Blackfriars raises a glass to Newcastle’s newest microbrewery

A new microbrewery has opened within a former Dominican friary in Newcastle – carrying on a long tradition of brewing at the site.

St Dominic’s Brewery has been created by the owners of Blackfriars – whose complex houses Blackfriars Restaurant along with the Cookery School, Parlour Bar, Tasting Room, Meeting Rooms, Banquet Hall and King’s Suite – and will supply traditional pale ales, lagers and India Pale Ales for customers to enjoy while dining in the restaurant or at an event.

The brewery is situated in the Chapter House, where the friars used to meet to hear readings, discuss matters concerning the friary, assign tasks for the day, and deal with discipline within the community. After Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries (1536-1541), the friars abandoned Blackfriars – with the Chapter House subsequently let out as a meeting house to the Bakers and Brewers Guild.

Head brewer Ben Hall, a former chef at Blackfriars and experienced brewer, said: “As a Frenchman who studied in Belgium and grew up with monastic beer, I am absolutely delighted to be given this opportunity to launch the first brewery at Blackfriars for hundreds of years. I have been an ardent home brewer for many years and I am determined to convert my experience into the very best ales, beers and lagers using the highest quality ingredients. If the inaugural brews are anything to go by, I’m confident it’s going to be a hit.”

Blackfriars’ owner Andy Hook added: “I’ve been planning a brewery at Blackfriars for almost a decade and to finally see it come to fruition is nothing short of a dream come true. To house it within the former Bakers and Brewers Guild meeting room continues the narrative which goes back to the tradition of friars and monks brewing, and beyond that. I couldn’t be happier with Ben’s first brews, which have already gone down well with both guests and staff alike”.

Serving an initial range of three beers – a pale ale, IPA and lager which are all authentic to Dominican brewing traditions – the brews can be enjoyed while dining in Blackfriars Restaurant, attending events, or relaxing in the Parlour Bar or Cloister Garden. The team also hopes the beers will soon be available at sister restaurants in the group – Dobson & Parnell on Newcastle’s quayside and Hinnies in Whitley Bay.

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