Published on October 6, 2017 | by Alastair Gilmour


Count on expansion next year

The nursery rhyme goes: the animals came in two by two. Hurrah! Hurrah! Then they go three by three, don’t they?

These numbers are a reminder that it’s three years since Two By Two Brewing brewed its first beer – although owner Rob Macleod reckons they’re now so popular, he’ll need to expand, so it’s the last anniversary he and his five-barrel kit will celebrate at the Wallsend base.

Rob is busy looking for newer, bigger, more central premises. “I’d love to be around the Ouseburn,” he says, “but that might be pretty tough. I think this third birthday will be our last one here, though.

“We had ideas of using the mezzanine floor for expansion and taking a bit of it away for another tank to fit in but then took one look at it and decided it would be easier moving altogether into an open unit with nothing in it.

“It’s all going really good at the moment. We’re supplying the local pubs around Newcastle – especially the Ouseburn Valley ones – such as The Cluny, where we’re responsible for their house beer, Tyne Bar, Cumberland Arms and Free Trade. We started to deliver to London but are now too busy to fill a pallet to go there, but we go to Edinburgh and Leeds once a month.”

In his early days, Rob worked behind the bar at The Bridge Hotel in Newcastle where he developed a keen interest in beer – then also in various other pubs where his enthusiasm developed further. He took the learning plunge on the intensive diploma in British brewing technology course at Brewlab in Sunderland where not only do students learn the theory of brewing but also the practical side, microbiology, business start-up, tasting, and in between times are sent out on industrial placements.

“We’re brewing two or three times a week, depending on what people want,” says Rob. “I’ve got two part-time staff and some friends who help out.”

He has brewed a beer in support of Ouseburn Farm, the charity that brings rural life and animal welfare into the city. One quarter of the profits, six times a year, is donated to help it survive.

He says: “They lost a lot of their funding through council cuts. I thought I’d do something for such a unique and inspirational place. I’ve got four kids, two of them went to school round there, and I used to live up the road on Byker Bank. It’s a great charity doing lots of workshops for people who have all sorts of learning difficulties and disabilities and it’s something we should hold on to. It’s just a little bit of money, but more importantly we’re raising awareness.”

Two By Two brew beers that include Bergamot Citra Saison, Chinook Simco Pale, Oatmeal Milk Stout, Ugly Duckling and Monkey Puzzle IPA. At the moment he can only do them one by one. Two By Two is a bit special.

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Alastair Gilmour

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