Tyne 9® is best served in its presentation glass to deliver a black and white beer sensation, and allow the drinker to celebrate the football heritage and theatre; from Gallagher and Milburn to Shearer and on to present day; of the magnificent Newcastle United Strikers’ shirt and number.
Blaydon Brick” was the “nick-name” for the popular cloth capped 19th century MP for Newcastle, Joseph Cowen Jnr. A son of Blaydon; he was a friend to Garibaldi, Mazzini, the working man, and anyone at that time whose rights were suppressed!
Our label shows a Thames Barge used extensively for shipping goods, including Firebricks, between the Rivers Tyne and Thames, in the 19C. From these ports, goods were transported around the world. Maybe some Firebricks even reached New Zealand! Today we can certainly get exotic hops from NZ to Newcastle, and have used plenty in the making of Trade Star, our tribute to the great days of trade on the Tyne.
Stella Power Station (south) was built on the former Estate of Stella Hall the birthplace of Joseph Cowen Jnr which was also on the route of the famous Blaydon Races. It was modern and efficient in its time using the very best of world leading technology and construction from local companies C.A. Parsons, A Reyrolle & Co. and Clark Chapmans.
Such heritage and the amalgamation of world beating technology to ensure a supply of light and power to the region was inspirational in our brewing of STELLA SPARK , a bright and zest filled beer.
Firebrick Brewery in Blaydon is 400yds from the Tyne and under 5 miles from the centre of Newcastle. The label shows the old suspension “Chainbridge” from Chainbridge Road in Blaydon to Scotswood Road in Newcastle, opened in 1831 and mentioned specifically in the famous Newcastle Anthem “Blaydon Races”; eventually it was considered a bottle neck for traffic, and sadly, demolished in 1967 and replaced by Scotswood Road Bridge.
Can there be anything more enjoyable and life affirming than hearing WEY-AYE, it’s more than “yes” it embraces “of course” it states complete support. It can be a response to an offer of a cup of tea or to a motion to proceed with a million pound development project; it can even be said alone, to boost spirits at any stage when constructing flat pack furniture. It definitely applies to the concept of introducing an IPA to the Firebrick line up.
In our picture, the seahorse “haurient” (check your heraldry!) is flanked by hops; seahorses appeared as “supporters” on the Newcastle City coat of arms in 1575 and subsequently on the NUFC badge, they denote Newcastle as a sea port. Hops are the main focus of an IPA, India Pale Ales were heavily hopped to either preserve the beer or disquise the souring after an extended journey by sea. So we have woven into one, the themes of hops, seahorses, and that wonderful Newcastle assertiveness in our WEY-AYE P.A.
It seemed correct to name our Best Bitter “Elder Statesman”, after 19th Century MP Sir Joseph Cowen Snr. Founder of the brickworks that gave our brewery its name; he was knighted for his work on the Tyne Commission, straightening and dredging that river, allowing shipping and industry to flourish in the area.
“Coalface” is a modern take on the Milds that washed coal dust from the throats of miners for generations.
Giuseppe Garibaldi the great popular hero of Italian Unification was already a living legend when he arrived in South Shields on 21st March 1854. An active revolutionary he had much in common with Blaydon’s Joseph Cowen with whom he became great friends, staying with him at his home, Stella House. Greeted enthusiastically by the people of Tyneside during his stay he was presented, on their behalf, by Cowen, with a golden sword; the inscription read ‘Presented to General Garibaldi by the People of Tyneside, Friends of European Freedom, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, April 1854’.
Our beer celebrates the role of injured Belgian soldiers moved to Birtley (now part of Gateshead), and the part they played in making shells for the war effort in the 1st World War. Including family they numbered 6000 and whilst in Birtley, lived in a Belgian enclave called Elizabethville, policed by Belgian Gendarmes and subject to Belgian rule, They are known as the Birtley Belgians, a little known but amazing story.
Cushy Butterfield is the second adopted “Tyneside Anthem” after the Blaydon Races, and also by Geordie Ridley, his last song, circa 1862. It was the wonderful chorus that inspired the name for our first Stout.
It is really a lament by a Keelman over his unrequited love for a Whitening-stone Seller; the stone, made of baked clay or “yella clay” was used to clean and decorate the stone steps leading up to the front door of the many terrace houses in the area. Ridley had to leave for a while when the song initially caused consternation with the actual stone sellers. Here is the first verse and chorus (we’ve printed guitar chords beside the lyrics on our Cushy Butterfield bottles).
Aw’s a broken hearted keelman and Aw’s owerheed in luv
Wiv a yung lass in Gyetshead an’ aw caals her me duv;
Her nyem’s Cushy Butterfield, an’ she sells yella clay,
An’ her cusin is a muckman, an’ they caal him Tom Gray.
She’s a big lass an’ a bonny lass,
An’ she likes her beer;
An’ they caal her Cushy Butterfield,
An’ aw wish she was here.
Sister beer to CUSHY BUTTERFIELD with burnt sugar/candyfloss background notes.
His image is depicted on a commemorative Irish silver 15 Euro coin.
A memorial to him, in red terracotta stands opposite Fenwick on Blackett Street in Newcastle City Centre, disguises a Metro ventilation shaft, and goes largely unnoticed by passers by; yet his main invention affected every aspect of modern life and went into production on Tyneside.
Far more should be known and shared about this Irish adopted son of Tyneside…and if you wish, you can do that here.
The eventual sad demise of North East engineering, invention and excellence should not cast a shadow on the genius works and legacy of Charles Algernon Parsons, and at Firebrick Brewery we raise a symbolic toast to him in the shape of our Parsons’ Stout Porter.
Stout Porters, Double Porters and Extra Porters were a common drink in the 19C.
Stout, double, or extra, meant strong or dark.
Later during successive world wars, grain rationing led to a reduction in beer alcohol content and Stout Porters dropped from six or seven percent ABV to around four percent.
They kept their colour dropped the word “Porter”and became Stouts.
Single Porters lost their place to these Stouts and dropped out of fashion, until they were revived by the American craft beer movement in the 1970s.
For Pagan Queen we asked Wylie to depict Iceni Queen Boadicea; war ravaged and uncompromising, during the short lived “spring” of her victory over three Roman cities, now known as Colchester, London and St Albans – Great job Wylie!
For Heatwave we asked Wylie to imagine a “Wuthering Heights” type scene circa 1800 and depict a “Femme Fatale” pausing reflectively whilst harvesting; set against a backdrop of oppressive summer heat, and fields of ripened barley… we’ve no idea why we asked for that but are delighted with the result!
The word Tormit came from 19th century northern dialect and meant Turnip. Our label shows Wylie’s fantastic “Turnip Keepers Lantern” and depicts the legend of Jack O’ Lantern, with an added bicycle to speed up Jack’s search!
Our rich warming beer should conjure up the excitement and smells of childhood autumn evenings, and Halloween.
We gave Wylie quite a challenge with Fireglow. We asked for a strange traveller, maybe St Nicholas, but maybe not (we like that she gave him a sword, definately makes it a grey area); seeking rest and sanctuary from the mysteries of the night he opens an inn door allowing warmth and firelight to flood out. Think she nailed it!