Feeling optimistic

Spring is the season for optimism, and although times are still tough for the industry, there do seem to be shoots of hope.

It’s refreshing to see new events being planned, and I’m glad to have attended a couple already, including the Tyneside Lambic Trail organised by The Lanterne Rouge. It was held across The Free Trade Inn, The Cumberland Arms, Mean Eyed Cat, The Town Mouse, The Central Bar, and Axis, in whichever order you felt like completing it. I loved this get-together and it was also my first visit to Axis, which confirmed that I need to spend more time exploring the bars on the Gateshead side of the Tyne!

I also had a fantastic day in the factory at Simpsons Malt in Berwick, learning more about the malting process. The trip was organised as part of the Women in Beer group and was followed by delicious post-tour pints at The Curfew Micropub.

This spring also marks my first time as a beer judge for the Great Taste Awards. Judging is more work than you might think, but it’s also a great way to keep training your palate.

A Saturday coach ride took me up to Rigg & Furrow Brewery to celebrate their seventh birthday. Days out like this are a reminder of how wonderful the local beer community is, and how beer tastes better with good company. Their first From the Land beer festival this April is sure to be another great event. These new, smaller festivals are a welcome addition, and I’m also looking forward to Hadrian Border Brewery turning 30, and the Sunderland Craft Beer Festival.

It fascinates me how breweries are carving out their own space in the industry, and The Steam Machine’s Fellowship of Beer is one to explore if you’re looking for a new type of beer subscription where you get to make decisions on what’s brewed as part of a unique community.

My mission in 2024 is to do at least one scenic walk per week, with some post-walk pints in the nearest pub. I’ve also been planning some Craft Beer Newcastle brewery excursions, so watch this space!

Daisy Turnell is a beer judge, freelance marketing consultant, and owner of Craft Beer Newcastle.

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