New tasting room for Northumberland farmhouse brewery

A farmhouse brewery, launched in a former milking parlour less than a year ago, is launching a tasting room and licensed bar.

Monday, 13th November 2017, 14:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 04:24 am
Louise, Robert, Pippa and Theo Howie in the new tasting room and licensed bar at Rigg & Furrow farmhouse brewery. Picture by Ian McClelland

On Saturday, Rigg & Furrow farmhouse brewery, based at Acklington Park Farm near Morpeth, will formally open the tasting room, launch its new Christmas beer and mark its first nine months of business with a special event.

So far in 2017, Rigg & Furrow has supplied its beer to more than 100 bars, venues and hotels from Scotland to Yorkshire, including well-known Northumberland and Tyneside venues such as The Office in Morpeth – the CAMRA North East pub of the year.

Pippa and Theo Howie at the Rigg & Furrow farmhouse brewery at Acklington. Picture by Ian McClelland

Bespoke, branded labels on bottles of beer to mark special occasions or weddings have proven particularly popular too.

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It’s been 12 months of hard graft for the Howie family, who are behind the venture, which came about when Theo, a former music teacher and brewer from London, married farmer’s daughter Pippa.

Wanting to make use of the old farm buildings no longer in use, the couple set up the brewery with her father Robert and mother Louise. And it’s a true family affair, with Louise’s brother Simon, a carpenter, hand-crafting the new bar and creating the tasting room.

Theo said: “It’s been all hands to the pumps for the whole of 2017 and, with the opening of the new tasting room, I don’t see it letting up at all next year. But it’s been the most exhilarating and exciting experience too.

Pippa and Theo Howie at the Rigg & Furrow farmhouse brewery at Acklington. Picture by Ian McClelland

“I’m very grateful to my in-laws and wife for their invaluable input into the business.

“So, our celebration on Saturday is really just for us to say a big thank-you to everyone who’s supported us this year and a big ‘Cheers!’ from the Howie family for our next year of brewery business.”

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Rigg & Furrow takes care to brew beer that reflects its immediate rural Northumberland surroundings with much of the beer created from grain grown locally and the farm growing Golden Promise barley for this purpose.

The name Rigg & Furrow is taken from the field on the farm where Theo and Pippa were married, which has an ancient wavelike pattern of ridges and troughs formed over the years by ploughing.

Core beers from Rigg & Furrow are: The Pale Ale, brewed with Golden Promise barley and English hops; Run Hop Run, a session IPA made with Simcoe hops and a small proportion of oats for smoothness; hoppy, red-tinged Trickster; and the robust Owl Porter, made with a blend of five malts.

In addition to the four core beers, a regular seasonal assortment of Farmhouse Ales are produced from ingredients grown on the farm, including elderflower, rhubarb and a new bramble beer. Theo is trying out some beer made with wild yeast cultured from the farm and is currently ageing some of his beer in whisky barrels.