A fantastic summer of sunshine was finally broken with a wet and windy Friday in early September. A great day then to get out and about visiting pubs that have been put in the 2014 Good Beer Guide and hand them their letter of notification and marketing material. Putting on their raincoats and hats, together with shorts and flip-flops, were John Collinson (Durham Branch Secretary) and Julian Allison (Durham Pubs Officer).
First stop was the Company Row in Consett, which is in the GBG for the first time. This Wetherspoon pub is a beacon of real ale in a town where many pubs avoid it. We met the manager Liam Burgess who was thrilled to be included in the guide.
Whilst in Consett we dropped in to the Grey Horse who are accustomed to receiving their annual notification for the GBG. We couldn’t resist the temptation to nip round the back of the pub, to inspect the latest brew from Consett Ale Works. We were in luck, as the brew was just finishing its boil, but couldn’t guess the hops from their appearance and smell.
Next we were off to the Stables Bar & Restaurant in Beamish, where the bar was closed so we dropped the GBG welcome pack into the Stables Brewery next door. Just as well, as we were treated to a first edition of the new bottle conditioned real ale (Silver Buckles, IPA, 4.8%) for us to try later and email our thoughts (the beer was excellent).
Next, off to the Five Quarter in Peterlee, to meet the manager of this Wetherspoon pub, Shaun Nichols. He was keen to discuss his wide selection of real ales, which he chose to suit the local market rather than the big name brands. After a burger and pint, we were off again in the driving rain.
Lastly, on to the Castle Eden Inn, Castle Eden, to meet the manager Brian Rostron, who was excited about his inclusion in the GBG for the first time. The Inn is a great country pub with a good selection of real ale and food. After a half of Caledonian Deuchars IPA and Timothy Taylors Landlord, both in great condition, we headed home to dry out. The wind and rain didn’t let off all day but didn’t dampen our spirits. A great day out and many happy and well deserved GBG entries.