Whilst I scribble about pubs and strolling about, the beer often seems incidental. From debates with my mate, Clive of IPA, I realise that beer is now more contentious than politics or religion. More to the point what do I and my jaded taste buds know? I knows what I likes and it ain’t a mango sherbet sour in a can. Draught Bass from a jug is exciting enough for me.
However from my walking forays in the North Country one brewery stands out for me. In the Lakes and Northumberland, Allendale has become my first choice whenever I see it. I’m always suspicious when I see a wide range of beers from a small brewery but whatever the beer style Allendale seems to have it right.
Refreshing, not over hopped, but always interesting isn’t a bad start. Like another favourite, the Yorkshire Dales brewery, here’s a small brewer that knows its craft. Their brews are in no way dull, they manage to get an old grump like me to try new flavours. It’s also no bad thing that Allendale’s pump clips are a work of art and the pubs that serve their beers seem to be a cut above. The Northumberland Arms at Felton, Tweedies in Grasmere and Twice Brewed near Hadrian’s Wall are a good introduction to pubs that know what they are doing.
To top it all their bottles* seem to retain the quality of their beers and can be bought from the brewery en route across the North Pennines from Hexham to Barnard Castle. To go all Shell Book of the Road on you, one of the most beautiful drives in an undiscovered corner of Northern England.
All praise then for a craft brewer that only started in 2006 yet seems to have mastered the traditions of English brewing as well as developing a creativity to produce interesting brews. Bless ’em.
*Also available at Tebay Services on the M6.