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

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…

Portland Porter in the Pipeline

We’ve just taken delivery of some expertly roasted “Black Middens” coffee from Tynemouth Coffee Company, ready for our next Shipping Forecast Ale PORTLAND. This will be a very special coffee porter, brimming with a cornucopia of different malts and fresh fresh coffee. Locals to the coast will know that Tynemouth Coffee Co supply  Cullercoats Coffee, our local coffee shop, which is well worth a visit for a tasty brew if you’re in the village. We’re planning on bottling a few Portlands, so if you miss it on the bar in July/August you might be able to try the bottle conditioned version later in the summer or in September.

Whitley Bay Beer Festival! World Cup Beer! Baa at Edmundbyers

It’s all go this week as Rockcliff Rugby club gear up for their annual beer festival. Friday 25th-Sunday 27th May  – you’re in for a treat with beer, cider, gin and fizz, live music and street food from the superb Hadrian’s Pizza. Whitley Bay Carnival is also this weekend, so come to the coast!

We’ve got a special in the pipeline to mark the Football World Cup,  a smooth, easy drinking pale ale, hopped with Challenger and Jester and Olicana late on in the boil for extra fruity aromas. All English of course! At 3.8% you’ll be able to enjoy a few and still keep your eye on the ball. This is a limited run beer, available from June 4th so any Landlords out there who want to reserve a cask or two, do get in touch on 07895 692 881.

Finally, we’re just back from a weekend in Edmundbyers, a lovely spot about 20 miles form Newcastle, though you’d never guess, it feels so remote and tranquil! The hostel is run by Debbie and David with a campsite at the back, and a fabulous bar (called BAA) at the front, with a great selection of always changing real ales, lagers, gins and wine. The Punch Bowl, also in the village does great beers too and has a tasty lunch and dinner menu, well worth a visit. We camped Saturday and had lovely supper at the Punchbowl. Sunday we enjoyed a long yomp across Blanchland Moor, and back along the river;  a fantastic walk with curlews, grouse, bluebells, yellow wagtails, lambs galore, wild garlic, and an abundance of wild flowers. No adders, although plenty of signs warning you about them!

PS if you’re fans of Boewulf, there are two giant statues from the set in the campsite just now, also enjoying their holiday from filming nearby!



Spring news and brews

Not quite sure where the last few months went, we seem to have been so busy! In spite of the chill factor we’ve enjoyed strong demand for beers, especially our lovely dark Polly Donkin and the super strong Fortification. It’s got us thinking/plotting about some local collaborations on the dark and strong side, we’ll keep you posted on that…Dubbel Dubbel Toil and Trouble….

We’ve had fantastic responses to our collaboration with Dog and Rabbit Brewery, Whitley Bay – two versions of Sea Dog, the strong American IPA. Then our Three Amigos American pale ale for the battle of the beers competition at Newcastle Beer Festival last week sold out very quickly. People seemed to have loved this beer, even though we didn’t win!  So our occasional foray into the world of foreign hops has been interesting and we’ll continue to complement our all English core range with these occasional beers

Our latest Shipping Forecast beer is called Wight, and will be out in about a week’s time. Our assistant brewer Sean Hardy says “Maris Otter, Vienna, oat and wheat malts combine to give this extra pale ale full body and malt sweetness. Hoppiness is provided by masses of Endeavour, Jester and new hop CF160 being added late in the boil and as a dry hop. Giving floral and soft fruit flavours with a bitter finish.” So there you go!  This beer is unfined, so may have a slight haze and it’s suitable for vegans.

Talking of which, our unfined beer output is rising month on month as more pubs ask for unfined cask ales. If you want to try these versions your best bet is to head to the Ship Inn, Ouseburn, Byker, where they get through an impressive number of casks each week! Of course all our bottled beers are unfined, and you can get them at Fenwick, Boda, Centrale and Coppers.

We’re delighted to be supplying a number of beer festivals coming up soon:

Ponteland beer Festival 20-22 April 

Gateshead beer Festival 4-6 May

Tynedale Beer Festival 14-16 June

They’re all great events with fantastic music and entertainment, well worth a day out by bus, metro or train! In particular, the Ponteland Beer Festival have the superb Baghdaddies playing tunes from their new album on Sunday, you can pop along just for this for £2.50 entrance, or free if you order Friday or Saturday tickets. It’s on frequent bus X78 from Haymarket (20 mins) and a 5 minute walk.

Other dates for your diary are:
Whitley Bay Carnival, 25-26 May – plenty of things to get involved in RIGHT NOW! Cloud Nine’s new play Rainbird  at the Exchange North Shields 23 -28 April
Mouth of the Tyne festival Tynemouth 5-8th July – Paloma Faith is sold out but plenty more on offer!

So there’s plenty going on in our area, we hope you have some fun in the sun and enjoy some Cullercoats beers while you’re about it. By the way we’ve just hit £37,000 on the RNLI totalizer – thanks to our fabulously loyal customers! RNLI - Fundraising in aid of the RNLI


Grace Darling Gold – our new name for Shuggy Special

We brewed Shuggy Boat Special 5% a few years back as a one off, a stronger, hoppier version of our best seller, Shuggy Boat Blonde 3.8%. It’s proved so popular that we have brewed it again and again and it’s become a permanent member of our core range. Not surprisingly the two beers are sometimes confused, having such similar names, so we have finally decided to re-name our strong blonde beer Grace Darling Gold, after the famous English lighthouse keeper’s daughter. Grace Darling was lauded for her part in the rescue of survivors from the shipwrecked Forfarshire in 1838, off the Farne Islands in Northumberland.  You can read all about her story and the museum celebrating her life on the RNLI website, better still go and visit it in Bamburgh, on the North East Coast!
Thanks to Charlotte Powell, local artist from Tynemouth, for her lovely drawing for our pump clip, showing the small boat on the stormy sea all those years ago.