A new book toasting the renaissance in North East brewing has been published in time for Christmas.
The Great North East Brewery Guide (Offstone Publishing, £15) is the definitive celebration of everything hop related from the Tweed to the Tees.
Compiled by award-winning North East beer writer and editor of Cheers magazine, Alastair Gilmour, it is a spirited modern day account of an alcoholic drink whose origins can be traced back to the dawn of civilization.
It taps into the boom in craft ale sales, which this year has helped push the number of UK breweries past the 2,000 mark for the first time since the 1930s – with the North East boasting some of the most innovative, knowledgeable and skilful exponents.
From the smallest and youngest brewers, such as Acklington’s Rigg & Furrow launched in February 2017, to the largest and oldest in Hartlepool-based Camerons set up in 1865, The Great North East Brewery Guide profiles in detail 35 of the region’s great independents for whom the pursuit of the best ale is a passion.
Alastair says: “There is more choice than ever in the North East. The number of breweries has exploded with more than 60 at the most recent count, and no slowdown in sight.
“It shows that people are willing to try new and different beers, and that aspiring brewers have responded to the public’s insatiable thirst for adventurous flavours.
“With so many to choose from now, The Great North East Brewery Guide is both a celebration to the good beer being made, and a direct response to the need to better inform those drinkers looking to get the most from the vast array of regional brews available in our pubs and off-licences.
“Whether you are an aspiring brewer, avid beer drinker, looking for an unusual Christmas present, or are just wanting to discover more about the creative people practicing their craft here in the North East, then this is the book for you.”
Created by the team behind Cheers – Northumberland-based Offstone Publishing – The Great North East Brewery Guide has been inspired by a late night bar stool conversation on the growth of craft brewing across the region.
Alastair adds: “Cheers was founded in 2010 when the word microbrewery was still unfamiliar to some, and many of the pleasures of real ale were still reserved for those in the know.
“We are proud to report that in the years since Cheers first hit pubs throughout the North East, not only has the magazine become a must-read for discerning beer drinkers, but there are many more people both making and serving it.”
Terry Laybourne, renowned North East chef and owner of the 21 Hospitality Group, which operates the award-winning The Broad Chare in Newcastle, has penned the foreword to the guide, which contains 132 full colour pages and detailed write-ups on each of the featured breweries.
In it he says: “We should champion the best of our breweries, where people are putting their own personality and love into their beer.
“This all adds real character to our region’s identity. Long may they flourish and continue to innovate.”
The Great North East Brewery Guide is published by Offstone Publishing at £15 and is available to buy from Waterstones; Fenwick, Newcastle; selected independent book shops; partner breweries; pubs and off-licences.