We asked you five questions all about ale. Here are the answers!
- Which of the following varietal names is the odd one out: Challenger, Fuggles, Goldings, Optic, Phoenix?
Optic, which is a variety of barley suitable for malting for brewing and distilling purposes. The other four are all hops. Fuggles and Goldings are long-standing favourites among brewers; Challenger and Phoenix are newcomers.
- As of 2013, which is Britain’s most northerly brewery?
The Valhalla Brewery, founded in December 1997 on Unst, the third largest and most northerly of the Shetland Isles.
- Which style of ale, Britain’s most popular in the early 1960s, suffered a catastrophic decline and accounted for only 1.2% of beer sales in pubs by 2002?
Mild. Historically called “mild” to distinguish it from aged, “stale” beer that tasted sharper, it came to mean a beer that was less strongly hopped and therefore sweeter. Thankfully, it’s undergone something of a revival in recent years (and it remained popular as a working man’s drink in the Midlands and North West of England) although one or two of the most famous, like Hanson’s and Ansell’s, have gone out of production in the meantime.
- Alloa-based brewers Williams Bros produce an ale called Fraoch that’s based on a 4,000-year-old Gaelic recipe. What does fraoch mean in English?
Heather, used as a bittering agent. Heather, bog myrtle and other herbs were widely used by the Celts long before hops, which weren’t cultivated in Britain until the sixteenth century but rapidly gained ground because the beer produced with them kept longer.
- Which company is the world’s largest producer of cask ale?
Marston’s plc. J. Marston & Son was founded in 1834 in Burton-on-Trent and was taken over by Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries (established 1890, and the producer of Banks’s and Hanson’s beers among others) in 1999. Since then they’ve also acquired the Cockermouth-based Jennings Brewery (in 2005) and Hampshire’s Ringwood Brewery (in 2007). The company rebranded under the Marston’s name in 2007.
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