One of Britain’s oldest independent breweries has launched a ‘new’ ale using the recipe for its first-ever beer in 1865 – after it was discovered during a spring clean.
The ale was included in one of Donnington Breweries’ first recipe books which has been lying behind a cask for the last 145 years.
Eagle-eyed bosses at the family-run business in Stow-on-the-Wold, Glos., spotted the dusty parchment during a recent spring clean.
And now they are faithfully recreating the ale using the original recipe, which includes Maris Otter Malt, English Golding hops in the Copper and Willamotte hops.
The 4 per cent ale has now been put into casks at the picturesque brewery and is being distributed to 15 pubs throughout the north Cotswolds.
Owner James Arkell said: ”The records show that Richard Isles Arkell brewed once a week at Donnington and it’s wonderful to think we were able to brew a very similar beer almost exactly 145 years to the day.
”It tastes delicious. It’s a summery ale perfect for the time of year, light in colour and taste and so will have a broad appeal.”
Thomas Arkell began brewing at the site in 1865, joined by his nephew Richard, after buying the 13th Century watermill in 1827.
Claude Arkell joined the family business in 1952 after active service in the RAF during the Second World War and single-handedly ran the brewery until he died in 2007.
Keen to keep the business in the family, he left it to cousins Peter Arkell and his son James, who learned the art of brewing at Donnington in the 1970s.
James added: ”Inside the brewery is very similar.
”We stood on pretty much the same spot to brew and taste the beer as Richard would have done, probably using some of the same equipment too. The best things never change.”
Iain Loe, of the Campaign for Real Ale, said: ”This is a fantastic story.
It’s very difficult to recreate the original taste as the exactly yeast, malt and hops used will have differed.
”It will be interesting to taste because this particular recipe was developed around the time brewing underwent a massive transformation.”