Maxine Gordon stops for some refuelling at Brew York's new Beer Hall

BREW York is going, if you will excuse the pun, from strength to strength.

The brewery opened two years ago and soon built a reputation for its tours and taproom, where people can sample its freshest beers.

There's a beer garden facing on to Rowntree Wharf, making the most of its riverside location just off Walmgate.

Last month, it opened a beer and food hall – expanding into a neighbouring building following a successful crowdfunding campaign.

The new upstairs hall serves up to 40 beers (and a few ciders) from a far wall, covered in white tiles with a chrome tap for each brew.

There is a separate food counter too, the Born to Lose burger kitchen, which has moved across from Spark:York.

The hall is cavernous and not surprisingly echoey. When we arrived around 7pm last Sunday, there were a couple of dozen punters in.

The decor is simple: lots of wooden tables and benches around the perimeter as well as high counters with bar stools where you can nurse your drink while tucking into some hearty and unusual grub.

The menu at Born to Lose is essentially burgers and fries – but with a twist.

There is a choice of seven "burgers", with something for everyone, whether carnivore, vegetarian or vegan.

For lovers of the classic burger, it would have to be The Bourdain named in honour of the late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. It features the "house ground patty" along with salted tomato pickle, lettuce, cheese and the "house burger sauce".

My husband Nick chose this, while after some deliberation I went for the Vietnamese BBQ beef burger, which at £10 was a couple of quid more than The Bourdain and boasted beef shin on top of the meat patty as well as "turmeric pickle, peanut dust, fermented chilli dressing, tonkoko-infused spicy BBQ sauce, raw onion and burger cheese". Wow!

If some of these ingredients have you reaching for your culinary dictionary, then join the club. The tonkoko in the BBQ sauce turns out to be one of Brew York's award-winning beers, packed full of the flavours of coconut, chocolate and vanilla.

If I'd realised that at the time, I would have ordered a glass to have alongside. Instead, I chose a half of Yorkshire Ampleforth cider (£2) which was a classic cider full of apple flavour and neither too dry nor too sweet. In hindsight, this was a bit unadventurous given the wealth of beer options available. Nick made up for this however by ordering a half of Panda, a fantastic beer with a tang of grapefruit (think Lilt) followed by a glass of Parrot, which followed on the fruity theme and was packed with tropical flavours. Both (priced at a whopping £3.20 for a half) were delicious and much more enjoyable than the cider.

Choosing what to drink is part of the fun at Brew York, and our barman was very friendly and helpful as well as knowledgeable and only too happy to give us a little taste before we made our order.

You won't need quite as many deliberations at the food counter, although some of the dishes might warrant further interrogation of the Born to Lose team.

Also on the "burger" menu is pork crubeen (£10) – a take on the Irish dish of boiled and battered pig's feet. Here, the offer is spiced pigs head served with a patty, burger sauce, and kimchi – an Asian sauerkraut of salted and fermented vegetables.

Other options are Japanese fried chicken (£9) and the Big Cheese (£9) – all served in a toasted sesame bun.

The two vegan options, which come in a Marmite-glazed bun, are the 'Crispy Umami' (£9) (a Japanese-inspired wild mushroom battered patty with turmeric pickle, soy and Marmite-baked onion, raw onion, burger sauce and salted tomato) and the 'Hail Seitan' (£8.50) – where a spiced seitan (a wheat gluten) is fried as a schnitzel and served with various trimmings.

Different, eh?

And then there are a selection of small plates and sides including the pig's head crubeen donut (£7), the double egg yolk hash brown (£6) and the kimchi mac 'n' cheese (£6).

We wanted fries with our burgers, so chose a house fries (£4) and a kimchi fries (£6).

Once we'd placed our order, we were given a numbered buzzer which rang when the meal was ready for collection.

This took about ten minutes – and we collected our food on a small tray. The chips came in bowls, but the burgers were on a small piece of paper on the tray. We had to move them on to paper napkins to eat and fish some plastic forks from a tin on the table to attack the fries.

The food looked really appealing: the chips nicely golden, the burgers plump and overflowing with toppings.

The meat patties were really good: clearly home made and 100 per cent quality beef. They were moist and full of flavour. Mine was a bit of a meat feast, topped as it was with hot, salty shreds of melt-in-the mouth slow-cooked beef shin.

The burgers were sloppy affairs, messy to eat, and not the sort of thing you'd perhaps want to tackle on a first date. Luckily Nick and I have 25 years of dating under our belts, so we had no reservations.

The fries were good, but I wouldn't order the kimchi ones again because, while tasty, the topping made the chips soggy.

Gourmet burgers are big business these days, and you pay top dollar for them – our Sunday night supper cost £28. Brew York is not the cheapest place in town, but for quality food and drink, made locally, with love, care and attention, we thought it was worth it.

Brew York Craft Brewery & Tap Room

Unit 6, Enterprise Complex, Walmgate, York, YO1 9TT

T: 01904 848448


Food: tasty 4 stars

Ambience: noisy 3 stars

Service: good 4 stars

Value: pricey 3 stars

Reviews are independent and paid for by The Press