Published on March 4, 2019 | by Alastair Gilmour0
Compare and contrast
There hardly a month goes by and a new pub appears on the horizon – sometimes two or three. Alastair Gilmour drops in on a couple of them
The latest significant addition to Newcastle’s burgeoning bar and restaurant scene is overwhelming. Beeronomy, on the city’s Hood Street – the former headquarters of the Newcastle Building Society – is big, it’s ambitious, it’s innovative, and partly because of that, it’s a touch confusing.
The Beeronomy concept is the brainchild of Matt and Garry Fawson whose Mordue Brewery needs no introduction as it’s one of the region’s longest-serving microbreweries with far too many awards in its 22 years to easily tot up (including Workie Ticket being name Campaign For Real Ale Champion Beer of Britain in 1997). Their thrust is beer and food pairing with a menu designed by Rhian Cradock, chef/patron at The Feathers Inn, Hedley on the Hill, Northumberland – another multi-award winner.
At Beeronomy’s heart is the sharing of knowledge, whether cocktail making, wine tasting or whisky appreciation. Regular monthly events will pair food and beer. Review comments posted since the bar opened late last year are overwhelmingly positive. Beer-wise, there’s as extensive a range of cask and keg as you’d expect from such an investment with a choice that should suit every palate.
House-special Beeronomy Blonde is clearly Mordue Northumbrian Blonde, a well-constructed, easy-going golden ale with a playful hop and malt balance. Tiny Rebel Cwtch is another former Champion Beer of Britain and Titanic Plum Porter is a firm favourite around the North East. Ten keg lines feature the likes of unfiltered Carlsberg lager, San Miguel, Brooklyn Scorcher IPA and Beavertown’s Neck Oil and Gamma Ray. Ask any of the staff and you’ll be advised on what food pairs with what beer. There is a selection of small plates, sharing plates (charcuterie a speciality), oysters and cheeses with main dishes featuring seafood, shortrib burgers, pork T-bone, with vegetarian and vegan options. The manager’s special of crispy lamb, artichoke, yogurt and seafood chowder is a very reasonable £7.95.
The space Beeronomy occupies is huge; the bar counter is long and busy with an open kitchen at the far end. Exposed brickwork and highly visible ducting, air conditioning and services are de rigeur these days, as are areas of distressed timber contrasting with painted wood. The focal point, however, is an enormous mural which brings to mind early-20th Century Austrian symbolist artist Gustav Klimt. This blend of fine art and industrialism – lots of utilitarian metal mesh, too – with vivid drapes, chandelier-style lighting and additional coach lamps is debatably a curious mix. But debate is what pubs thrive on.
Beeronomy is the high point of two decades of Mordue’s hard work, beer industry acievement, and relentless research. Crispy pig head croquettes, white miso and apple served with pale ale; now that’s not confusing at all.