This was a neat little visit we went on with a tour voucher Mrs Durham Food and Drink had bought me for Christmas. The Durham Brewery isn’t actually in Durham, it’s on an industrial estate in Bowburn. It’s been running since 1994 and the place is well known to the real ale fraternity, but maybe not so for the casual drinker who mainly likes to trough a bit (us).
We were fortunate that we were able to get a lift there from the young ‘uns, instead of firing up the Durham Food and Drink bus, maybe paying back some of the free taxi service that’s been lovingly provided for them in the last few years? Anyhow, we were last in, with the tour and talk due to start at 7:30pm on the Friday night. It’s very dark in the car park and could maybe do with an extra light for these evening tours in winter, but we found the right door eventually.
Steve Gibbs and his wife do the talk, running through the theory of making beer and demonstrating how the raw materials affect the flavour of the finished pint, playfully interrupting each other along the way. We started sampling with the lightest beer and ended up on a dark Porter Stout (“Temptation“), all included as part of the brewery tour fee. We then went over to the storage area where the casks/hogsheads/firkins are kept, and saw the actual production facility where Steve and his brewers do 3 brews a week to keep the locals supplied with Durham Brewery beers.
The brewery tour was very informal but informative, there were lots of questions and even a bloke from another brewery (at Appleby) had come down to see how Steve and his crew do their thing.
At the end of the tour, you can buy bottles of the Durham Brewery beers, which are nicely packaged up in a little carrier to help get them home safely. We came away with 3 bottles, including their 1994 Anniversary Imperial Pale Stout, a White Stout and a bottle of the “Temptation”.
We’d thoroughly recommend Durham Brewery to anyone, even if you’ve never drunk a single pint of real ale before. It’ll make you appreciate what goes into making all the different beers available to us in the North East, and is delivered by a man who is clearly still so passionate about his brewery.
Website : http://www.durhambrewery.co.uk.