It’s no secret that the B Sunglasses team love good food, good beer and good music. Basically, any celebration which involves all three is a surefire way to ensure that we’ll be there no matter what the odds. This weekend the international beer festival Craft Beer Calling was in town and blogger Lauren Archer of Scran On The Tyne had hooked us up with some tickets.
With a vast array of independently crafted beers from the UK and overseas, delicious food stalls and a DJ set by the one and only Mr. Scruff as well as Greg Wilson, we sent our resident socialite Jake (@wheyai) down to The Boilershop Steamer in Newcastle for the three-day soiree to have a bloody good time!
Unfortunately, due to the main action taking place at night, no shades were spotted… however we can bet that a few were required for the following morning…
The Festival: Craft Beer Calling
For one weekend only, over 50 breweries assembled their wares under one roof to tantalize the taste buds of our Northerners. From cask to keg, to artisan ciders and sloe gin; the weekend was certainly set to be a boozy one. As winter creeps in, a beer jacket is the perfect way to stay warm on a brisk October night so its’ all the better if its’ been painstakingly crafted and specially brewed with the best hops and flavourful undertones around.
Yet those who are teetotal certainly didn’t miss out on the fun… there was plenty to do besides chug down alcohol. Restaurants and street food stands from the growing local ‘foodie’ scene provided the perfect accompaniment to all that sweet nectar with wholesome delicious snacks smoked, griddled, fried and steamed to perfection. Jesmond based burger joint Fat Hippo, Asian fusion restaurant Electric East and Riley’s Fish Shack from Tynemouth did most of the legwork representing Newcastle’s finest dining whilst new kids on the block Utter Swine and Longhorns’ BBQ brought traditional All-American barbecue back in style.
Image c/o The Evening Chronicle
The Boilershop Steamer has quickly become one of the hottest venues in the North East by regularly hosting food festivals, gigs and events in the once over-looked corner of the UK. Taking an abandoned warehouse and applying some of that Portland-meets-Shoreditch artsy magic, this once abandoned space is now quite the go-to rustic venue. Think exposed brick work and industrial wooden beams decorated with fairy lights and colourful stalls and you’ve got the perfect backdrop to Newcastle’s coolest mingling to a soundtrack of up-and-coming music. Certainly the ‘place to be’ this season!
Photo c/o Wylam Brewery
Photo: The Journal
Issued with your very own Craft Beer Calling glass at the door indicated that some heavy drinking was heavily encouraged – after all, it is a beer festival and this place meant business! With over 50 beers on tap, those in-the-know would have been pleased to see the likes of Camden Town Brewery, Renaissance Brewery, The Bridge Tavern, The Kernel, Bristol Beer Factory and Northern Alchemy participating in the craft-beer event of the year along with other significant independent labels from afar a field as China and South America which have slowly seeped their way into craft-beer consciousness.
The only choice we had was to sample them all given a little confusing £10 ‘drinks token card’ for which 20 stamps were to be earned. Each drink cost a particular number of stamps which is probably a good way to keep toll considering a lot of the drinks were over 8%. The killer combination of international, UK and North East regional brews not only provided variety but a unique taste of what each has to offer. Jack’s Gin Bar in particular provided some very strong gin cocktails which had the previously reserved mood lifted and by midnight the crowd were dancing on tables and really going for it.
Three words defined our weekend experience and that was ‘Spoilt. For. Choice’…
Jesmond’s Fat Hippo opened its’ doors back in 2011 and ever since, booking a table on any given night has been somewhat of a challenge. Frequently packed to the rafters, a second branch Fat Hippo Underground was opened in the city centre to accommodate this little burger shops’ growing fan base and budding franchise in keeping with the current ‘gourmet burger’ trend. If you’ve ever sampled one of Fat Hippo’s PB + J burgers or their cajun spiced double cooked fries, you’ll know exactly why…
Image c/o Boilershop Steamer
Asian-European fusion cuisine has never been so chic when presented in the ‘Street food’ format. Electric East in Newcastle is a eclectically decorated little restaurant hidden in Waterloo Square and their appearance at Craft Beer calling was certainly a welcome one. Taking traditional dishes from Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, Electric East infuses a contemporary luxury twist which is even better in bite-size. Their famous Shakin’ Beef and Penang Lamb Curry with jasmine rice were highlights of the night and the rich spicy scents emerging from the stall were enough to have us drooling at the door.
Image c/o Electric East
Whilst burgers establishments take over cities at rapid pace and smokehouses pop up on every corner, one Street Food success has been widely ignored among this Americana obsession: the New York style hot dog! Thankfully, new guys in town Utter Swine were at hand to meet all our meaty needs with German-style Bratwurst, smoked sausages and whole hog meat cuts. BBQ at its’ best, these guys’ source only the best pork for their hand-made ‘dogs served with all the trimmings in soft brioche buns.
Image c/o Utter Swine
Riley’s Fish Shack
All good Friday nights in the winter are founded on the traditional British Fish and Chips supper. In fact, the North- South divide has never been so close to non-existent when it comes to a battered cod. Yet, Riley’s Fish Shack, based in the port of Tynemouth are offering something a little more upmarket and unusual to the Street Food movement. Fresh, locally caught North East seafood is cooked over real charcoal and presented in exciting mouth-watering format. From mackerel wraps to juicy Monkfish, chargrill lobster and ‘Squid on a stick’; Riley’s Fish Shack prove that ‘thinking outside the tank’ is the way to go when it comes to shore-caught delights.
Image c/o Riley’s Fish Shack
Festival attendees were lucky enough to preview the future of foodie heaven with Longorns’ BBQ stall. Revelers could sample what this American style smokehouse had to offer ahead of its’ opening which luckily for us was sweet BBQ glazed ribs with hot sauce, slow-cooked beef brisket, succulent pork shoulder and beer floats! These glorious meaty-treats are sure to be a hit once their new restaurant opens on Mosley Street next to Newcastle’s Quayside and quite frankly, they were most certainly a B Sunglasses hit with our team!
Image c/o Longhorns BBQ
For best part of the ’90s and 2000s, Mr. Scruff’s jazzy upbeat electro tunes have been the ultimate soundtrack to any given club night. This weekend, he closed Craft Beer Calling with one of his legendary five-hour DJ sets. Heralding his sound from Manchester, Mr. Scruff’s 1999 album ‘Keep It Unreal’ has pride of place in our record collections but his eclectic set played in front of a backdrop decorated with his whimsical cartoon artwork was a sight to behold in the flesh. With everyone dancing until well past midnight, his ‘one last tune’ was of course the 1999 hit ‘Get A Move On’ which had the crowd partying until they were turfed out in the early hours.
All in all, a strong caffeinated beverage and pair of shades were are go-to recovery kit by Monday morning but it was sure worth it!
You can catch some of the street food at craft beers at the up and coming events at The BoilerShop Steamer throughout November and December. Book your tickets now!
Follow @CraftBeerCall for updates on future festivals and @steamerevent for the latest on events at The Boilershop Steamer.