Raise your glasses to the new beer of Cragside
PUBLISHED: 08:36 28 July 2010 | UPDATED: 17:38 20 February 2013
Tough times. But we should all find time to celebrate everything that's good about our heritage - and what better way than in beer
The longer I live the more I realise how much there is to celebrate in this great region of ours. We have so much to be positive about - wonderful people, a fabulous coastline, vibrant cities and beautiful towns and villages. And a fantastic heritage.
A couple of things crossed my desk in the past few days that struck me as worthy of comment. Two interesting North East characters have been immortalised in beer...
North East hero Lord Armstrong is being toasted with the unveiling of a beer bearing his name. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Armstrong, the Victorian industrialist and inventor.
And to celebrate the National Trust, which now owns Cragside, the magnificent mansion and grounds he created on the outskirts of Rothbury, Northumberland, has launched Armstrong Ale.
Created by Northumberland-based Wylam Brewery, the ale is being sold in bottles in the Cragside gift shop and in the propertys restaurant.
The 4.1% ABV pale ale is described as honey-soaked in colour with a sweet tangerine aroma from the finishing hop, light and soft-bodied with a citrus zest/fresh pinewood flavour and an appetisingly dry and bitter finish.
The bottle features the famous Cragside crackle on its label, a photograph of a spark from the electrical experiments Lord Armstrong carried out in a special purpose built laboratory at the house.
Andrew Sawyer, Cragsides Landscape Conservation and Interpretation Officer, said: Ale was a popular drink in Victorian times, as a way of quenching your thirst.
Lord Armstrong built himself a substantial wine cellar at Cragside and would almost certainly have had ale and drunk it. The working man, especially, drank ale and a lot of employers provided ale as part of their employees remuneration.
And another beer has just been created in County Durham. Major Morritt is now on sale at the Morritt Country House Hotel in Greta Bridge
The name comes from a previous owner of the hotel who was in residence from the early 1900s to the 1960s, and who is immortalised in a mural on the walls of the bar.
Barbara Johnson, who has owned the Morritt for the past 16 years, said: We wanted some continuity and thought is would be a nice way to commemorate the man who gave the hotel its name.
Barbara describes the new ale as quaffable. Weve worked with the experts to produce a lighter beer, a good summer drink, which we hope will find favour with connoisseurs and those who just like to try something different.
So lets raise a glass to those who celebrate out great heritage and history in one of the best ways we know how.