jam and also featured coriander seeds, salt and raspberries.

“Rowan, damsons, gorse flowers – it’s all about what’s around at the time,” says Sam. “Ingredients are exciting to us and everything like bog myrtle is seasonal and traditional. Hedgerow beers are unique and that’s what makes us part of Northumberland; why we are here.”

Sam believes beer shares a great analogy with music – he loves listening to music while he’s out delivering.

He says: “Hops are my guitar solos, but you have to have a great rhythm section and bass line to get the best out of it.”

But that’s going off on a different riff altogether.

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Cheers North East by Alastair Gilmour - 3w ago

Milfield is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it village and therefore doesn’t score highly on a destination map of Northumberland. But travellers on the A697 are advised to take stock and pull in to the Red Lion, a classic stone building that has history dating back to the mid-1700s. Originally frequented by sheep drovers and passengers on the Mail Stage Coach between Edinburgh and London, it is now undoubtedly one of the county’s most impressive food and drink stop-overs.

These days, fishermen, golfers, shooting parties and tourists benefit from Claire and Iain Burn’s simple innkeeping principles – well-kept ale, wholesome food, efficient service and a bed for the night with a generous breakfast that sends folks happily on their way.

“We have a great local following for lunch and beer from pensioners to the young farmers on a weekend,” says Iain. “The four chalets at the rear have been going really well in the four years we’ve had them, as are the two upstairs rooms.”

The Red Lion offers a range of sandwiches to pub classics – steak and ale pie – and firm favourites such as pan-fried salmon fillet with garlic king prawns, followed by decadent homemade desserts.

It’s wholesome home-cooked food, freshly prepared using locally sourced seasonal ingredients. The core menu features up to six dishes which changes every four to six weeks.

Black Sheep Bitter is a permanent cask ale with two local beers always available on rotation, which could be from Allendale, First & Last, Credence or Cheviot breweries as well as Tempest craft lager.

Iain says: “I’ve always said Black Sheep Bitter is the fish and chips of beer. No matter what you’ve got on the menu there’s always someone who wants fish and chips.”

The Red Lion also caters for visitors to the area who tend to go out exploring during the day and come back in the evening.

“What we want is a nice sunny day with an easterly wind when it’s too cold to be on the beach,” says Iain. “There’s no pattern to days. We’re not particularly a destination area like Bamburgh. Custom comes from five to ten miles away, so one day you’ll do one table and the next it’ll be thirty people.

“Visitors come for the fishing on the rivers Till and Tweed. We do a really popular bingo lunch once a month which attracts about thirty people and a Wednesday quiz. We host the Borders Gliding Club and have a horse-racing syndicate which is great fun – and quite successful. And the leek club has been going since 1966.

“There’s a domino school on a Sunday night after the diners have left. I’ve never seen so much cheating for ten pence.”

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Cheers North East by Alastair Gilmour - 3w ago

A building once used as a slaughterhouse, for kennelling trail hounds, fixing cars and building rabbit hutches has a new lease of life. Cheviot Brewery has been operating from an attractively whitewashed building on the Ford & Etal estate in Northumberland for the past nine months.

It’s a gestation period that has seen it leap from brewhouse installation to highly visible bar counter significance through attention to detail and quality products.

The Cheviot team is Pete Nash and Jonny Hodgson – respectively director of sales and director of ales – plus Neil Baker, an extremely talented artist and designer (the day-job) who created Cheviot’s distinctive branding and imagery. The brewing plant came from Goose Eye Brewery in Keighley, West Yorkshire. Pete and Jonny – originally from Bradford – had been to a beer festival there and discovered by chance that the business was expanding and that the seven-barrel kit was for sale. They bought it.

“We’d been planning for nearly three years before taking the plunge,” says Pete. “We had been to the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona in 2015 and were sitting in a brewery tap talking about our passion for beer. So you might say beer festivals and brewery taps are dangerous places.”

The plant is a rather handsome beast, particularly as it’s been fitted to retain most of Goose Eye’s Victorian-style gravity drop process (top to bottom with little in the way of horizontal pumping), making the best use of the space available.

Jonny says: “Goose Eye have been brilliant, giving us great advice from their 30 years in brewing and telling us how they themselves would do it if they were starting again. We made a 3D model of the brewhouse so as we knew where everything was going to be.”

With an emphasis on local produce and supply, Cheviot uses only Simpson’s malt, wheat milled at Heatherslaw Mill, and almost exclusively English hops, save for a small amount from the US and Slovenia.

“Simpson’s is only just up the road at Berwick,” says Pete. “The barley and wheat is grown all around here and it was always part of the plan to be as local as possible. The Curfew in Berwick really likes our Holy Bounty Oyster Stout; it got great reviews at one of their beer festivals – and as we’re all about collaborating with the local community we got talking to Lindisfarne Oysters about using their oysters.”

Barmoor Castle Country Park and Bear Claw Brewery have also been tremendous with their support and advice. The locally-fitted brewery pipework is, according to Pete, ”a thing of beauty”. In the other direction, spent grain goes off to the neighbouring Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre.

Pete says: “We now brew up to twice a week, depending on demand. Some weeks we’ve done three brews but it’s settled down nicely.”

Prominent in the brewery is a monster of a heat exchanger, four fermenters and a cold store stacked with full casks and a spare fermenting vessel which will undoubtedly come in handy.

“At first we thought, we’ll never fill all this,” says Pete. “Famous last words.”

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Cheers North East by Alastair Gilmour - 3w ago

There are four sheds in Graham Dury’s garden in Whitley Bay. Four sheds, one greenhouse and a brick garage

“I’m a man who likes sheds,” says the Viz writer and cartoonist.

Graham and fellow Viz-er Simon Thorp work together in one of them, throwing ideas at each other, writing scripts – often for other comics – and being rather sensible about the whole process. In fact, for a team that’s on a deadline, they appear remarkably relaxed.

The shed is heavily insulated and is for all the world like a domestic sitting room rather than a workplace for men who like sheds. A wood-burning stove warms the place from one corner, a low-level table in the centre separates a luxurious armchair and matching settee where the pair face each other and decide what the nation is going to laugh or groan at in the upcoming publication or the compilation annual they’re putting together.

Graham says: “Thorpy tips up about 10.30 and we talk bollocks and what’s going on in the world before we have our lunch at 12.30.”

“We come in every day and say ‘What’s going to happen?’”, says Simon, who says he always had the yen to work in a shed. Graham originally bought the shed to use in his passion for woodworking and reckons when he retires he’ll fill it up again with tools.

He says: “It’s not one of those things that you go into the shed to get away from the wife. I love her company, it’s not that. It’s just I don’t like Thorpy coming into my house – he steals things. And I don’t like him using my toilet.

“It’s leaving the house to go to work, a psychological thing, even though it’s just ten yards down the path, you’re in your office. We only write in the shed then draw in the house. Both of us do – in fact I write here and draw in his house and he writes here and draws in mine…

“It’s a hotbed of comedy in here, your sides will split.”

A pinboard on one wall is covered in coloured sheets of paper of all sizes with scribbles, ideas, names and doodles all over them – things to do, and subjects to explore or return to, and stuff that’s amused them at some time which they often can’t remember why.

Although he wouldn’t admit it, Simon has an encyclopedic knowledge of comedians and regularly unearths obscure digital channel programmes with the likes of Arthur Askey (“a very funny man”), Jimmy Jewell (“a very funny man”), Acker Bilk (“a very funny man”) and Dick Hills, who with partner Sid Green wrote scripts for Morecambe & Wise. It’s the sort of thing that has informed cartoon strips such as the Fat Slags, Gilbert Ratchet and Black Bag: The Faithful Border Binliner,

Despite their constant ribaldry, it’s obvious Simon and Graham have a great working relationship; in all their time working closely together, they have never had a proper argument, more like mild disagreements.

“Mind, I wouldn’t lend you any of my garden tools – that’s when I’d get really upset,” says Graham. “Remember the flame-thrower for getting rid of weeds?”

(Simon was apparently too scared of the scorching blast to use it, before handing it back.)

“If one of us doesn’t like an idea we’ll just go ‘hmmmm’ then move on. Around one in five makes it into the comic. Simon once suggested an idea about a gigolo…”

“He wasn’t a gigolo,” says Simon. “It was a story I saw in the paper about a professional escort who wanted to retire but couldn’t because his friends would realise he hadn’t got a job.”

What follows is a lengthy riff on the man being found out living above a launderette, working in a fish finger factory, and taking time off work to fly over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter to have fifty shades of sex in a luxury hotel. The response, it transpires, was “hmmmm”.

The ideas flow across the table: Winston Churchill’s cook, real people with odd names (Minty Clinch, anyone?), 1970s Leeds United footballers, and Viz recollections – the disastrous Issue 16 that had a crispy batter cover, and the Wembley ballboy called Perkin Parmit. “He still makes me laugh,” says Graham.

Simon admits he and his wife went to a garden centre near Edinburgh at the weekend to buy a shed.

“It was more of a workshop. She does silversmithing and makes jewellery out of ashes enclosed in glass. They’re actually very nice.”

It would seem the humble shed has a life force of its own.

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Cheers North East by Alastair Gilmour - 3w ago

Tom and Nicola Smith are taking advantage of building an extension to the brewery in their Northumberland garden – they’re having the house completely renovated at the same time. Either that or they’re making the most of the domestic building work to add more production space to Muckle Brewery.

In any case, they are about to spend the next few months in a caravan parked on the drive at Park Village, near Haltwhistle. Making beer should not be affected too much – Tom is a fencing contractor and built the impressive brewery himself (with the help of a few friends) and working around problems is his stock in trade.

“When I thought about brewing I knew it couldn’t just be a shed you can buy from anywhere,” he says. “The new extension is going to be curved, like the bow of a ship. We’re brewing three days a week then packaging – bottles have taken over massively from cask – and selling at markets, food fairs and online.”

Nicola is a radiographer at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary working four days a week, then, bottler, label-sticker, sales person, fetcher, carrier and oft-times brewing assistant on the other three.

She says: “It’s been three years now; it’s something you wouldn’t do if you didn’t like it. We get a community buzz from the likes of Hexham food market and it’s great meeting customers and building relationships with them.”

The Muckle shed (although the word ‘shed’ doesn’t do this magnificent structure justice) measures 26 feet by 12 and build from Siberian Larch, a particularly hardy timber with an aesthetic beauty, and long lifespan. The walls are laser varnished and the floor sealed for hygiene and ease of cleaning.

The brewing vessels (named Tom and Jerry and Eric and Ernie) are fitted with wheels which means they can be easily shifted around and cornered off and clad separately depending on their function – boiling or chilling – at any one given stage.

“Some breweries have separate fermenting rooms but we have to make best use of the space we have,” says Tom. “It took us a while to get used to it and we have our own way of working.”

Nicola agrees. “We had to learn it all,” she says. “But you always find a way round everything.”

The Muckle Brewery shed, perched on top of an 80-foot cliff, overlooks mature woodland with the Park Burn running through it way below. On the horizon is Hadrian’s Wall country.

Sitting sipping your own beer on a brewery verandah on a balmy evening while pheasants cackle and other birds swoop below you must surely be one of life’s great joys. Without sounding hippy, something of that landscape has simply got to be absorbed in beers such as Muckle Chuckle, Muckle Tickle, Whin Sill Blonde and King’s Crag.

“We do cask to order, but have made a rod for our own backs by having a range of nine beers,” says Tom. “It’s funny, what sells well in one place doesn’t in another. We supply all around Northumberland and The Samson in Gilsland all the time. Our low-strength beers are the best-sellers.

“The shed was originally going to be a summer house, well, half brewery and half summer house. It’s great to be able to walk out into the back garden to work. It’s normally a constant 20º in there so it’s a pleasant temperature to work in.

“It took us a while to work out what makes us unique – having a brewery in the garden in Hadrian’s Wall country. There aren’t many places like this. We’re not about taking over the world – the local market is what we’re after.”

An acute sense for inventiveness has lead Tom to use whinstone (normally found as railway track ballast) in the kettle when brewing Whin Sill Bitter. He was a bit wary at first and asked a geologist friend about the likelihood of it exploding in the heat. He assured him that as it had originally come out of the Earth as molten lava, a bit of a boil would make no difference.

Beers in cask and bottle are often delivered in the Smith’s VW campervan to a collection of highly-regarded Northumberland pubs, plus The Sill (Northumberland National Park’s visitor centre) and specialist beer shops around the region. Drops often double as nights away, so it’ll come in handy when the house and shed building work gets under way.

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Cheers North East by Alastair Gilmour - 3w ago

Tim Barnes had twin ambitions – to make his own beer and sit in his shed listening to music. Both boxes have been well and truly ticked but it has been a long journey – quite literally – for the primary school teacher from South London.

Tim, his wife Martine and two sons now live in Richmond, North Yorkshire, in a two-storey house which was previously – on ground level at least – a butcher’s shop. An archway with huge double doors leads to an attractive courtyard and outbuildings previously used as a slaughterhouse. This is Tim’s “shed”, his home-brew and music bolthole which, named Blues Night, is the end result of a search for suitable premises to open a record shop.

He admits teaching wasn’t a passion but it paid the bills. But what made him think more about the future was the death of a friend who travelled the world playing records in clubs.

“He wasn’t very good at it but managed to make it work,” says Tim. “He was always broke too, so I thought I could do something similar and my wife said ‘you could brew beer as well’. I had never done it before. I thought I’d brew in the summer doing some sort of hospitality work.

“We sold the house in Peckham, bought a motorhome, took the boys out of school, and travelled all round looking for a place that would suit a record shop.”

Eventually heading for Scotland, they hit horrendous weather and were almost washed into the river at Rothbury in Northumberland – an area Tim knew well from his youth as a mountain biker. Retreating south, they fetched up in Richmond where he persuaded Martine into buying the house (which he had already had his eye on).

Their sons’ education came partly from Tim and Martine on their travels but mostly by learning about places they had visited and interesting things they had seen.

“They’re really settled now in school,” he says. “I then did what I had to do – I read a brilliant book on brewing by James Morton – and realised beer is all about flavour and colour. I haven’t made one yet that I don’t like.

“Both of my ambitions required the involvement of other people to make them work. So the records are for sale and the beer is produced in sufficient quantities that there’s always three or four different styles to try.

“It’s just my hobby, really. People seem to like it though, and they come in between 2pm and 7pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, mostly in ones and twos. Sometimes I have six or seven people in there at a time and I’m rarely on my own for very long.

“I really hope to keep at it for a good long time, but I don’t want to scale the operation up much. I like it how it is.”

Tim is far too modest about his beers – brewed in the kitchen – but they are certainly of commercial quality with myriad flavours all taking their rightful place. He can’t charge for them but customers donate money which goes towards ingredients – but Tim insists they don’t have to.

And of course, the beers have music-themed names that reflect the wide nature of his taste, experience and stock of vinyl – Lightnin’ Hoppings, Wort Jansch, Isaac Hazy, King Trubby and Lord Pitchinger, named after the calypso singer Lord Kitchener who was one of the first West Indians to disembark from the Empire Windrush in 1948.

Lightnin’ Hoppings (6.5% abv) is a fruity and spicy American-style IPA with hits of ginger (“I don’t know where that comes from but I dry hop for longer than I’m supposed to.”)

Blues Night Records is small and square in shape with stools and settees providing somewhere to leaf through a magazine from the pile of old NMEs, admire the montage of record sleeves on one wall, or ready themselves to flip through boxes, boxes and boxes of vinyl. Ultimately, pubs are Tim’s passion, alongside everything that goes with them. He says: “I’m very, very fond of pubs. I was involved in a community pub in Peckham called The Ivy House which was the first community buy-out in London. I used to call it my beer space. When I looked at my monthly bank statements I would call it my Ivy House Tax.

“I’d like to think I’ve taken an element of that into my small space here. People come in when they’ve finished work on a Friday and a lot of people come to Richmond on holiday. They’ll have one or two beers then move on, but they use it in a very respectful way. People are very approachable in the north, warm and genuine.

“It’s Lightnin’ Hopkins’ birthday today so I’ve got a projector and I’ll show a film of him tonight. I’ll probably be the only one here when it’s finished…”

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