I’m starting with a summary here, as this is a series of reviews and the next few posts fall out of visits to hostelries in the stunning Northumberland coast area of natural beer, sorry beauty, an area I’ve visited often over the last twenty-five years. There’s plenty of places to stay; cottages, camp sites, hotels and B & B accommodation. The pubs and villages reviewed are all on or near to the coastal path. If you’ve never been you will be genuinely surprised by the stunning scenery, fantastic beaches and magnificent castles. To do both beer and walking justice, my recommendation; find a base, then get a ‘Passport ticket’ £22.00 for a week, or a day ‘Discover ticket’ for £6.30, both of which provide unlimited travel on the regular bus services.
Scenery? Superb. Downside, it attracts a lot of tourists and they all want to be fed. As a result the only way a lot of the pubs can make anything out of it is to focus on food, at the expense of the beer trade, and it shows. There are some really nice pubs, but to me, they’re not drinkers pubs. I hope I have done justice to them because to many people they will hit all the right notes, just not for me. In terms of beer, everywhere we visited had at least a couple of real ales. It was really encouraging to see that North East breweries almost had a monopoly as far as real ale goes, apart from the ubiquitous Black Sheep. I suspect the latter is a supply thing. In terms of style, the ales we found were predominantly blondes, a few darker, softer, traditional NE style brews and a notable couple of really modern IPA styles.
Obviously I didn’t visit every pub in the area, but I have some local knowledge and did a bit of research, as well as focusing on the beaten track. For me there’s three stand out pubs The Ship at Low Newton for the beer and the view, The Greys inn, Embleton, as the epitome of a proper Northumbria pub (still), and The Olde Ship, Seahouses as being one of my top ten all time boozers. I could just sit there all afternoon, preferably out of season on a fine but blustery, cold winters afternoon, fire blazing with a nice blend of locals and walkers. Heaven. Richard’s top tip; go and stay at the Ship for an out of season weekend break and while you’re up there try the other two little gems.
All visits were made between 20-05-15 and 26-05-15. Hopefully, I will have wetted your appetite to follow the in-depth pub and beer reviews that will follow.