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Family brewer goes hopping into summer

Added: Monday, July 1st 2013

Arkell’s second ‘Hoppy Anniversary’ Ale to fly high in July 

With the success of its new beer Admiral Ale under its belt last month -- the brew sold out in just two weeks -- Arkells is launching its second Hop Ale in time for one of the region’s biggest public events this summer. 

Pilot Ale is being brewed to coincide with The Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford on 20 & 21 July and is the second of five specially hopped ales being brewed by Arkell’s this summer in celebration of its 170th anniversary. The brewing team is producing five 4.2% ABV beers using the same malt recipe with English Maris Otter for each, but using five carefully selected British hop varieties, one in each brew. The first hop selected for June was Admiral, followed by Pilot for July. 

It will be available at all Arkell’s managed houses and at the Royal International Air Tattoo where Arkell’s supplies beer, wines and spirits and there will certainly be a few pilots drinking Pilot – though after they’ve safely landed and parked their planes. 

Head Brewer Alex Arkell explains: “We are delighted by the interest in our project so far and there has been a great reaction from our customers. Hops are the ‘spice’ of beer. Before hops were used in beer, brewers would add in a variation of different spices -- called gruit -- to complement the malty sweetness of the brew. The introduction of hops in the 1300s was mainly due to the discovery of their preservative qualities. Boiling hops with the sugary wort allows the beer to last longer in the cask so larger production and distribution became possible for the small brewers.” 

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said: “The Air Tattoo’s association with Arkell’s stretches back many years and they have always been great supporters. 

“It’s great to see them enter into the spirit of the event with their limited edition ale. Pilots are always in great demand at airshows and thanks to Arkell’s this year’s eventwill be no different. I expect that much like the exciting acts from around the world taking part in the flying display next month, Arkells will be doing a few barrel rolls of their own over the weekend!”  

Each individual hop variety adds a totally unique character to a beer. The Pilot hop has aromas of lemon and spice, and is known for its wonderful refreshing, clean and crisp taste.  

Alex Arkell adds: “Whatever the hop description says, we never really know what the beer will taste like until it’s brewed, that’s why I love my job. Our regular beers have a mixture of hop varieties in them, so by using one variety in each of these specials we hope to demonstrate the significance of their individual flavour.” 

Arkell’s is producing 30 barrels of each beer, each named after a different hop.   The first hopped beer, Admiral, sold out. Alex is hoping the same for Pilot.