Q&A with Tyne Bank Brewery

Sam Capper
Tyne Bank Brewery

Please introduce yourself...
Tyne Bank Brewery was born in 2011 and we are based on the banks of the river Tyne. We strive to produce the highest quality beer using the best possible ingredients. The majority of what we brew is cask ale, but we have an extensive bottled range and plenty of keg beer as well. We brew a core range of five ales, which are permanently available and we use our knowledge and expertise to produce a wide variety of ales for our monthly specials and seasonal beers, taking inspiration from several different beer styles from across the globe.

Where do you brew from and what's your set up?
Our 18 barrel brewery is just a stones throw from the river Tyne, on the edge of the Ouseburn Valley in Newcastle. We have the city's best pubs just round the corner, and are minutes from the city centre. After four and half years of brewing in our current location, we are starting to run out of space! Next year we will be moving to a bigger building with more room to move and grow, but we will still be keeping true to our roots and staying close to the river.

What was your path into the world of brewing?
The brewery was founded by Julia Austin, who came from a chemical engineering background. After enjoying the brewpubs of British Columbia, she was inspired to bring great quality beers to Tyneside. Brewing has a long and fascinating history in this region, and in recent years has boomed again with several excellent small breweries and great bars opening up. We are proud to be part of the vibrant and exciting scene in the region.

Where do you see your brewery in three years time?
With the move next year, its an exciting time for us at the moment. Three years down the line we hope to have our tap room up and running with regular events as part of the city's excellent beer culture. Our 3rd and 4th Birthday Parties were so much fun, and having live music in the brewery was great and we're aiming to hold regular events like this as well as create a cozy place to enjoy our beers.

We are also aiming to do all our packaging in house to give us much more flexibility and greater quality control, as we currently bottle off site. We've recently sent our first export orders to Norway, which is really exciting, over the next couple of years we hope to expand our exporting efforts and show the world that there is a lot more to Newcastle beer than brown ale.

Whats the single biggest challenge facing the UK independent beer market?
There are lots of independent small breweries now, and more opening every week. This is great, but in terms of the on-trade there's a bit of a bottleneck when it comes to places to sell beer to.

The rapid growth of independent breweries hasn't been equally matched by an increase in free of tie hand-pulls, and until the bigger pub companies open up their policies to allow local independent brewers to supply their pubs, everyone is going to be fighting for space on the bar, and unfortunately some great breweries might lose out undeservedly to the bigger breweries who can hit a price point, often with inferior beer.

This is why off-sales and brewery taps are more and more important for independent brewers, and finding creative ways of making your beer more accessible to those who want to drink it is crucial. There are some fantastic independent pubs and bars though, and its important that they are supported by customers as well as breweries are to allow this growth to continue.

What do you drink when you're not drinking your own beers?
Mostly tea! We do drink a lot of the stuff! Beer wise we are led by professional curiosity, and rarely drink the same beer more than once as we all love to try new things. Favourites among the team are Kasteel Rouge, Odell IPA and Beavertown's Smog Rocket.

Mike Hampshire