They don’t come much smaller than Bear Claw Brewery: too small even to call itself a microbrewery, it bills itself as a nanobrewery. They hold open days on the first Wednesday of every month, during which fans of their work can pop into Bear Claw’s tiny home and quaff, eat and chat.
Unit 3, Meantime Workshops, North Greenwich Road, Spittal, Berwick TD15 1RG
Darwin’s beers have won awards from CAMRA, Asda and Tesco over the years and established themselves as one of the bigger small breweries in the North East. They’re also heavily involved in the Brewlab training space in the city, and are keen to help develop the next generation of brewers having started out at Brewlab themselves in 2002.
Unit 1, West Quay Court, Sunderland Enterprise Park, Sunderland SR5 2TE
0191 549 9450
Almost as well-regarded for their intensely chic pump clips as they are for their actual beer, Out There theme their beers around outer space and exploration of the cosmos. They’ve recently branched out into sour beer too.
Unit 4, Foundry Lane Industrial Estate, Ouseburn, Newcastle NE6 1LH
Named after local Coxhoe lass Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s most famous poem (‘How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...’), Sonnet 43 known for complex but accessible ales, particularly pale ales like their award-winning American Pale Ale.
Durham Road, Coxhoe DH6 4HX
0191 377 3039
Black Paw Brewery
What began as a risky mid-life career change (Head Brewer Phil Whitfield was an NHS manager until six years ago) has turned into a fondly regarded institution with particularly stylish labels and an ever-increasing cast of seasonal brews. Their gift sets are extremely handsome as well.
Unit 4, Westgate Road, Bishop Auckland DL14 7AX
Three Kings’ deeply handsome beers come dressed in old-style brown paper bags, and are currently part of the house cask selection at just four pubs, all in the North East: The Bridge Hotel in Newcastle; the Rockliffe Arms in Whitley Bay; and Oddfellows and Low Lights in their native North Shields.
14 Prospect Terrace, North Shields NE30 1DX