Crafting history: Blackfriars raises a glass to Newcastle’s newest micro-brewery

Crafting history: Blackfriars raises a glass to Newcastle’s newest micro-brewery

A new micro-brewery is opening within a former Dominican friary in Newcastle carrying on the tradition of years gone by.

St Dominic’s Brewery is being launched by the owners of Blackfriars whose complex houses Blackfriars Restaurant, Cookery School, Parlour Bar, Tasting Room, Meeting Rooms, Banquet Hall and King’s Suite and will supply traditional pale ales, lagers and India Pale Ales (IPAs) for customers to enjoy while dining in the restaurant or at one of their many events.

The brewery is situated in the Chapter House where the friars used to meet to hear readings, discuss matters concerning the friary, to assign tasks for the day, and to deal with discipline within the community. After King Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the monasteries (1536-1541), the friars abandoned Blackfriars with the Chapter House subsequently being let out as a meeting house to the Bakers and Brewer’s Guild. Blackfriars will continue the ancient tradition of brewing while embracing modern craft brewing techniques.

Head brewer, Ben Hall, a former chef at Blackfriars as well as being an experienced brewer said: “As a Frenchman who studied in Belgium and grew up with monastic beer, I am absolutely delighted to be given this opportunity to launch the first brewery at Blackfriars for hundreds of years. I have been an ardent home brewer for many years and am determined to convert my experience into the very best ales, beers and lagers using the highest quality ingredients. And if the inaugural brews are anything to go by, I’m confident it’s going to be a hit.”

Blackfriars’ owner, Andy Hook, added: “I’ve been planning a brewery at Blackfriars for almost a decade and to finally see it come to fruition is nothing short of a dream come true. And to house it within the former Bakers and Brewers Guild meeting room just continues the narrative which goes back to the tradition of friars and monks brewing and beyond that. I couldn’t be happier with Ben’s first brews which have already gone down well with both guests and staff alike”.

Serving an initial range of three beers – a pale ale, IPA, and lager – all authentic to Dominican brewing traditions – the brews can be enjoyed while dining in Blackfriars Restaurant, attending events, or relaxing in Blackfriars Parlour Bar or Cloister Garden.  Blackfriars hope the beers will soon be available at sister restaurants in the group, Dobson & Parnell on Newcastle’s quayside and Hinnies in Whitley Bay.

The unveiling of St Dominican’s Brewery coincides with the official re-opening of Blackfriars Cloister Garden as the weather hots up. With heated parasols, fire pits, ambient festoon lighting, beautiful planting and the addition of home-brewed beer, it’s a welcome addition to the Newcastle al fresco dining scene with BBQ and HOG roast events in the summer months with all-weather level-access.

Blackfriars’ Cloister Garden was awarded the landscape and outdoor space award in the Lord Mayor’s Design Awards in March 2024 which aim to encourage, promote and publicise the very best in architecture and environmental design and to improve the built environment.

The restaurant at Blackfriars was also voted Taste of the North East in the North East Tourism awards in April 2024 and its Cookery School above the restaurant won a Silver award.

Blackfriars, Friars Street, Newcastle, NE1 4XN,  Follow on social media @blackfriarsrestaurant

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