A new microbrewery is opening within a former Dominican friary in Newcastle, carrying on the tradition of years gone by.

St Dominic's Brewery
Andy Hook, owner of Blackfriars, with Ben Hall, head brewer at St Dominic’s Brewery

St Dominic’s Brewery is being launched by the owners of Blackfriars, whose complex houses Blackfriars Restaurant, Cookery School, Parlour Bar, Tasting Room, Meeting Rooms, Banquet Hall and King’s Suite.

It will supply traditional pale ales, lagers, and IPAs for customers to enjoy while dining in the restaurant, or at one of many events.

The brewery is situated in the Chapter House, where the friars used to meet to hear readings, discuss matters concerning the friary, to assign tasks for the day, and to deal with discipline within the community.

After King Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries (1536-1541), the friars abandoned Blackfriars, with the Chapter House subsequently being let out as a meeting house to the Bakers and Brewer’s Guild. Blackfriars will continue the ancient tradition of brewing while embracing modern craft brewing techniques.

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Head brewer, Ben Hall, a former chef at Blackfriars as well as being an experienced brewer said: “As a Frenchman who studied in Belgium and grew up with monastic beer, I am absolutely delighted to be given this opportunity to launch the first brewery at Blackfriars for hundreds of years.

“I have been an ardent homebrewer for many years and am determined to convert my experience into the very best ales, beers, and lagers using the highest quality ingredients. And if the inaugural brews are anything to go by, I’m confident it’s going to be a hit.”

Blackfriars’ owner, Andy Hook, added: “I’ve been planning a brewery at Blackfriars for almost a decade, and to finally see it come to fruition is nothing short of a dream come true.

“And to house it within the former Bakers and Brewers Guild meeting room just continues the narrative which goes back to the tradition of friars and monks brewing and beyond that. I couldn’t be happier with Ben’s first brews, which have already gone down well with both guests and staff alike.”