The Maltings is making a connection to Berwick’s historic brewing past this weekend when it introduces real ale on draft for the first time.
The theatre’s Stage Door Bar will be offering two draught real ales, Farne Island Pale Ale and Grainger Ale, both brewed by the Hadrian & Border Brewery, which has a historic connection to the town. The bar is celebrating with a special three-day Real Ale Promotion from Friday to Sunday when customers can sample both new draughts for just £2 a pint.
Both the theatre and the brewery have roots extending deep into Berwick’s brewing past. The Maltings is located on the site of the town’s traditional maltings, which burned down in 1984, while the brewery traces its roots back to the Border Brewery Company – which was founded in the 1890s and operated breweries at 14 Silver Street and in Tweedmouth on Brewery Lane.
According to the University of Glasgow’s Scottish Brewing Archive, the Border Brewery Company went through several incarnations last century before reforming as the Border Brewery Company in 1992.
Two years later it was purchased by husband and wife team Andy and Shona Burrows.
In 2000, the need for bigger premises led the couple to move from Berwick to the site of the original Hadrian Brewery in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, giving birth to the Hadrian & Border Brewery. The brewery is now located in a new 35-barrel plant in Newburn.
Stage Door Bar manager David Purves has been a fan of the brewery’s products for years, having first come across Farne Island Pale Ale while working in a pub in his hometown of Chirnside. The seeds of his admiration were planted over ten years ago when he was given a vintage Border Brewery bottle, now about 90 years old, that was found in the woods outside Aviemore in the Highlands.
Adding draught real ale to the bar’s offerings is a big step for The Maltings, as David explained: “In the three years I’ve run The Maltings’ bar customers have asked for real ale on draft.
“The reason we haven’t had it up till now is the lack of cellar refrigeration. We’ve now had a cellar cooler installed allowing us to not only serve real ale but also vastly improve the quality of our existing draught products. It’s a big step forward.”
Farne Island is the brewery’s best-selling pale ale. It is an amber coloured bitter with perfectly blended malt and hops that make it a well-rounded and refreshing beer.
Grainger Ale recently won the Newcastle Beer Festival’s Battle of the Beers. It is brewed using a single malt – Maris Otter Pale Ale Malt – which gives it a very pale appearance and three different varieties of hops to provide a well-balanced finish.
Andy Burrows, managing director of Hadrian & Border Brewery said: “We are pleased to be supplying The Maltings with our bottle and cask products.
“During these times of economic recession, one sector of the beer market that is bucking the downward trend is cask beer. Like The Maltings, many outlets are realising it is a necessity to stock these products and we wish the theatre every success with the new installation.”
David added, “I’m really pleased and I think fans of real ale will be, too.”