Published on April 4, 2018 | by Alastair Gilmour


Hume from Hume

The mention of Hume Street in the Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle, would normally have beer lovers searching Google Maps. But it’ll shortly be on many a radar as the home of Brinkburn St Brewery Bar & Kitchen. Next month, in fact..

The brewery is already firing away nicely in a former Maling Pottery building – black-and-white striped vessels and all – busy producing the likes of The Never-ending Pursuit of Hoppiness, Groovy Juice, Byker Blonde, Byker Brown Ale, Geordie Pagoda and House of the Rising Sun under the watchful eye of head brewer Richard Bazen and his three decades of brewing experience, alongside Stew Southern riding shotgun and Natasha Allen as deputy sheriff.

It’s yet another ambitious project that will propel this part of the city into national beer significance, together with exciting developments by Northern Alchemy Brewing just up the hill and over the road.

“We intend to complement the other Ouseburn Valley venues when we open on May 17,” says Brinkburn St managing director Lee Renforth. “The date coincides with the royal wedding, so maybe we’ll get a late extension.”

The beer serving area is actually a shipping container with a section removed, much like an enormous ice-cream van and featuring a counter made of polished concrete – which has got to be a “must-see”.

Tyne Wear Museums & Archives have been involved in the recreation due to the historic and architecturally sensitive nature of the site, although the present building dates from the 1930s. Another interesting feature are girders that were manufactured in Middlesbrough by Dorman Long, the company that supplied the fabric of the Tyne Bridge, and a short tunnel that disappears under Hume Street.

“We’re recycling as much material as possible,” says Lee Renforth. “Recycling is a very important part of what we do. The brewery has been upgraded completely with twice the production capability of the former eight-barrel one we originally had. Brewers often say their beers are like their bairns. There’s a story behind every one of them and they love them dearly.”

Also on the team is Josie Smith, a well known figure in the Newcastle pub trade, having spent eight years with the Sir John Fitzgerald group at the Bacchus and Fitzgeralds on Grey Street when it was awarded pub of the year by the local Campaign For Real Ale (Camra) branch She then had a spell at Colonel Porters in the city, but now at Bribkburn St she has been responsible for bar layout and menu themes, whilst becoming an expert – out of necessity – in planning and building regulations.

The kitchen, which the whole enterprise revolves around, is the domain of head chef Gareth Baty, originally from Carlisle, and a young man who has been making a name for himself in the London restaurant scene, working with some of the top names in the business and on private events for the likes of Alexander McQueen, Harrods, Vogue and Dom Perignon Champagne. His mother is a Geordie and a former chef, as was his grandfather who criss-crossed the region helping to feed miners in their darkest days.

He says: “I feel the Brinkburn St project to be the most exciting one yet.” His style of “good, honest food” will use beer as much as possible during cooking and will pair with Brinkburn St beers. A community of local growers, farmers and producers has been set up with the likes of local bread and black pudding coming in and spent grains going out to feed pigs which will then come back as sausages. Weekly menus will change with what’s available and in season, while a Scotch Egg of the Week will be a constant on the menu.

Regular events planned include The Brewer’s Table, a beer and food matching dinner; Rum and Gin Masterclasses, and a Saturday Brew Club under the strapline of “brew, learn, lunch and beer” which offers hands-on experience and a chance to learn the mystical art of brewing.

Where Brinkburn St Bar & Kitchen is concerned, great beer and first-class food are never-ending pursuits.

About the Author

Alastair Gilmour

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