In recent times, the microbrewery has become a national phenomenon with an increasing number of people choosing to buy and drink these high quality local ales instead of the mass market beers and ales which have saturated the market. This new trend for craft ales brewed locally to a high standard has given us a greater choice in what to drink when we go to the local pub for a relaxing pint. Even though this is a relatively new trend, The Grey Horse in Consett has been brewing their high quality ale from as far back as 1998.
The name “The Consett Ale Works” harks back to a time when Consett was the industrial heart of the North East, producing steel for a number of noteworthy projects around the UK and their real ales are no different. The names of most of their ales are related to processes which were involved in the manufacturing process of steel. With names such as ‘Molten Ale’, ‘Red Dust’ and ‘Blast Bitter’ it’s easy to see that this microbrewery is proud of its local heritage.
These speciality brews all have their own character with 3 regular ales which are regularly found on tap and a number of seasonal and speciality ales which often make an appearance at different times throughout the year. The three regular ales which can be found on tap in the Grey Horse are three award winning beverages which over the years have impressed judges at various ale festivals are ‘White Hot’, ‘Red Dust’ and ‘Steel Town Ale’.
Each of these ales has its own distinctive character which can be easily picked up on when you take a sip. White Hot is a light, refreshing ale which is easy to drink and popular amongst a variety of beer drinkers whilst Steel Town Ale could be considered the ‘all around’ ale of the Grey Horse’s regular line up, consisting of a well rounded flavour and an amazing colour. Red Dust is a dark ruby coloured bitter with a rich taste that may not be to everyone’s liking but no doubt a great drink that more seasoned veterans of the real ale world would love.
Microbreweries across the UK strive to break free from the chains of the mass market beers and ales which populate the high street and the Consett Ale Works does just that. We decided to visit The Grey Horse to soak up the atmosphere and try some of the craft ales in question. With a great cosy atmosphere on a rainy Friday, I felt right at home with a pint of the Red Dust. The description of this ale was pretty much bang on and the Red Dust had a rich taste which I thoroughly enjoyed. The deep colour harked back to a time when Consett’s local pubs were bustling with activity after clocking off time at the steel works. If you are looking to do something different from the norm, I can highly recommend popping down the Grey Horse for a casual pint of their fine, home brewed ales.