no. 006 | Wylam
Craft beer is often considered a modern phenomenon, but that’s not always true. Meet Wylam, who have been brewing since 2000.
The year is 1999 and, as the world prepared for the never-to-materialise millennium bug, IT contractor John Boyle had a chance meeting with former first officer Robin Leighton as he fixed his computer. The captain of a merchant ship, Robin had spent years travelling across the world and to numerous countries where alcohol was considered illegal. Finding beer – let alone good beer – was therefore difficult and so he learnt the art of brewing himself.
By 2000, the duo had established Wylam Brewery in North East England with the sole aim of getting some beer on tap in their local pub, located in a small village with the same name, not too far from Newcastle.
“There was a lot less happening when it came to craft beer and independent breweries at that time,” says Dave Stone, now Wylam’s Director, “and the focus was pretty much solely on cask beers”.
Today, Wylam operates from Newcastle upon Tyne where John and Robin’s enthusiasm for brewing fantastic, carefully crafted beer continuous under the watchful eye of Dave and the team:
“Our focus here is on quality, not quantity. We’re pretty old school with our brewing techniques, with a lot of our processed coming directly from Ben, our Head Brewer, who’s pretty much been with us from the start. We take our time and we only brew beer that we want to drink”.
Located inside the historic Palace of the Arts, Wylam also have an 800 capacity live venue inside their brewery, allowing them to host gigs and events alongside their delicious range of beers.
What continually draws us back to Wylam is their refreshing attitude in what is a heavily trend-driven industry. Avoiding fads and fly-by-night fashions, their commitment is simply to the end product. “We’re heavily informed by history and methods used over the centuries,” Dave tells us, but that doesn’t mean they’re luddites. Their core range is continually complemented by a frequently changing range of seasonal beers:
“A core range allows us to demonstrate consistency, which is an art in itself, and also gives our loyal drinkers the chance to drink something that they know and enjoy – a little lacking in the modern beer world in my opinion. But then we have our one-off brews, which provide a playground for experimentation and also let us factor in the seasons. To be huddled around the fire on a cold winter’s evening enjoying a stout is such a fleeting pleasure”.
We agree and so batch no. 006 sees us showcasing our first stout. Not something we intend on making a habit of, we felt the cold evening’s could use the extra comfort.