Would you drink 150 year old beer?
That’s the question posed by Connoisseur Ales Brewery as they resurrect a recipe from the history books.
As St Helens gears up for 150th Anniversary celebrations, this local brewery have been working hard to honour this milestone with an especially poignant local brew.
“We have been working with a beer historian for the past few months searching through old brewing records from the Greenall Whitley brewery”, said Kevin, who took over the brewery after his father, Mark Yates, died in November of last year. “
“After searching through many old purchase ledgers and recipe books, we uncovered a recipe for a pale golden ale at 3.7% that was being brewed in St Helens in 1868; we later decided that “1868” was a great name to give to the beer”
“While converting the measurements from bushels and pecs, it became clear that as well as English barley malt and Kentish hops, hops imported from Bavaria were used too. As most ales at this time would use ingredients grown in the UK, this must have been an extra special brew. “
“It’s been a great experience researching for this beer”, Said Kevin. “It tastes of orange and cedar with a biscuit background and it’s delicious.”
From 1762 until its closure in 1975, Greenall’s was located on Hall Street, just a stone’s throw away from Wolverhampton House, the former ironmongery on the corner of Church Street and Shaw Street where Connoisseur Ales is based.
The local theme runs strong through the brewery with other beers such as Lucem, taken from St Helens’ Latin motto Ex Terra Lucem (“from the earth comes light”), and Providence Pale after Providence Hospital, originally located on George Street, the latter being released in the memory of sister Duffy who died in 2015, shortly after the brewery was launched.
The image chosen to represent this beer is local too. It was inspired by an image taken by photographer Frazer Nairn and it brings back personal memories for Kevin who said “We wanted to strengthen the local connection even more by choosing an icon to represent what St Helens meant for me and my family. I chose Sutton Manor Colliery because my family are all from the area. My grandparents feasted on rabbit and wild mushrooms collected on the site while enduring wartime rationing. My grandfather was a Bevin Boy and he used to take me there to feed the canaries in the late 80’s”.
The beer will be brewed throughout 2018 and launches officially this Friday, 2nd February, when it will be served at a civic reception at St Helens Town Hall to guests including visitors from St Helens ‘ partner cities – Stuttgart, Germany and Chalon Sur Saone, France.
Town Centre manager Gary Maddock said “We are happy to be supporting a local small business with such a passion for the town and I’m personally looking forward to being one of the first to sample this historic recipe”.
If you weren’t lucky enough to get an invitation to the town hall event, don’t worry, as “1868” will be available on draught this Saturday, 3rd February, at the brewery’s monthly open day from noon-10pm and will start appearing in local pubs and bars soon after.
Bottles are also available from CatHop Beers in Rainford from Thursday 1st February.
Every Thursday night is bottle night at Connoisseur Ales. Basement of Wolverhampton House, Church Street. 5pm to 8pm
Picture: Head brewer Kevin Yates