Of these the Crouch Vale Santian was by far the pick of the bunch - with Santian hops from Oregon it was described as zesty and spicy - not sure so about the spice but it was certainly full of bite - just a shame I didn't start with it.
As we prepared to wander along to Number Twenty-2, a couple of Gateshead fans overheard us and asked if they could follow us there since they weren't quite sure where it was. Of course, we are the Friendly Club after all.
N22 was much busier than it has been for quite a while with a few more Darlo fans than usual - normally it tends to be just our little DAFTS contingent and a handful of others such as Durham Tony. DT was there today and had brought a few glory-hunting friends!
On the bar today we had Beatown Bearskinful, Daleside Best, Titanic Steerage Best, Hexhamshire Whapweasel, Taylors Ram Tam and Allendale Golden Plover. The latter was a lovely pale beer but once I'd seen Ram Tam was available I got stuck into that.
I had ordered three taxis today and we left promptly at 2:20pm when the first arrived.It was just like the old days - a queue of cars as you came to the roundabout on the A66 so the taxi driver dropped us off outside the ground on Neasham Road. Looks like being a good crowd - Raj will be pleased.
(left) Former Quaker Adam Rundle gets ready to punish Darlo
Darlo then started to up their game and finally pulled back a goal through Mark Bridge-Wilkinson. Hatch pushed the ball forward but was fouled as he did so.
Thankfully referee Boyeson - who hitherto was never one of my favourite refs - played advantage which allowed MB-W to slot the ball home from a tight angle (though strictly speaking I think it glanced the post and went in off a Gateshead defender). But quite frankly I didn't care - come on!!!
It was now Darlo's turn to look dangerous and we started to put the Gateshead defence under pressure with Gary Smith being denied by Farman and then Verma going close.
Darlo won a free-kick when sub Nathan Modest was fouled out on the right wing - from the resulting Brown cross Liam Hatch headed home and the Darlo fans went wild.
(left) Hatch puts Darlo into the lead
At the final whistle, most fans probably couldn't believe what they'd seen - this wasn't the Darlo we're used to and the team went off to a well deserved ovation.
Thankfully I hadn't left anything behind today so we had a celebratory cup of tie and a pie once we'd got settled on the way home.
Instead I opted for a pint of locally brewed Camden Bitter which is served in keg form (or draft as they insist on calling it) but the beer is not pasteurised like normal old-school keg. It was quite tasty but too cold and a bit too gassy - which isn't surprising I suppose. I would much prefer it on cask but it seems that is a bit too old fashioned for them...