March is going to be a funny month this year. Sure, we’ve had record high temperatures that are likely to linger, St Patrick’s Day marks the middle of the month, Mothers’ Day is approaching, and the Cheltenham Festival will make the flutterers among us richer or poorer.
Season-defining matches are hotting up for our football clubs – up, down, stick or twist – but at least the introduction of new beer styles will reflect the changing season.
Last year’s Beast From The East is but a memory, but what’s this on the horizon? Something called Brexit, is it? Depending on your opinion (or the latest decision by the prime minister), March 29 will see us skipping merrily into the sunny glades of freedom from the EU or have us quoting endlessly from Private Frazer in Dads’ Army: “Wur Doomed. Doomed ah tell ye.”
To that end, we’ve introduced a European flavour to this issue. Beer, wine and pubs from across “Le Continong” demonstrate what our neighbours do exceptionally well – and, of course, they’ll continue to be there come March 30, but somehow in a different way. At least we can still claim Bedlington (see page 24).
And we’re welcoming some of the finest female brewing talent to the region for the Siris beer festival and symposium at Newcastle University (page10). Quite a coup.
Editor, Cheers North East