One of my favourite songs is “Fareweel Regality” sung by The Unthanks, an ode to the beauty of old Hexhamshire that gets me every time.
The real Hexhamshire magic comes south of the ancient county town, following the River Allen down to the Pennines and some magical pubs along the A689, where you’ll find the products of the brewery that keeps the name alive.
Hexham itself, and neighbouring Corbridge, get quite a lot of visitors by rail at the weekend. Corbridge in particular benefits/suffers from a small exodus from Newcastle to its more sedate pubs and Indian Restaurants. Dyvels near the station is a particular gem, with the quality pub food that characterises the area.
Despite an impressive Abbey and it’s racecourse, Hexham has always looked a bit second best to Corbridge and the attractive villages either side of the A69. Most guide books think of the award winning Rat at Anick as a Hexham pub though (it’s a restaurant mind). The walk down from the station to the market square via Hallgate is picturesque.
There’s a healthy dozen pubs in town, including the intriguing Mr Ants, but they rarely appeal from the outside, never mind the inner appeal of GK IPA, Doom Bar and Deuchars.
Slim Beer Guide pickings over the years have stretched to a Tap & Spile and a Wetherspoons, which integrates seamlessly with the forum cinema. The Tap is still there, one of a handful to survive with that name though having acquired a Doom Bar led range over the years.
So the newish Tannery is a very welcome addition, and a sister pub to upmarket Gosforth’s excellent Brandling Villa, itself a model all-rounder. A simple formula of interesting beers & ciders, posh burgers and live music seemed to be filling the Tannery with customers of all ages.
Proper pub seating and friendly service, and a bit less food-led than, say, the excellent Fitzgeralds chain, but with high standards and a few quirky touches.
The Chegwin burger was very good, and excellent value, if not quite reaching my BrewDog benchmark. It was a good to see a range of proper snacks including cheese platters.
The beer (no idea but pale and local) had a beautiful head, and scored NBSS 3. A half of cider from Market Weighton was even better; the cider range is superb and unexpected.
Obviously, in better weather, I would have walked to the High House Brewery Tap 6 miles away, but best to leave that for my next walk along Hadrian’s Wall.
I have some reservations about the pooch menu, but it must be great for Hexham to have a pub where folk will pay £4.95 for a pig ear taco for their canine.