Published on July 5, 2018 | by Alastair Gilmour


The south bank show

What’s the connection between the Angel of the North and By The River Brewing Co? One is a well-established icon of the North East and the other is so new it smells of sawn timer and fresh paint – and hasn’t developed wings yet – so it’s not that.

Either end of Gateshead Borough’s geographic reach? Not quite, Gateshead extends a little further south than Allerdene.

Stumped? Rust. The Angel was designed by Antony Gormley as a time-served beacon of northern spirit. Nowt wrong with rust; rust happens.

The brand-spanking-new By The River creative container community now settled under the Tyne Bridge in Gateshead, points to the future in its similarly chestnut, pleasingly corroded patina. Rust is the past, rust is the future, and dismiss either at your peril.

This development, created for The Great Exhibition of the North from of the ashes of a garden village that had vision written all over it but fag-packet forecasts, is simply stunning.

It took a mere 17 weeks to turn a derelict site into a major local, national and international attraction, thanks to the foresight of By The River Brewing Co directors Dave Stone and Rob Cameron who are also deeply involved with Wylam Brewery at the Palace of Arts at Exhibition Park in Newcastle and a similarly separate portfolio of pubs and nightspots.

The brewery itself is a 15-barrel micro-outfit with a taproom – 20 keg lines, no less – al fresco area and stunning views over the Tyne to Newcastle Quayside.

The next-door Träkol restaurant is a fiercely seasonal venue featuring an open-fire kitchen with nose-to-tail cooking. It’s responsible shopping capitalising on British rare breeds for flavoursome, simple food.

There’s a cycle centre too – by day, The Backyard Bike Shop specialises in custom-builds, bike servicing and pouring fine coffee. By night it morphs into a covert cocktail bar.

And on the cards is HWKRMRKT, a hawker market space where you can kick back on weekends and sample the finest independent street food alongside freshly-brewed beers and small-batch spirits plus wines from a host of suppliers.

The rust is history.

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Alastair Gilmour

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