Drinkers go quackers as The Olde Potting Shed swans onto the brewery scene

The Olde Potting Shed Brewery's five barrel plant in High Spen, GatesheadA family of kitchen makers and picture framers are the latest to join the North East’s ever burgeoning brewery scene.

After a year in the set-up The Olde Potting Shed Brewery, in High Spen, Gateshead, has already produced three different beers in three weeks.

“My husband Ray has fancied brewing for many years and about a year ago we started converting a portion of the space we have into a five barrel microbrewery,” said Pamela Swan, who sells kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms from within the same building as her spouse’s new venture and son’s picture framing business.

“It’s taken a lot longer than we first expected, but he wanted to make it really nice – as it makes you want to spend time working there – and now we’ve been going about three weeks.”

The new brewery’s plant was build  by Scotia Welding and Fabrication, who are based in the Scottish Borders and have previously worked with Tempest Brew Co, Fyne Ales and Belhaven Brewery. They have also received help and advice from brewery consultant George Thompson.

“So far we’ve done three brews and I think they have gone down quite well,” said Pamela, who has seen the brewery’s beer served at The Turf at Winlaton, The Bute Arms in High Spen, the Fox and Hounds at Coalburns, near Ryton, The Robin Hood on the Military Road in Northumberland, the Travellers Rest in Sunniside, and the Crown and Crossed Swords in Shotley Bridge – and landlords coming back for more.

“Our name is Swan, so our first brew was a 4% ABV amber called Cygnet, like a baby swan. Our second beer was a 4.8% ABV golden ale called Swansong, and our third brew is a 4.3% ruby, Dark Wing.

“And I think would like to keep experimenting as we get more experience of what people want. So far we’ve seen that people don’t necessarily want strong beers, they want session ales – and at the moment we don’t have that, so it’s something to look at.”