Category Archives: Beer Adventures

Wynyard Hall, Farmers Market

On a overcast Sunday in the middle of March, we decided to pay a visit to the Farmers Market at Wynyard Hall, (Wynyard, Stockton-on-Tees, Billingham TS22 5NF).
It was the first market of the season, and the first that we had ever visited at Wynyard Hall.
Wynyard Hall, Northern Dales Farmers Markets
Being early birds we turned up at 9am, which was the time the market was due to open.
Most of the stalls holders were ready for business, with just a few who were yet to finish displaying their products, so we had a little wander in the grounds of Wynyard Hall to kill some time before all of the goods were ready to be sold.
Wynyard Hall, Northern Dales Farmers Markets
Wynyard Hall, Northern Dales Farmers Markets
Once the farmers market was fully up and running, we started buying anything and everything that took our fancy, like a couple of food starved zombies.
Well, maybe not zombies, but the food dispossessed. It has been a long Winter.
The first items to go into our shopping bag was a couple of loaves of bread, from The Moody Baker
Once one has purchased bread, what could be more important than beer?
Wynyard Hall, Northern Dales Farmers Markets
The answers to the above question is lots of beer.
Wynyard Hall, Northern Dales Farmers Markets
Next into the shopping bag was 7 bottles of beer, from Three Brothers Brewing Co Unit 4
Clayton Court
Bowesfield Crescent
TS18 3QX
Tel: 01642 678084 )
Seven bottles of beer loaded into our shopping bag (3 Short and Stout, 2 Brew No.1, and 2 Malt-Teaser) we moved on to peruse the next stall.
Wynyard Hall, Northern Dales Farmers Markets
With Mothers Day just around the corner, I thought I’d better get something for the old gal.
What do you buy your 80 year old mother. Well, I thought I could not go wrong with some soap from TOC Aromatherapy and some biscuits from The Sawley Kitchen
Laura did not want to be left out of this gift buying extravaganza, so she picked up a small, and reassuringly expensive (£6.50) bag of Luxury Bolivian Dark Chocolate Truffles from the Itzamna’s Cocoa.
Wynyard Hall, Northern Dales Farmers Markets
You cannot have a successful day shopping unless it involves purchasing some meat, and what better meat than pork.
These sausages and black puddling are from Wrefords Farm (Fleming Field Farm, Shotton Colliery, Durham DH6 2JD) which is only a few miles from our house. Now that is what I call eating local.
Wynyard Hall, Northern Dales Farmers Markets
Wynyard Hall, Northern Dales Farmers Markets
Nothing goes better with sausages and black pudding than some nice fresh eggs. We picked up 6 duck eggs, and a couple of goose eggs, from The Clucking Pig
Wynyard Hall, Northern Dales Farmers Markets
Wynyard Hall, Northern Dales Farmers Markets
Also into our shopping bag went some cheese. A Teesdale Curd from Teesdale Cheesemakers and a blue style cheese and a goats cheese from Laceys Cheese
Wynyard Hall, Northern Dales Farmers Markets
Just when we thought the day could get no better we were handed a free bag from Northern Dales Farmers’ Market the folks who runs lots of farmers markets up here in the North East England.
Blog post by Richard Randall

Guinness West Indies Porter

I’m not a big fan of Guinness, but when I spotted this i my local Asda in Peterlee, I thought that I would give in a try.
It pours nice and dark with a amber head, but the head did not last very long.
On the palate it is rather pleasing. There are notes of caramel, chocolate, toasted malts and toffee. The finish is nice with a good mouth feels.
The Guinness West Indies Porter was a very pleasant surprise because I was expecting a weedy ale.

Blog post by Richard Randall

Biére de Garde – La Blonde de Ch’Nord

I picked this beer up in my local Lidl in Peterlee a little while ago and yesterday decided to have it with lunch.
It is nothing special. There are some slight citrus notes and a little yeast but that is about it. But it does rock in at 7% ABV, so it does have that going for it.
I had a gander on the Les Brasseurs de Gayant website and could not find it listed, so I assume it is a supermarket ‘special’ they knocked up for Lidl.

Biére de Garde - La Blonde de Ch'Nord
Produced by:
Les Brasseurs de Gayant
185 Rue Léo Lagrange,
59500 Douai,
Blog post by Richard Randall

Unicorn Black from Robinsons Brewery

This bottle of Unicorn Black from the Robinsons Brewery had been sitting in a cupboard for yonks, but yesterday I decided to open it and have it with lunch.
It is nice and malty on the nose and on the palate there are malty dark chocolate notes withs hints of caramel. A decent beer.
Unicorn Black
Blog post by Richard Randall

Gouden Carolus Tripel from Brouwerij Het Anker – Beer Review

I purchased this Belgium Triple from The Durham Brewery a while ago and it has been living in the fridge feeling unloved.
Yesterday I decided to release it from its prison.
It pours lovely and golden with a lively head.
On the nose there are notes of honey and ripe fruits. On the palate it is smooth and fruity with a little yeasty earthiness. It is very well round and without a big alcohol hit overpowering it, which is good given that is rocks in at 9%ABV.

Produced by:
Brouwerij Het Anker
Guido Gezellelaan 49,
2800 Mechelen,
Gouden Carolus Tripel from Brouwerij Het Anker - Beer Review

Blog post by Richard Randall

Pivovar Herold, Czech Black Lager

Today with lunch I had a bottle of Czech Black Lager from Pivovar Herold. I picked it up in Lidl the other day.I seemed to have missed this beer when I was in the Czech Republic.
It pours well with a nice caramel coloured head that lasts well.
On the palate are lots of interesting flavours. Toasted nuts and dried fruits are followed by toasted malts, caramel and cocoa.
It is a nice light summer beer with a good mouth feel and a decent finish.
Pivovar Herold, Czech Black Lager

Blog post by Richard Randall

The Durham Brewery – Hellfire

This is a beer with a big punch. First you get the 10% abv hit which opens up your taste buds, then the Naga chilli hits you. Boom. This is one hot Russian Stout. After the chilli hit, it does mellow into a very good stout.

The Durham Brewery - Hellfire3343

Blog post by Richard Randall

The Durham Brewery – Mango Hefeweizen

This is the first duff beer I’ve ever had from The Durham Brewery. It is far from a standard hefeweizen you get from Germany. It is rather flat and bland. There is very little of the yeasty notes you get with a tradition hefeweizen and I could not taste any mango, just a very small undertone of sweetness.


Blog post by Richard Randall

The Durham Brewery, Bombay 106, Original India Pale

The Bombay 106, Original India Pale from the The Durham Brewery is another fine ale from them. It rocks in a 7%. On the palate there is a good bitterness with a little an under note of citrus. A nice long finish rounds it off.
Bombay 106

Blog post by Richard Randall

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2015

On Saturday the 18th of April we headed to the Bishop Auckland Food Festival . Luckily for us we had a chauffeur, o.k. maybe not a real chauffeur, no cap and uniform etc. But a friend opted to be the designated driver for the trip. Happy Days!
The Stanley Jefferson
We motored from Easington Colliery to Bishop Auckland, where we easily found parking in the town centre. While the goal was the Bishop Auckland Food Festival, our first stop was The Stanley Jefferson (5 Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NJ), a Wetherspoon pub which is right in the centre of Bishop Auckland.
We ordered 3 classic breakfasts; a basic fry-up consisting of egg, bacon, sausage, hash-browns, tomato, baked beans, and toast. Cheap and filling, grub – no complaints from us. To help wash the food down we ordered a pint of Maximus (Maxim Brewery) for me. Mrs. R had a pint of Coffee Porter, also from the Maxim Brewery. Our chauffeur had to make do with a cup of tea.
Maximus Beer
coffee porter
IMG_2834Breakfast and beer out of the way we headed into the Bishop Auckland Food Festival, which started just outside The Stanley Jefferson where several stalls were selling various cooked food items; pies, burgers, hotdogs etc.
Having had our fill of beer and breakfast, well, at least two of us with regards to the beer, none of the cooked food that was available in Bishop Auckland Market Place was really of any interest to the three of us.
In fact when we started browsing the fresh food stalls, the small samples on offer were also of little interest, given our full bellies.
IMG_2832Despite having deliberately eaten before we started shopping; so as to stop ourselves buying absolutely everything we saw (we always try not to food shop on an empty stomach) , we (Mrs.R and I) managed to ignore our bursting waistlines and make a few purchases.
Our chauffeur, who will hence force be called Paul,  also got in to the ‘retail therapy mode’.
Given the beer and carb buzz from breakfast, I can’t remember the exact order of our shopping, so the rest of this blog post is a bit of a blur.
Bishop Auckland Food Festival

Bishop Auckland Food FestivalWe wandered round looking at the food stalls, stopping whenever the goods got our tastebuds tingling.
I think our first purchase was a couple of rosemary sourdough rolls. We ate them that same evening. They were nice bread rolls, we could taste the rosemary, but their sourdough heritage seemed a little slim.
I’ve made a lot of sourdough bread over the years, and this bread really did not have a sourdough flavour, or texture.
Mrs.R said she didn’t think they particularly tasted homemade either, more like basic supermarket white bread rolls – she said they were very ‘white bread’ – literally.

IMG_3221Next stop was the Northumberland Cheese Company stall, where we purchased a small block of Elsdon goats cheese, and Paul, having tasted their Cheviot cheese, and the Blagdon Blue, decided to buy a block of the Cheviot cheese.
The couple running the cheese stall seemed happy to chat to us about the various cheese they were selling, they were friendly, and now they’re famous – that’s them below.

Elsdon Goat CheeseWhen you have bread and cheese, what could you possibly want next?
The obvious answers is sausages.
While we may have been a little South of Geordieland, we could not resist buying a pack of Geordie Banger Sausages from the Geordie Banger Co stall.
Geordie Banger
Geordie BangerThe guy working on the Geordie Banger Co stall was cooking a fresh batch of sausages for customers to sample, but we didn’t want to wait to taste them, the seriously good aromas coming from the pan was enough to make our mouths water.
The Geordie Banger is a pork sausage with leek, mushroom, and onion.
I grilled the Geordie Banger sausages for our lunch the day after purchasing them. The sausages were very tasty, good and meaty, excellent flavours, and no nasty gristle or chunks of fat that some sausages have in them. They were excellent, and we’d definitely buy them again.
geordie bangerBangers bought, we then headed into the grounds of Auckland Castle to explore the other sections of the market.
Paul was keen to get to the Arts and Crafts tent, because he had his heart set on a tweed man-bag, but sadly he could not find one.
Bishop Auckland Food FestivalPaul was gutted about the lack of tweed man-bags, but suddenly his eyes lit-up with joy – he’d spotted a market stall selling cupcakes.
I’m not sure how many cupcakes he bought and scoffed, but by the time Mrs.R was served she had to limit herself to just one cupcake – a Caramac cupcake.
Mrs.R wasn’t too disappointed that Paul had almost left the cupcake stall bare, because she said she doesn’t particularly like cupcakes, but that she had a craving for some full-on sugar.
It wasn’t until later that evening that Mrs.R finally ate her Caramac cupcake, which was as she’d expected a serious sugar-rush. In fact it was seriously sickly sweet, and a good reminder to her of why she rarely eats them, and why she doesn’t consider cupcakes a favourite sweet treat.
cupcakeWith all of the cupcake excitement, Paul was the over-excited one, not Mrs.R, I decided it was time for a refreshing drink, so treated us to a 9ct Shimmering Blood Orange Vodka with Lemonade from the Raisthorpe Manor stall. The drink was pleasant, lots of ice, a couple of pieces of strawberry, a piece of cucumber, and for just £2.50.
Raisthorpe ManorBy now Mrs.R was feeling a little guilty, at having left our dog, Barley, at home to fend for himself, so she was over-the-moon when she spotted a stall selling dog treats. We purchased a small bag of Wellybix lamb flavoured dog treats for the mutt, which slightly lessened the guilt Mrs.R was feeling.

Later at home as we unpacked our shopping, Barley was very interested in the dog treats. As soon as he saw the bag, he got busy sniffing and salivating, and having eaten a generous amount to test the taste and quality, he said Wellybix dog treats are his new favourite – but he would prefer us not to go out without him, surely these treats can be ordered by post.
I also had guilt issues at having left Barley our Lurcher at home, but buying dog treats would have done nothing to assuage my guilt, so there was only one thing to do – and that was to head to the Tipple Tent for a beer.
IMG_2839First up was a pint of Griffin’s Irish Stout from the Hill Island MicroBrewery (Fowlers Yard, 7 Back Silver Street Durham DH1 3RA).
The people on the stall were friendly, the beer smelt good, and it tasted really good too, it was a decent stout. We would have happily stayed for a couple more pints, but we didn’t want to abuse our nominated driver.
IMG_3217Griffin's Irish StoutMrs.R and I shared the pint of Griffin’s Irish Stout while multi-tasking – seeing what else was on offer in the booze tent. The last stall we looked at also sold beer, and we thought it would have been rude of us not to try a pint of that beer too. We ordered a pint of Black as Owt from the Yard of Ale Brew Company. This beer was also pretty decent, although a much lighter stout.
It was as I paid for the pint of Black as Owt and Mrs.R took a photo of the beer pump that we were treated to a proper belly-laugh. A guy standing at the stall watched Mrs.R take the photo, turned to his girlfriend and said. ”Beer Nerd!” Hahaha! A more accurate description would be ‘Photo-Nerd’ as she’s obsessed with taking photos.

black as owtA pint of Stout in our hands, we left the Tipple Tent, but for some illogical reason we could not take our drinks out of the Tipple Tent area. A bloke wearing a security vest told us that alcohol was not allowed out of the area. We thought this was very odd for several reasons. The main reason being that the Bishop Auckland Food Festival website stated that you could take drinks to food areas, and what was even more odd was the fact that you could also buy drinks in other parts of the Bishop Auckland Food Festival area.
This silly rule meant that we had to stay in the Tipple Tent area to finish our beers. But on the plus side we found some seating, and the sun was out.

Back in the food stall area, having caned our beers; because we didn’t want to sit down for ages supping them, we made a few more purchases.
I picked up a Pork and Black Pudding Pie from the The Crusty Pie Company. I am a fan of pork pies, if they’re good quality, and this pie was extremely good. I really wish I’d bought more of them. Delicious!
Pork and Black Pudding Pie
pieBoth Mrs.R and Paul purchased a jar of Wild Flower Honey from the South Durham Honey stall. There were several different types of honey available, but having tasted the Wild Flower variety they said it was so good they didn’t need to try the other flavours. The Wild Flower Honey is not too sweet, with lovely floral flavours.
wild flower honey

Our last purchase of the day was a small pot of Lemon Curd Cheese from the Leaside Cheesemakers stall. We haven’t eaten any yet, but I did have a tiny taste and it’s nice, very creamy, a good amount of lemon flavour, and sweet. I doubt it will be in the fridge for very long, before we scoff the lot.
Leaside Cheesemakers
The three of us had a very good morning at the Bishop Auckland Food Festival. In fact it was far better than we had imagined. There was a very good range of fresh local produce, ranging from bread, meat, game, cheese etc. Paul said it was definitely worth the drive.

Disclaimer: Paul neither likes tweed man-bags, or cupcakes – but he loves driving, so hopefully he’ll be our ‘Chauffeur’ for the Bishop Auckland Food Festival next year.