We speak Danny McColl, co-founder of the County Durham-based McColl’s Brewery. There our latest One to Watch…
First things first – how, when and why was McColl’s Brewery founded?
Officially, McColl’s Brewery started brewing in May 2017 but go back 13 years prior to that. The thought of brewing was triggered by the coming together of the brewery’s founders (Danny and Gemma McColl) and our enjoyment of sharing a beer or two.
With an academic research background, I enjoy the scientific qualities of brewing while being able to indulge their creative side by experimenting with ingredients. It’s a pure passion and really fulfilling to produce something after a hard day’s graft.
We’re delighted to featuring your core range of cans this month – how did you decide on these beers and styles, and what can you tell us about the beers?
McColl’s four core beers are unashamedly easy going; we wholheartedly believe in being able to sit down and enjoy your favourite beer time and time again with mates or family. This motivates us to design beers with integrity for everyone to enjoy, inherently sessionable and balanced.
Our love of Belgian ales comes from family holidays in Northern France, just kicking back. Petite is a crisp, clean and sessionable Belgian Blonde Ale. With a 100% Pilsner malt base and conditioned for 5 weeks, expect fruity esters from the Belgian yeast and a delicate balance of citrus and grapefruit aromas from Chinook and Celeia hops.
Suma IPA is a nod to the great brewers we have met in the past two years, their love and openness to share techniques and insights. Balanced by a sweet caramel malt base, big bitterness hop aromas of mango, citrus and grapefruit.
Lady Marmalade Best Bitter, ultimately the style of beer that got us in to this mess after enjoying our fair share back in the early 2000s. A pub beer, a session beer that makes you feel comfortable and warm inside. A full bodied and complex malty beer with spicy rye and toffee flavours peppered with deep citrus hop notes and a long-lasting bitterness.
A more recent hankering for porters has found us develop North South, a blend of contemporary and traditional recipes. A robust yet refreshingly smooth ale with a complex malt bill offering coffee, caramel and chocolate notes, lifted by light coconut aromas and a medium dry finish.
You have an onsite taproom and offer brewery tours, what can people expect if they pay a visit to McColl’s?
Tucked away in the old industrial village of Evenwood, County Durham, in the foothills of the North Pennines, our tap room is a very welcoming place. Take a seat amongst the brewhouse and fermenters, soak up the easy-going atmosphere, it is somewhere to enjoy an afternoon with friends and family. Brewery tours are held on a monthly basis or by arrangement. Nine keg taps offer everything from our core range, seasonal one-offs and collab beers.
What does the future hold for McColl’s, are there any upcoming beer releases you can tell us about?
We have just rereleased our much sought-after Beetroot Biere de Garde, Beet de Garde. Biere de Garde is an under-appreciated style bound up in malt forward flavours and noble hop varieties, add beetroot to the mix and you’ve got a perfect flavour combination. Brewed as a one-off last year in collaboration with Tooth and Claw Brewery, Hartlepool, it proved such a hit that we decided it had to be revisited.
This limited run seasonal beer is built on Pilsner, Vienna and Munich malts, Fuggles and Saaz hops, Belgian Abbey yeast and 80 kilo of beetroot; expect earthy deep flavours yet a clean and dry profile, boozy yet refreshing.
Finally, is there anything you’d like to tell the Flavourly community about McColl’s Brewery, especially if they’re encountering your beers for the first time?
Just enjoy them, the company you’re keeping, the food you’re eating, the good times.
Interview by Kevin O’Donnell