Published on July 11, 2017 | by Alastair Gilmour


Raise a glass and say ‘cheese’

A trend is developing that sees pubs and bottle shops doubling up with something complementary to fine beer.

It doesn’t take much working out that the Box Social Barcuterie in Newcastle has cold meats and sausages on offer alongside great beer from its “mother” brewhouse.

The Block & Bottle in Gateshead is a traditional, organic butchery with fridges full of interesting beers and a growler station primed with four craft kegs, so it comes as no surprise to discover a pub with cheese attached. Cheese and Scotch eggs. The aroma in Hops & Cheese in Hartlepool is faintly Brie in origin – wafting from the chiller that sits next to the pub counter. This is a well thought-out pub, a former printing shop in Tower Street in the town run by Hannah Thompson and Callum Willmott who previously worked at the celebrated Dr Phil’s Real Ale House in Middlesbrough. The interior fittings and fixtures sit well together with blue-grey walls broken by splashes and strips of bright colours; a large “fat-bottomed” pew is softened by cushion work, a huge bookcase offers a mix of reading matter and quirky details like cheese-grater lampshades don’t go un-noticed.

The counter front is papered with maps showing New York, Paris, Asia, Italy and the World at large, while behind the handpulls (Hawkshead Bitter, Three Kings Dark Side of the Toon and Flat Tyre Slack Alice Cider) and keg Vedett, Fruli and Thornbridge AM:PM, a gin cabinet peers out sparkling with regional expressions. Hops & Cheese is also high on wine, seemingly put together by someone who knows what they’re doing.

The pub is barely three minutes walk from Hartlepool Station – it’s closed on Tuesdays, so check your cheese and beer times Caerphilly.

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Alastair Gilmour

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