The Ship Inn Forecast (A micro-brewery in Newton-by-the-Sea)

I’ll start by apologising for the pun. Sorry.

Assuming you’ve forgiven me and are still reading, I’ll tell you a little bit about one of the nicest pubs I’ve ever visited.

It’s called (as you’ve probably guessed) The Ship Inn, and it’s in Newton-by-the-Sea, which, you may or may not know, is on the North East coast, north of Alnmouth and Amble and south of Berwick. It’s a stunning, and much under-appreciated area. Miles upon miles of coast, unspoilt, bordering on rolling sand dunes and masses of countryside, lovely old buildings and them lovely Geordie folks. It’s also, so I’m told, in the least rainy and sunniest county in England. Awesome.

My girlfriend and I love the North East coast. We go there a fair bit, despite the almost 3 hour drive, and love walking along those amazing beaches.

You’re probably not here to read about all that though, you’re here for the beer, right, and the North East coast has a proper gem hidden amongst the dunes and beaches. The aforementioned Ship Inn.

It’s part of a small U-shaped terrace of houses from pre-1700, now owned by the National Trust, with a lovely grassy square in the middle. The pub has functioned as an alehouse since the 1700s.

The Ship Inn is run by one Christine Forsyth and her daughter Hannah. Christine decided she wanted a change in her life, fell in love with Newton-by-the-Sea (well you would, wouldn’t you?) took a risk, bought a pub, did it up and gave it the TLC it needed.

She then decided to make her pub a home from both great food and quality, micro-brewed ales brewed in the building itself.

She’s done good.

The food is reasonably priced look here, and great, with loads of lovely, locally produced grub – I had locally caught crab salad and it was stunning. The beer though, is even more impressive.

They got the equipment second hand, found a brewer in the shape of Michael Heggarty and started brewery 6 or 7 regular beers. In two visits (one for a restorative half during a walk, and one for dinner) I tried a  few. The Ship Hop Ale is a light golden beer with a nice, fresh hop character, the Dolly Day Dream is a lovely ruby ale rich in flavour and, best of all, is the Sea Coal, a dark wheat stout with smoky notes sat alongside rich chocolate and slightly tart raspberry flavours. I mainly drank that.

Really, you shouldn’t need the motivation to visit this stunning pub and try their great beers to come to the North East coast. Take the pub away and I’d still happily go there once a month for the scenery alone.  But come up (or down) walk, soak up the rugged beauty of the place then, when the night draws in, head to this glorious pub, which makes the coastline even more perfect than it already is.

If I can retire near here one day, I’ll be a very happy man.

Daas Witte

Daas Witte

Daas Witte (I need to start taking better photos than this)

Following on from a previous post on the lovely Daas Blond, it’s time now to attack its sister beer, the Witte (read white, if you’re English and your skills of guessing translations are really poor).

First things first, I’m not as impressed with this, the wheat beer, as I was with their strong blond Belgian ale. But, that’s not to say that I’m not a fan of this. Indeed, this certainly holds up well against many other Belgian wheat beers (I’m looking at you Hoegaarden). But wheat beers have always been a fvaourite of mine. I first got into tasting half decent beers when I discovered Hoegaarden (although my comment just two sentences ago tells you that I’ve since lost the taste for that beer) and later Erdinger at North became a staple. On  hot day, I’m still liable to plump for a nice Erdinger over a traditional British ale – mainly just because it comes more chilled but tastes loads better than pretty much any lager.

It’s worth also chucking in her that the Erdinger Dunkel (the dark one) is also pretty good, arguably better than the white one, and much better in those Autumn months.

It pours a glorious pale colour, and isn’t half as cloudy as you might expect from a wheat beer. It’s taste, similarly is fresher and simpler than a lot of comparable beers. It doesn’t have that cloying sweetness you can find in some wheat beers, and those lovely citrus flavours come through really well – most notably the orange, which lasts long into the finish.

Without wanting to get all technical on you (as if I could), this is a really good summer drink. It’s crisp, it’s easy and it’s refreshing and the sweetness comes from a gentle vanilla note that floats across with each sip, giving it a slight creaminess, some how (despite the thin head).

Stick on top of that all that lovely stuff about it being organic (we all love that stuff these days) and you’ve got yourself a rather good beer. But, I’m definitely more likely to plump for a Blond over a Witte next time. I’ll save this one for the summer.

More Daas stuff is here, and I got both my bottles from the splendid Zak at Beer Ritz

Brooklyner Weisse beer

Yum. Being the high-falouting beer snob that I am, I rocked up to a party with a bottle of this in my beer carrying device (alongside a few somewhat less exciting bottles of Budvar – a perfectly nice beer, but hardly exciting).

A Bavarian-style wheat beer, fans of Erdinger and Paulaner (as well as Franziskaner, which is available dead cheap in Morrisons and is a decent tipple) would definitely enjoy a bit of this American wheat beer – although, again, due to the cost of importing the buggers you’re going to pay a fair bit for 12 fluid ounces of this.

But, while the sun’s out and the weather’s warm, this is a very decent, if not exceptional drink. Brewed using German wheat and barley malts, it’s got those typical white/wheat flavours of banana and cloves with a good citrus punch too. It’s easy drinking too, and not too strong at 5.1%.  The only problem is the finish, which is perhaps a little too bitter.

I’d write more, but my memory gets a little hazy…