Week 8 takes us to the Metropolitan County of Tyne & Wear, created in 1974 it comprises of Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland. The Metropolitan county was made up of regions from Northumberland, north of the River Tyne and Durham, South of the River Tyne. This is a maritime and industrial area where shipbuilding was the major industry with ship-yards all along the Tyne, there was also a monopoly of coal shipments down the east coast. The main geographic features would be the 2 river mouths that the county is based around.
Newcastle was originally founded by the Romans as Pons Aelius (Hadrian’s Bridge) around 2nd Century AD, Hadrian’s wall starts from what is now Wallsend in Newcastle. After the Romans left it was settled by Anglo Saxons creating the kingdom of Northumbria, with Pont Aelius becoming Monkchester. The area was later ravaged by the Danes and the settlements along the Tyne destroyed over this period and with subsequent battles against the Norman invaders. The Normans realised the strategic position and built a castle at the crossing calling it Novum Castellum, subsequently New Castle. During the Civil War Newcastle was a Royalist stronghold but became besiege by Cromwell’s Army and Scots allies. Sunderland was founded around early settlements at the mouth of the Wear, the most significant being the monastery of Monkwearmouth mentioned by the Venerable Bede. This also became a ship-building area and also an exporter of salt and coal.
The Angel of the North is a dramatic monument as you approach Tyne & Wear from the South.
We have 34 currently active Breweries for Tyne and Wear and 18 closed, for a total of 52. There are 6 of these which are Client / Commissioner brewers.
The oldest active Brewery we have for the area is Big Lamp Brewers (Est 1982). However this really ignores a couple of historically important brewers in Tyne & Wear. Firstly Newcastle Breweries (Tyne Brewery) the originators of the famous Newcastle Brown Ale were brewing as far back as 1749, their celebrated brand coming much later, but more of that later in the week. In Sunderland the principal brewer was Vaux (Est 1806) lasting for nearly 200 years within the city. The Brewery had expanded into running hotels by the 1990’s and was persuaded by Deutsch Bank to close their brewing operations and renaming to Swallow Group, which was subsequently eaten up by the disastrous Whitbread company.
The brewery with the largest range in Tyne & Wear on Ratebeer is Wylam Brewery with 245 beers listed.
Wylam Brewery was also named as Ratebeer’s Best Brewery for 2019 for Tyne & Wear, their collaboration with Buxton – Northern Powerhouse Brew Series 001 named as the best beer in 2019. The best new Brewery for 2019 was named as Alpha Delta Brewing.
The Top 10 Beers for Tyne & Wear are –
- Wylam Thank Your Lucky Stars
- Wylam / Finback Paying the Price for My Smooth Ride
- Wylam / Old Chimneys Summon up the Blood
- Wylam Imperial Macchiatto
- Wylam Intracitra Overdrive
- Wylam / Other Half is There Music in your Dreams
- Wylam / Track Open (2) Persuasion
- Wylam / Anchor Kill Phil Pt. 1
- Wylam I’m Not Mary
- Wylam / Hawkshead Pleasures in Darkness
In fact the whole of the top 30 is made up of Wylam beers, I checked this a few times to make sure it was correct.
The Top 5 Places for Tyne & Wear are –
- Free Trade Inn, Byker, Newcastle – 90
- Bacchus, Newcastle – 90
- Wylam Brewery, Newcastle – 89
- BrewDog Newcastle, Newcastle – 86
- Lady Grey’s, Newcastle – 84
The Top 5 Raters for Tyne & Wear are –
The person who resides in the county of Tyne & Wear with the most ratings on Ratebeer is –
@zacgillbanks - currently active.
Tyne & Wear is not an area I have frequented very often since beer rating, in fact only once that I can remember. Before then I have fond memories of drinking in Newcastle, South Shields and Sunderland. Travelled up there to watch Grimsby Town in league games at both Newcastle and Sunderland, but obviously not recently, not likely to happen again soon either.
I have no place reviews in the county because of the above, although a proposed road trip to Edinburgh via the area in 2020 would have rectified this, it never materialised because of ‘you know what’.
My grand total of 57 rates is not enough to make the top 50 list, as 66 is currently required to peek into it.
My top three beers are:
Mordue Headmasters Christmas Sermon
Maxim Double Maxim (pasteurised)
15 different breweries from me, 2 of which (Mordue & Jarrow) have closed.
Wylam beers keep turning up at our Shrewsbury Beer Share gatherings, so they are my most rated brewery on 19, Maxim weigh in with 8 and Mordue third with 6.
I have an open invitation to stay with a two old RAF mates who have retired up there, so will hopefully be up visiting them both once the world calms down, one’s North of Newcastle, the other South, closer to Sunderland.
Cheers for this Glen, these weekly County visits rekindle all sorts of memories and as a new ‘Lock Inn’ is upon us, it’s memories that are helping to keep me sane.
This is not a county that I have visited that often really and only once for an extended stay with beer involved, all my previous visits to the area were to do with football and away trips to Roker Park (Bloomin’ cold) and St James’s Park (Friendly Banter). In both cases we had to congregate in Durham and get bussed in to the respective grounds. On the one occasion that we had an extended stay we were camped near Whitley Bay and were able to catch a bus into Newcastle and Tynemouth. I have done very little on the walking front there, just a couple of miles of coastline before entering Northumberland on the Coastal Path. I intend to walk Hadrian’s Wall at some point which will involve some suburban walking in Newcastle.
I currently have 251 Ratings for Tyne & Wear but with no back-ups in stock, they have been difficult to get hold of over the years but I do stand in a rather surprising 8th place. Tyne & Wear is my 25th highest county for ratings with an average rating of 3.24. I have 38 individual breweries making me equal top with danlo, really surprised about that.
I have joined the Wylam band-wagon in that they are my most rated brewery with 36 beers, 2nd is the now closed Mordue Brewery on 33 and 3rd is Anarchy Brew on 19 Ratings.
I have 6 beers with a rating of 4 or over –
- Mordue IPA – 4.6
- Darwin Rolling Hitch – 4.0
- Darwin Hammonds Porter – 4.0
- Hadrian & Border Tall Ships – 4.0
- Wylam The Anatomy of Taverns – 4.0
- Wylam Imperial Macchiato – 4.0
The beer I have had with the highest rating is the Wylam Imperial Macchiato, note to self, try even more Wylam.
For me, the Breweries that I have given the highest average rating are (5 or more ratings) –
- Full Circle, Ave 3.64
- Darwin Brewery, Ave 3.529
- Anarchy Brew, Ave 3.489
I have managed to review just 17 places in Tyne & Wear, making it my 24th highest county for reviews. My favourites are –
- Dog & Rabbit, Whitley Bay – 78
- Left Luggage Room, Monkseaton – 76
- Lady Grey’s, Newcastle upon Tyne – 74
- Bridge Tavern (Tavernale), Newcastle upon Tyne – 74
- Bacchus, Newcastle upon Tyne - 72
Ah, another county that I’ve overlooked. I started rating in 2013, but haven’t been to Newcastle since 2011, when I did venture out on a mini pub crawl (I remember the Crown Posada and Bacchus, and after that, it gets Lindesfarne-level foggy). So no place rates.
I’m also fairly low on beer rates from the county. 48 in total, and I hate to think what I’d have without Wylam. Then again I have done okay for breweries with 16, with Wylam the preferred tipple at 19 rates followed by the closed Mordue (4) and Almasty, Anarchy, Maxim and Box Social at 3 each. I got a lot of Wylam down the Real Ale Classroom in Stoneygate (an area of Leicester south of the city centre) which always had it in perfect condition.
The best rated beers are:
- Wylam / Stigbergets Full Nelson (4.5)
- Wylam Macchiato (4.1)
- Wylam Morello Cherry Porter (4)
- Wylam / To Øl A Warning To The Curious (3.9)
- Mordue IPA (3.8)
The Full Nelson was one of my best beers of 2019, and one of those wonderful mid-strength hoppy pales that can compete against the best beers in existence.
I’ve been to Newcastle 5 or 6 times but not since I started using RB. A friend moved back up there so I am due a visit to Whitley Bay.
23 ratings from 10 breweries:
• Wylam - 11
• Almasty - 3
• Box Social - 2
• 1 each from By the River, Darwin, Errant, Great North Eastern, Maxim, Mordue and Two By Two.
Top Rated beers:
• Wylam Barrel Aged Wee Heavy 3.8
• Wylam / Kirkstall For The Purpose of Clarity 3.8
• Box Social / Elusive Raspberry Mojito 3.7
• Wylam Futureshock 3.7
• Wylam All Formats 3.7
• Box Social Cry Agony 3.7
• Flag Porter 1825 Original 3.7
I’ve only had the one top rated beer, the Wylam/Track collab
Of the Top Rated places I’ve been to the BrewDog and Lady Grays. However the bar at the Holiday Inn doesn’t make the list?
I sit at a total of 123 rates for Tyne & Wear putting me in joint 29th place overall. I do have one more in the fridge, so let’s say 28th place. Tyne & Wear is 6th in my list of UK counties by ratings, higher than I imagined.
Wylam is responsible for the vast majority of those stats, though. They’ve been one of my top breweries for the past few years and I try and pick up as many of their canned releases as possible (almost every one to be honest). While they focus on the big hoppy IPAs and DIPAs these days which I love, I also love the range of styles they produce and they’re almost always really well executed. I regard them as one of the top breweries in the country.
This obsession has led to me racking up a huge 104 rates for them alone, making me a top 5 rater. I should overtake fonefan in a month or two to claim 3rd place.
Aside from Wylam, my other 19 ratings are made up from just 6 other breweries: Anarchy, Alpha Delta, Box Social, By The River, Full Circle, and Almasty, with between 1-6 rates each.
As you can imagine, Wylam dominate my top rated beers from this county, two of their Triple IPAs from last year, Thank Your Lucky Stars and Tales of Majestic Puck take top spots with 4.6 and 4.5 respectively. Their imperial stout collab with Old Chimneys, Summon Up The Blood, takes third place with 4.4.
Somewhat ironic then, given all these ratings, that I’ve never been to Newcastle - it’s a bit of a trek from Cheltenham and I don’t like travelling at the best of times due to my severe anxiety. But Wylam’s brewery is top of my places to visit once things are back to normal. Pictures of it look gorgeous, and I can’t think of many breweries that have a more beautiful setting than theirs.
When you are in Whitley Bay get them to take you to the Dog & Rabbit, plus the Left Luggage Room is only a short walk too.
Fonefan never lets anyone pass without a battle! I took England off him twice and now look!
I have a total of 163 rates from Tyne and Wear, with is my 13th highest English county. This includes beers from 26 breweries.
There Breweries I have tired most from are:
- Wylam 59
- Box Social 17
- Alpha Delta 12
- Anarchy 11
The average score is 3.61 which is the highest for any English region. I have rated 28 beer 4.0 or higher. The top beer being:
In terms of places, I have spent many a long weekends in Newcastle, only ventured across the water to Gateshead a few times. There is also a nice cigar shop I go to that has a smoking room out back and you can bring your own beers. I have rated 8 places the top ones being:
The Wylam Brewery Tap in Exhibition Park might just be my favourite brewery tap room, it’s such an amazing building and only a short Uber ride out of town.
Currently on 137 rates for Tyne & Wear. Although outside the top 10 raters, am equal top for breweries with 38 rated along with imdownthepub.
My top scores are: Wylam 45:33 and Alpha Delta Aion both with 4.2. (the Wylam 45:33 was on tap at the brewery, first time visited and for my birthday which got it the high marks!)
Favourite place would be Wylam brewery, a great location, while for cider the Free Trade Inn, Mean Eyed Cat and the Town Mouse are all usually good spots, also special mention for CentrAle in the train station which is a fantastic beer shop. It’s just a short train ride from Darlington to Newcastle so had been across regularly prior to lockdown and would always return with something interesting from CentrAle.
In terms of cideries, there are only 2 listed, and Tyne & Wear Cider raters are a very select group, comprising only me, minutemat and Martin243 it seems!
29 rates for T&W for me - well outside the top 50.
My top 5 rates are as follows:
Anarchy Sublime Chaos 4.1
Jarrow McConnells Irish Stout 3.9
Maxim Simcoe Kid 3.7
Tyne Bank Silver Dollar 3.6
Mordue Tinsel Toon 3.6
I’ve rated just 7 breweries - I’ve had most beers from Mordue (10) followed by Maxim (6) and Anarchy (4)
I’ve not rated any places yet.
I’ve never stayed in T&W, but I’ve driven through a couple of times. The Angel of the North is really impressive, and it’s well worth stopping there to read the info boards - the stats about it are nearly as impressive as the sculpture itself!
The highest point in the county is Currock Hill, 259m high and about 9 miles west of the 'Toon. My “review” of it on the hillbagging website says “indeterminate point in field - good views though!”.
On a separate note, Tyne and Wear no longer exists as it’s been split into a number of unitary authorities. I don’t believe that the RB counties match anything that’s ever existed at one time (but having said that, I quite like the county layout as per RB - much better than the mess of unitary authorities we have now!).
Tyne and Wear is a county that we have visited infrequently, however we have been a couple of times in the last few years. In 2014 we decided that following our usual holiday after Borefts festival that we’d come back to the UK via the ferry from Ijmuiden, which is the port to the north west of Amsterdam and Haarlem to Newcastle/North Shields. We spent a couple of days in Newcastle and during our time in the city managed to hit quite a few of the top locations. Our second visit was even more recently and only just a month or so before moving here, so February 2019 and we took the train on this occasion and stayed with Peter Fowler (ex legendary landlord of the Shoulder of Mutton, Wantage, Oxfordshire). Peter now lives up near South Shields area so on this occasion we didn’t hit pubs in Newcastle, moreover we had a great Peter Fowler curated pub jaunt around Sunderland. Sunderland was a place that been to once before for a funeral of a close friend and work colleague back in about 2004.
The people in Newcastle and Sunderland are absolute gems, on the whole extremely friendly and great fun, the accent is wonderful, ok occasionally it can be a little impenetrable but it’s amongst my favourite of the UK regional accents.
I think for me on the brewery front this area is really starting to realise it’s potential. Wylam are a big favourite but the likes of Anarchy are really starting to knock out some fabulous beers, oh and also Alpha Delta who I have only recently discovered, I have another of their beers in the fridge actually. I should really like to revisit the area, I’ve also travelled through by vehicle and train a couple of times en route to Edinburgh and seen the Angel of the North, yea it’s a long way north but it’s a great place.
A nice, tidy 100 beers ratings puts me in 40th place in Tyne and Wear.
I’ve rated 18 breweries.
Top rated breweries and number of ratings (see below)
Wylam - 37
Mordue (closed) - 14
Hadrian/Border - 10
Anarchy - 8
Almasty - 7
Top five beers
- Mordue IPA 4.4
- Wylam Swipe Right 4.1
- Wylam Dank Marvin 4.1
= 4. Mordue Radgie Gadgie 4.0
= 4.vWylam Simply Hops the Upside Down 4.0
= 4. Almasty IPA 4.0
= 4. Wylam/Buxton Northern Powerhouse Brew Series 001 4.0
= 4. Anarchy Buried in Hops 4.0
I’ve rated 13 places which puts it in 18th place on my England place table. My top places are.
Brewdog - Newcastle
Free Trade Inn - Newcastle
DAT bar - Newcastle
Ship Isis - Sunderland
Bierrex Smoke and Taphouse (now sadly closed) - Newcastle
Just the 2 T&W rates for me, 1 each from Wylam and Full Circle. Last visit to the region was in 2016, for a cricket tour, where we visited a number of establishments in and around South Shields, but fair to say I don’t remember which ones very easily - previous visit was a year earlier, on a stag weekend, only memorable place was a country pub called The Rat, on the way to Gateshead from Shropshire, not far from Geordieland, but possibly not actually in T&W, so good we visited on the way there and back.
Despite having never been there Tyne & Wear is a pretty respectable 8th place on my English County placings - with a total of 137 ticks.
The biggest chuck of those 137 coming from
Wylam = 85
Anarchy = 33
Wylam is definitely one of my favourite breweries and most of their beers make it over here (and hope they still will post brexit) - Pre covid the brewers themselves were over here pretty frequently doing collabs and lots of TTO and festivals so think that’s helped with their reputation over here.
Wylam also brewed what was one of the beers of the year for me last year…
35 Tyne & Wear beers in total. My 25th highest total for English Counties. 7 Breweries:-
Mordue – 11
Maxim – 8
Anarchy - 6
Wylam - 4
Tyne Bank - 3
Almasty - 2
Jarrow Brewing - 1
2 of these breweries are now out of production – Jarrow Brewing and Mordue.
My highest rate was Anarchy Sublime Chaos. None are in the RB top thirty for Tyne & Wear.
All 11 of the Mordue beers were cask pints in Spoons pubs in London.
I’ve visited the area a lot pre RB days but it was always work related, and as such I’ve only ticked a handful of pubs. Reminds me of a boss of mine would phone me up and ask “Are you anywhere near Newcastle today, mate? We could meet up”. Which subsequently often led to a 220 mile round trip for a cup of tea and a catch up!
86 rates for me, with the majority Wylam beers, and also a few Anarchy beers, which used to get down to Sheffield regularly, but not so much now. To be honest I’ve mostly stopped buying Wylam stuff now, as they seem a bit same-y, in much the same way as Verdant and Polly’s do so I don’t see me added to the total soon.
No place rates, although I do recall chancing upon The Free Trade Inn once, during an overnight stay, and liking it very much!
Tyne & Wear beer for me tonight. Full Circle Hoop and American Pale Ale and 5.5%
216 beers for me. Been up to Newcastle a few times for football. Solid place for beers, plenty of great locations. Gateshead is also pretty decent.
Plenty of Wylam (73) plus it appears a lot of others.
I’d offer more details but Rb randomly shows full rates and private rates in different pages!
265 T&W rates for me, sees me 7th in the region for ratings, and it’s my 5th highest rated region. Many came from a 10 week period of working in Newcastle in the spring/summer of 2018. Newcastle is a great place. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. Great City, super pub scene, friendly people, great scenery…travel for business, all expenses paid…those were the days…
Top beers for me:
Anarchy Lord Comatose 4.5
Out There Kepler 4.3
plus 5 @ 4.2 including a couple of Wylam’s, an Almasty, a Full Circle and Dog & Rabbit Max-Ed-St-Out.
Dog & Rabbit became a particular favourite of mine during my stay, a Metro ride out to Whitley Bay for their super micropub/brewery. They are actually my top rated English brewery at 3.85. Other than those mentioned already, Flash House are another brewery I regularly enjoyed whilst up there.
When staying in Newcastle I was based at the Station Hotel, a very convenient “CentrAle” location for exploring the City of an evening, with an excellent bottle shop a one minute walk away. I’d say that as local bottle shops go, there isn’t a better one in England for finding local area beers. Bruce’s focus on T&W plus Durham and Northumberland boosted my rates for those areas greatly alongside what the pub scene offered - which was great too (no lunchtime drinking on this trip but plenty of rates each evening).
I rated 60 places there. That’s second only to London for me. Town Mouse is top, with Lady Grey’s, Town Wall, Free Trade and Box Social also scoring highly (along with CentrAle). Bierrex Smoke and Taphouse also scored well but as @Fin says it sadly closed in 2019.
I love to get back up to Newcastle again this summer.