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Three years in for Three Kings - and the signs are good in North Shields

Three Kings Brewery is looking to expand for the second time in three years. Ewan McCann talks us through the development

Ewan McCann from Three Kings Brewery
Ewan McCann from Three Kings Brewery

The term ‘craft beer’ has been much debated, discussed and argued over. But if you ask Ewan McCann from Three Kings Brewery what the term means, his answer is simple: “Ask Roger Protz”.

Since launching three years ago (I remember the launch and I can’t believe it’s three years already), Ewan has focused on the beer and left the talking to others.

In our series of spotlights on local breweries which lets brewers speak in their own words, Ewan McCann talks us through the development of Three Kings – from starting off, to his plans to expand the brewery for a second time.

“Now with 1,285 breweries in the UK, Britain now has more breweries per head than any other country in the world. Camra’s Good Beer Guide 2015 editor Roger Protz says: “Real ale is the only success story in a declining beer market. New breweries, making handcrafted beers, continue to come on stream while many long-standing regional and family breweries are expanding with new equipment and new brands. Real ale has almost doubled its market share over the past decade”.

Three Kings Brewery was born three years ago starting out on a 2.5BBL plant brewing 800 litres per week. 228 brews later we are still trying out new recipes and ingredients. We love using English hops; however, there is so much to choose from we are always excited to try varieties from New Zealand, America and Australia.

We now have 10 core beers in the range (see the list below), four of which can only be exclusively found in the pubs they were brewed for. Darkside of the Toon, a 4.1% stout, is the most recent addition to the list and is now permanently available at the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle.

Production from last year has doubled, and we are currently looking to expand the brewery from 5BBL to a 10BBL plant. The 10BBL equipment is on order so once the existing kit is sold and the council arrange the lease for the building next door we will double production again in 2016 all going to plan.

To celebrate North Shields FC reaching the FA Vase we produced a beer called ‘Wembley Robins 4.2%’ which was very popular. And at the end of May, look out for a new beer to help save the Tynemouth outdoor pool. You can find more about the campaign at tynemouthoutdoorpool.com. For both these beers we raise 20 pence from every pint sold, so thanks to all the pubs and customers who have already bought or are looking to buy them.

Our investment in 11 oak firkins has proved a real success with pubs throughout the region eager to let their customers try a beer from the wood. It’s been so popular that the SPBW (Society for The Preservation of Beers from the Wood) North East branch will play host to this year’s SPBW National Weekend on November 13-15.

The Three Kings cask beers list is Billy Mill Ale, a Golden Bitter at 4.0%; Ring of Fire, a 4.5% American Pale Ale; and Dark Side of The Toon, a Dry Irish Stout (4.1%). Cask house beers are The Rock, 3.8%, at the Rockcliffe Arms, Whitley Bay; Castle (3.8%) at The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle; Hale Ale (3.8%) at Oddfellows, North Shields; and Low Lights (3.9%) at the Low Lights, North Shields. There are also three in bottle – Silver Darling, a Pale Ale at 5.6%; Apache, an American Pale Ale (5%), and Tyneside Tommy, a best bitter at 4.1%.”

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