We were a little late getting to Almasty from Anarchy.
Not because we didn't know the way, no.
Mainly because having stopped for a puncture repair on Nick's bike, I'd managed to drop my phone on the verge when I thought I was slipping it back into my rucksack pocket. That would have been fine, had I noticed.
I didn't though. Not until we'd had to stop again, 3 miles on to properly repair Nick's puncture. After a frantic (as you might imagine) search through all my rucksack pockets, shorts, jersey and every other conceivable location upon my person, I concluded it must have fallen out somewhere on route - but definitely since we'd previously stopped as I'd been looking at my phone. So back through Wideopen we pedalled (a place name now forever branded in my memory), looking hopefully in the gutter and roadside for what I was sure was no doubt the smashed remains of my poor phone.
There was nothing.
Until we got right back to where we'd stopped and there, face down in the grass lay my bloody phone. The stupid hunk of electronic uselessness.
Still, a couple of extra miles in the legs, and slightly raised blood pressure never did anyone any harm, did it?
Anyway - grovelling lateness text sent ahead, and back on course we made it to Almasty, based just outside of Newcastle city centre about half an hour later, to meet owner and brewer Mark McGarry.
Almasty is probably the 'newest' brewery we have visited, in terms of how long it's been up and running, with it's official launch only a month prior to our visit - in the form of a soft launch of two of the beers on tap at The Free Trade Inn.
Almasty is a one-man operation. That one man is Mark, former head brewer at Tyne Bank Brewery (and prior to that Mordue Brewery). We were very grateful that Mark had offered to take a break from his very busy schedule to have a chat with us - no mean feat when you are responsible for literally everything in the 10bbl brewery and everything that comes with it!
After our chat with Mark, and a sneaky taste of his Session IPA (mind-blowingly good with a great citrus punch to it) we got out of his way as quickly as possible. We offered a pathetically small bit of assistance to his huge workload by taking a couple of the coveted Almasty pump clips to the Free Trade Inn for him on our way back. These screen printed slices of tree trunk (see picture above) really are things of beauty, apparently frequently disappearing from pubs all over Newcastle!
Anyway, over to Mark, and his experiences of setting up a new brewery...
We heartily recommend seeking out any of Almasty's beers should you be up in that neck of the woods. Bang 'on trend' (for want of a better description), big flavoured, bold brews. Favourite for us had to be the Sorachi Saison which we sampled in Dat Bar - a solid, honest to goodness example of exactly what a saison should be.
Ride detail available here. Part of our route from Jesmond out to Morpeth and back.
Music - 'Contact' by Anitek - www.soundcloud.com/anitek