Since I left you at the door of the Beamish Mary with your tongue hanging out, I had better get straight down to describing the beer.
There were six real ales on sale that day, and another settling. On tap were Hill Island Brewery's Merry Month, Theakson's Old Peculier, Hadrian & Border Brewery's Gladiator Bitter and Tyneside Blonde, and Big Lamp Brewery's Lamp Light and BSB, a brew made solely for the Beamish Mary.
All were very palatable, but Tyneside Blonde definitely took the first prize - sharp and refreshing, a lovely light hoppy beer!
Temporary manager Sally Crowther tells me that she does all the cellaring herself, and an excellent job she makes of it, I can tell you!
The layout of the pub itself is truly to my taste. As with most modern licensed premises, the Beamish Mary serves food, but the dining area is completely separate from the bar, being a part of the L-shaped lounge, so that decent men can enjoy a drink without having plates of food passed over their heads.
If you do wish to eat between drinks, by the way, the menu offers good solid trencherman fare such as black pudding, leek and cheese hotpot and other such rib-sticking Northern delicacies.
Even the games area is separate, so that there is no risk of being poked with a pool stick while you are seriously bending the elbow. Outside, there is a beautiful tiered garden, so that the poor outcast smokers can enjoy their ale amidst birdsong and barking coughs.
The pub hosts live regular music, including a fortnightly folk club, but this is held in a separate room too, so you can take it or leave it as you please. Bearing in mind what sometimes passes for music nowadays, this has to be a great advantage!
As a matter of fact, there is nothing negative I can say about Beamish Mary, she is a true temple to the real-ale tippler and long may she flourish, say I!