We had a smashing lunch first of all in the Bridge Tavern and found the food very, very tasty, pulled pork with kimchee coleslaw in a brioche bun for me with the most tasty chips (triple cooked) that I've had for some time. The on site microbrewery also kept the chaps happy. And there's some interesting artwork to look at too.
Then we crossed the river to the Baltic, a major international centre for contemporary art which has some fabulous food and drink areas, for an informative 'Beer and Bites' session with beer expert Andrew Mitchell.
Five regional artisan beers were paired with 'bites' to compliment. Ruth scored them...
- Fermata (Allendale) a low in strength yet bold in flavour beer with a big bitter bite, paired with Cajun Chicken Nachos with Sour Cream and Guacamole.
- Salted Caramild (Almasty) a modern take on a classic style; sweet salty and delicious. Paired with Ginger & Lemongrass King Prawn.
- Bramling Brown Ale (Allendale) where hedgerow berries meet toasted nut, biscuit and caramel sweetness. With a Fig & Blue Cheese Tartlet as the bite.
- Pineapple & Passion Fruit Sour (Northern Alchemy) a Berliner Weisse conditioned on fresh fruit. Think tart, tropical sorbet and you're there. Some Chicory Spiced Rice accompanied this beer.
- Goldbox Breakfast Stout (Almasty) an intense and intoxicating full bodied stout serving up lashings of dark chocolate and dark berry fruits was paired with a Raspberry Blondie.
As a non drinker I had a good sniff of the beers - but a cold prevented me from getting the maximum from the aromas. Instead, I had a cup of tea with a Praline Square (think Millionare Shortbread with a praline filling instead of toffee).
Just before we left we took a few minutes to enjoy the stunning views from Baltic, looking up the Tyne to the Millenium Bridge, Sage Gateshead and Tyne Bridge as the sun began to set. Glorious!