Wylam Brewery moves to Newcastle

Newcastle has a new brewery. Lovers of craft beer will be pleased to hear that Wylam Brewery has moved into impressive premises within the city’s Exhibition Park.

The microbrewery, which produces brews such as Jakehead— a powerful, deliciously hoppy IPA—and All Gone South—a strong oatmeal pale ale—was founded back in 2000. The Happenings, a three day celebration of craft beer, street food and live music, held from 28 to 30 May, marked the brewery’s move from Heddon-on-the-Wall into Newcastle.

A Palace of Arts

Ale aficionados might say it’s apt that a skilled brewer of craft beers has taken over Newcastle’s Palace of Arts.

The bright, Art Deco influenced building is the last structure still standing from the 1929 North East Coast Exhibition, which four million people attended. The event was held to foster arts, craft and industry and gives the Exhibition Park its name.

For nigh on ten years the colonnaded building stood forlornly empty. Like the Exhibition Park itself, the Grade-II listed Palace of Arts experiencing a fresh lease of life.

Recent investment and renovations have transformed the park into a pleasant place to stroll.

Footpaths meander through the park, a five-minute walk from the University of Newcastle campus and the Great North Museum: Hancock.

Coots nest on the boating pond. Swans and other waterfowl can be seen on the water. The Café in the Park is a smart, laid-back meeting place with free Wi-Fi. Skateboarding, bowls and croquet count among the activities people can enjoy within the Exhibition Park.

A walk in the park?
A walk in the park?

Inside the new Wylam Brewery

The new Wylam Brewery premises host a brewery tap bar, which opens between Thursday and Saturday. The hip, roomy bar has a white tile wall and parquet flooring.

The lobby has retro chairs, sofas and low-slung wood tables. Books stand on wire shelves by exposed brickwork. It’s a place people can gather and chat over beer or while sipping G&Ts made with Jack Cains gin.

Gin in a brewery.
Gin in a brewery.

Events will be held within the building’s grand hall. The vast room had a cupola ceiling plus a stage.

The Happenings saw food being served within the great hall and from trucks outside. It is the first of the pop-up events that will be held at the brewery over the summer of 2016.

Burger please! The Fat Hippo truck during the Happenings.
Burger please! The Fat Hippo truck during the Happenings.

Brewing in Newcastle

Newcastle is also the home to the Tyne Bank Brewery and Big Lamp Brewery. However, many people are surprised to learn that the beer most commonly associated with the city is no longer brewed on Tyneside.

Since 2010 Newcastle Brown Ale has been brewed ‘down south’—seen from the perspective of people living on Tyneside—at the John Smiths Brewery in Tadcaster, South Yorkshire. It hasn’t actually been brewed in Newcastle for over a decade. Production was shifted to Gateshead, across the River Tyne, back in 2005.

Art Deco elegance. The Palace of Arts.
Art Deco elegance. The Palace of Arts.

Beers from Wylam Brewery

Wylam Brewery produces a number of beers that are strong in both character and flavour.

Jakehead IPA packs a punch, with an alcohol content of 6.3 per cent by volume. By comparison All Gone South looks light at ‘just’ six per cent. Stout fans might be tempted by a pint of Puffing Billy, which has a smoky, lingering flavour.

The Nomi Sorachi ale (5.3 per cent) has a pine-like citrusy tang and a long mellow finish.

The opportunity to taste more of the company’s offerings, at the place that they are brewed, looks set to draw craft ale fans to the Palace of Arts.

All Gone South? Yes, served at Wylam Brewery.
All Gone South? Yes, served at Wylam Brewery (in a plastic mug).

Further information

See the Wylam Brewery website for details of events and how to join a tour of the brewery (Palace of Arts, Exhibition Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; tel. 01661 853377).

For more information about tourist attractions and other things to do in Newcastle and neighbouring Gateshead, take a look at the NewcastleGateshead website.

Photos illustrating this post are by Stuart Forster.

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