Published on July 7th, 2014 | by Alastair Gilmour


Brewery profile: Durham Brewery

One of the region’s most accomplished microbreweries celebrates a significant anniversary

August is a very big month for Durham Brewery. It celebrates 20 years in the business – its modest beginnings have morphed into two decades of producing some of the nation’s finest and most cutting-edge beers.

Former music teachers Steve and Christine Gibbs set up their enterprise in 1994, turning their home-brew hobby into a commercial business and quickly became pioneers of the light, hoppy style that so many people have latterly switched on to. Their first brew, Celtic, won beer of the festival at the 1994 Durham Beer Festival.

In fact, some tied pubs would tell Christine in the early days that they didn’t want any Durham beer as it was “too good” and that they’d never be able to sell “the other stuff”.

Head brewer Steve Gibbs’ White Range – explorations of myriad hop varieties over a pale malt base – became the Durham signature style. Magnificent stouts followed, then wheat beers long before they became fashionable in the UK, and Bavarian lagerbiers influenced heavily by the family’s regular trips to Germany.

Durham Brewery has always squeezed as many of the city’s ecclesiastical references as it can into naming its products – Bede’s Chalice, St Cuthbert, Evensong and Benedictus are only a few, but its best seller (and its longest-running beer) is the complex but very accessible Magus (3.8% abv) which comes with the quaffing characteristics that any brewer in the land would be proud of.

Durham Brewery is having a birthday “bash” on Saturday August 2 (noon-5pm) to celebrate its 20 years of fermenting and conditioning. An anniversary beer, 1994 (10% abv), is described as “a hop-packed monster” and uses masses of Columbus hops over a pale but rich and creamy malt base with pink peppercorns and orange added for a spicy kick. It promises to be yet another magnificent product and an iconic.

Where is it?
Unit 6a, Bowburn North Industrial Estate, Bowburn, Co Durham DH6 5PF
Tel: 0191 3771991 email: info@durhambrewery.co.uk

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Alastair Gilmour

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