Thursday, 4 September 2008

The Big Lamp Brewery

Yesterday I decided to try to follow a circular walk set out in a leaflet I had picked up at the bus station. The walk would take me past the Big Lamp Brewery, so I could have a very appealing little "refreshment stop" (haw-haw) on the way.

Being confused by having taken the wrong bus to the start point, however, I arrived in the little town of Newburn with no idea where to begin. The leaflet seemed to make no sense, so I decided to fasten on one of the landmarks along the way and start from there. Of course the most congenial landmark was the Big Lamp Brewery, so I hailed down a local and received instructions on how to get there.

The Big Lamp is a marvellous place (see pic). It is the oldest micro-brewery in the North-East and was founded in 1982, more or less as a hobby. By developing the buildings of a derelict pumping-station on the North bank of the Tyne, the present brewery was gradually formed. Built up from virtually nothing, the brewery is a true testament to business enterprise, an example to everyone of what can be achieved.

What I particularly like about this brewery is that, unlike most enterprises which expand and grow complacent as their customer base increases, the quality of its products has actually improved over the years. In the mid 1980s I used to frequent one of their early outlets, The Old Fox in Felling and, quite frankly, I was not very impressed with their "home brew", as people called it. Now, as a result of hard work and experience, I would say that they are the premier microbrewery in the North East and their beers can stand comparison with anyone's, nationally.

Anyway, I've written enough for today, so I'll tell you more about the beer tomorrow.

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