FitzRoy is here! On draft and in bottles

Our Shipping Forecast special is now #19 FitzRoy Oat and Rye Pale 3.8%  – limited edition bottle release and on draft too.

Fruity pale ale, generously hopped with Jester and Epic, giving a tropical fruits and grapefruit aroma with a dry finish, and a smooth mouthfeel from the addition of oats.

According to Wikipedia, “Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy FRS (5 July 1805 – 30 April 1865) was an English officer of the Royal Navy and a scientist. He achieved lasting fame as the captain of HMS Beagle during Charles Darwin’s famous voyage, FitzRoy’s second expedition to Tierra del Fuego and the Southern Cone.

FitzRoy was a pioneering meteorologist who made accurate daily weather predictions, which he called by a new name of his own invention: “forecasts”. In 1854 he established what would later be called the Met Office, and created systems to get weather information to sailors and fishermen for their safety. ”

Why the capital R?

Robert was a fourth great-grandson of Charles II of England, and this is why his name is written with a capital R in the middle of it, meaning ‘Son of King’

There is a fantastic BBC programme about Robert FitzRoy on iplayer – well worth watching, the story is extraordinary.

Gold Gold Gold!

We had a grand day out last week! Gateshead Beer Festival was the location for this year’s Society of Independent Brewers’ SIBA North East Independent Beer Awards, and beer judging took place throughout the day, with us scooping five awards and taking the top spot!

Cullercoats Brewery took home overall Gold in the cask beer competition with our‘Polly Donkin Oatmeal Stout’, a rich, thick and creamy stout which proved a hit with the expert judges. We also took overall Bronze in the bottle & can competition with Royal Sovereign Barley Wine ABV 11%.

The awards are judged by fellow brewers and other representatives from the industry, making these the much coveted ‘brewers’ choice’ awards in the North East, including beers from brewers spanning Berwick-upon-Tweed to Sheffield. Accepting the top cask beer award for Cullercoats was Bill Scantlebury, Head brewer:

“This is the most important award for us to to win as it’s judged by our peers and industry colleagues. It’s a fantastic pat on the back and we’re very proud to win. It’s great to see traditional beers like this winning against such varied competition too, with all of the amazing beers in this competition it’s brilliant that a traditional British Oatmeal stout and a Barley Wine can win.”

Describing the winning cask beer Bill added,

“Polly Donkin has a complex recipe with seven different grains and all British hops – Bramling Cross and Jester – which give fruity flavours on top of that lovely roasted malt base, which is very creamy tasting from the oats.”

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) represents independent craft brewers across the UK, who are now brewing the broadest range of beer styles ever seen, to quench the thirst for independent craft beer from drinkers and pub-goers. Presenting the awards was SIBA’s Head of PR & Marketing Neil Walker,

“The quality of beer in this competition was astounding, with a real variety of styles including more modern New England style hazy IPA’s and fruited sour beers going head to head with traditional porters, stouts and barleywines in the final judging. I’d like to congratulate all of the winners and in particular Cullercoats and Ossett who took the overall top spots – winning these awards is a huge achievement and I wish you the best of luck at the National finals next year!”

Winners from the North East Region now go forward to compete at the national finals in Liverpool early next year.

Picture shows Bill and Anna Scantlebury, Neil walker (right), Press SIBA and Ian Fozard, Siba Chairman (left) presenting the award for Overall Cask Champion.

You can try these award winning beers for yourself, bottles are on sale now at Fenwick Newcastle, Boda Home Whitley Bay, Coppers Gosforth, Centrale Newcastle, Grape and Grain Morpeth and The Rare Drop Gateshead.

Cullercoats Literary and Music festival is back 20-23 June

yes! The fourth festival is coming soon, and we’ve a new beer Iron Or 3.6% in cask and bottle, coming your way in June. Tickets often sell out early so check the programme, it’s varied and full, as always, something for every taste and fancy! can send you the program and you can pick up copies in local cafes and libraries. Here is a link to a digital copy Brochure – Iron Or 2019  Hope to see you in Cullercoats! Beer will go on sale in June at Boda Home.

Beer Festival appearances

Goodbye January! It’s the time of year we take a breath, and have a few days off. We enjoyed watching England storm through the rugby at the weekend  – over a few pints of Shuggy Boat exported to London for the occasion.

We’ve been busy brewing to replenish stocks after the Christmas madness and some wonderful specials are coming your way – a Saison called Biscay and new dry hop project beer called Pilgrim and our strong beer Fortification.This means the Fortified series will feature later in the year. If you’re not familiar with these blended beers, you’re in for a treat and can read all about it here.

Beer festival beer orders are starting to come in, so here are a few diary dates for you:

Winter Great British Beer Festival 19-23rd February Norwich

Tyne Bank Brewery Craft Beer Evolution 23rd February – North East Brewers’ showcase

BeerX Liverpool  13th-14th March – we have beer in the keg competition and in the National Finals of the Cask competition!

Newcastle beer festival 10th-13th April – featuring the annual local ‘Battle of the Beers’ competition

Ponteland Beer festival  26-28th April

Chippenham Beer Festival, North Wiltshire 26th – 27th April

Gateshead beer Festival  3rd-5th May – also hosting the North East SIBA competition

Tynedale Beer Festival  13th-15th June


Bottle sales and outlets on the up

Our bottle sales are increasing all the time, as the number of outlets grows, and we’re often asked why we bang on about them being bottle conditioned – what’s the difference between this and other bottled beers?

Most bottled beers (and lagers) are filtered (to remove yeast and any hop residues) and then artificially carbonated with CO2, as they are bottled. When a beer is bottle-conditioned the process is different. Instead of artificially carbonating the beer, bottle conditioned beer allows the yeast to naturally carbonate the beer after fermentation is complete. This is why CAMRA call it Real Ale

Fermentation works by the yeast eating the sugars in the wort and giving out alcohol and CO2 as waste products. During fermentation at the brewery the CO2 bubbles off and escapes. Once fermentation is complete and the yeast has magically transformed the sugary wort into lovely alcoholic beer, it’s bottled while still containing some live yeast in suspension. Sometimes a few grams of sugar are added to help keep the yeast going, and the bottles are then kept warm, at about 20 degrees celcius, to keep the yeast active. During the period of warm conditioning (about 2 weeks) the yeast produces a little more alcohol and CO2. Since the beer is now bottled and capped the CO2 produced by the yeast has nowhere to go and dissolves into the beer, carbonating it. The carbonation is smoother and creamier than the forced carbonation of filtered beers, and helps the beer achieve a creay head and lacing down the glass as it is drunk.

The best way to pour a bottle conditioned beer is slowly, down the side of the glass, in a single pour, to avoid disturbing the yeast sediment, which naturally falls to the bottom as the beer matures in the bottle. However some people like to mix it in and drink the yeast as well!

If you want to drink our bottle conditioned beers with a meal out, why not visit one of these lovely bars/restuarants?

Rene’s of Tynemouth
The View, Tynemouth
Boatyard, Cullercoats
Papa Ganoush, Whitley Bay
Kiln, Ouseburn
Staiths Cafe, Gateshead|
McKennas at Northern Stage, Newcastle
Evans Bistro, Whitley Bay
The Ink Spot Newbiggin

If you want to buy bottles, head to Boda Home, Centrale or Fenwick in Newcastle, Coppers of Gosforth, Blagdon Farm Shop or Nicholsons the Butchers in Whitley Bay.

GRADE A student in the house!

Bill was studying hard throughout last year towards the first year examinations of a Diploma in Brewing. The course is run by the world renown Institute of Brewing and Distilling in London, and is a stepping stone on the road to becoming a Master Brewer, the highest brewing qualification out there.

He met brewers from all  over the UK and the world, learning the finer details of malt and wort in the brewing process – think advanced chemistry and biology with engineering thrown in!
The IBD says about the qualification ” The Diploma in Brewing examination is a measure of the candidate’s theoretical knowledge of brewing science and technology. The objective of the Diploma in Brewing is to give international recognition of comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the principles of brewing science and technology.”

So, after lots of heavyweight reading and studying, lectures, online tutorials, podcasts while out on delivery, weeks of revision then a scary exam  – and he goes and gets an A!

Part two of the course starts in January – the wonder of YEAST, and definitely one of Bill’s favourite subjects (his other pre-occupation is his sourdough production – it tastes amazing and we haven’t bought any bread at home in 3 months).

Congratulations Bill!


Double Dog on the loose!

Our latest collaboration with Dog and Rabbit Brewery in Whitley Bay has just been released, a big hitter Double IPA, dry hopped in the fermenter and in the cask, with bucket loads of US hops – Mosaic, Citra, Cascade and Simcoe. At 8.5% it’s a special beer, worth savouring. Limited edition bottles available soon at Centrale Newcastle and Boda Home, Whitley Bay.

Trafalgar Day Sunday 21st October

According to the Royal Navy,   “Trafalgar Day is the most important day in the calendar of HMS Victory, the oldest commissioned warship in the world. Each year on 21 October a ceremony is held on board Victory marking the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, a battle which defined the Age of Sail and which sealed British dominion of the seas for a hundred years….But the ceremony on board Victory is an act of remembrance rather than just a celebration of victory, remembering the loss of the country’s greatest ever naval leader and the lives of men on both sides who perished in the fierce battle, or subsequently, from their injuries.”

If you’ve ever walked along the Tyne from North Shields Fish Quay towards Tynemouth you can’t fail to notice Admiral Lord Collingwood, on his plinth, gazing out to sea since 1845. The monument is surrounded by cannon from his ship, The Royal Sovereign, which fired the first shot at the Battle Of Trafalgar in 1805. Collingwood helped the British Navy to avoid losing a single ship at Trafalgar, a critical battle in our history; if the Navy had lost, Napoleon could have swept across the channel into England.
In recognition of this famous Newcastle born hero, in 2015 we brewed an all English barley wine, bearing the name Royal Sovereign ABV 11% . It gets better with age and is tasting amazing, on sale at Fenwick and Boda Home. 

Autumn bounty

We love Autumn! and this year’s been extra special with a limited edition (6 casks only) Bramble ale, infused with several kilos of fresh blackberries, picked by the family in Cullercoats, Tynemouth and Whitley Bay. A sumptuous puree was made at home and added to a base of mature pale ale, to give a lovely fruity fresh beer. There wasn’t much of it but it went down a treat at Left Luggage Room, Station House Durham, Office Morpeth and Bridge Hotel, Newcastle.





Not only blackberries but fresh Northumberland grown hops too! We were lucky enough to get hold of the only significant hop harvest in the county, from Wilde Farm Ponteland, to produce our Wilde North Blonde once again. It flew out last year, and is doing the same this year, so if you want some, don’t dilly dally! These beers are only in cask, so you HAVE to go to the pub! Or better still a local beer festival such as Snods’ Edge  on 5th/6th October

Another 4 SIBA awards!

We never imagined we’d do even better than last year, but we did! We were thrilled and delighted to pick up another FOUR awards at this year’s SIBA regional competition in York last night – Gold for Polly Donkin Stout and Silvers for Shuggy Boat Blonde, Rocket Brigade IPA and Portland coffee porter. The Portland has been selling exceptionally well, so we are planning on making it one of our core range in place of our Storm Porter. If you want to taste it it’s on now at Left Luggage Room Monkseaton and in bottles at Boda Home, Centrale, Coppers and Rehills of Jesmond.

There were 53 breweries in the competition, and 324 beers judged brewers, landlords and industry suppliers. We had a fantastic family day out in York, lunching at the famous House of Trembling Madness in Stonegate before the competition, then enjoying BFest, the beer folk and blues festival, that starts straight afterwards. Late train home, to find the Metro all awry but it didn’t dampen our spirits, and we eventually found our way home to Cullercoats. And then all the bustle of the Harbour day the next day, and even SHUGGY BOATS on the beach! It’s time for a lie down…