Craft beer calling

This Friday sees the doors fly open once again for the second annual Craft Beer Calling event right here in the heart of Newcastle. For those that missed out last year, this event marks the pinnacle of the craft beer calendar on Tyneside. 6pm last night saw the release of the beer list for this years event and for me, its once again a step up from last year. I really enjoyed the event last year, but the beer list alone this year has a much more exotic feel to it.

This event is very important to the region. Geographically we’re abit out on limb up here, but that brings about a real sense of identity. Our breweries very much do their own distinct thing. We’re not overly influenced by other nearby regions, more that we’re open to take the best things from the global craft beer market and give it a Geordie slant. And as a flag bearer for the region I think its very important that events like CBC continue to show off the best of the local beer alongside the global superstars. It’s a big draw having such craft beer titans as Stone, Mikkeller and Sierra Nevada, but while you’re there be sure to check out the local beers from the likes of Anarchy, Almasty & Northern Alchemy too. And be sure to be there for the star of the show Double Jakehead, brewed to 12% I look forward to seeing if taking the beast up to such levels the brewery have managed to keep that balance to the vast quantities of both malt and hops which have gone into it.

Im hoping that the success of last years event and the big ticket breweries and beers on this years beer list will draw in drinkers from outside the region to come and sample some Geordie hospitality. That’s where this event becomes important for the region. It’s a platform for the city to show off its great character and I hope those going give everyone a warm welcome to Tyneside.

So whats in store?

Having originally said that since I was doing Indyman this month I wouldn’t be doing Craft Beer Calling, last year I got a full fat ticket and was glad I did. However, this year Mrs l has discovered beer in a big way so she has decided that we’re going to Craft Beer Calling this year! Fine by me! So I got us both tickets for both Saturday sessions. We have friends joining us for the Saturday evening session but the two of us are planning on getting stuck into a few beers in the afternoon as a warm up!

But then the organisers dropped the Magic Rock bombshell! Friday evening sees a Magic Rock meet the brewer event and being a massive Magic Rock fan, I simply had to be there so jumped on board with a Friday night ticket too! So from not going Im now going to 3 of the 5 sessions….. and I’m not complaining! Really looking forward to the Magic Rock session, they’re a brewery I’ve followed closely since their inception and being a complete cannonball addict I for one can’t wait to get that stuff fresh out of those shiny new cans!

These meet the brewer sessions add a good element to the festival. Those of us who are obsessed with our beer lap up all the extra detail that you can get from listening to the passionate brewer speak about his produce. It’s also quite nice to step away from the buzz of the bar to the chilled upstairs room and slow the pace for a spell while learning about the beers beyond just what they taste like.

The Saturday afternoon session sees Lagunitas sucks….discuss… which could turn into one big craft beer brawl! No in all seriousness, this type of beery debate is fascinating. The dust is yet to settle on the Lagunitas deal and the consumer is yet to see the effects of the deal on the beer but it’s a sign of the times and the real issue here is what would happen to the industry if more and more of the craft brewers are acquired by the big players. Expect some passionate views on the subject!

Next up is a session giving you the lowdown on the Australian beer scene. And if the incredibly juicy hops from the region aren’t indication enough that there’s some good stuff being brewed, then get yourselves along and find out for yourselves.

The Saturday night meet the brewer session is genuinely very special. Wild Beer Co have a very distinct position in the UK with a range of incredibly unique beers which down to the quality of the brewers also happen to be amazing beers. If you go to just one session this weekend I strongly recommend that its this one.

Sunday sees one of the countries leading beer authors give a talk. For anyone who has read any of Pete Brown’s books, expect a very jovial yet incredibly knowledgeable talk on all things beer.

Then the now regular (can you call it that after 2?!) North East Brewers panel come together to chat all things north east and the challenges and strengths that the north east has going for it. I happen to know that there are some pretty big characters in the mix so expect good craick and fascinating perspectives on the future of the local market.

I for one will be around tonight and Mrs L is coming along for the day tomorrow. So she’ll be hammering the sours while I seek out the hops!

Bring it on!!!!!

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