A North Yorkshire brewery is hoping its latest seasonal ale will prove to be a “sure-fire” winner with real ale fanatics.
For Masham-based T&R Theakston Ltd’s Cresset Ale, which goes on sale tomorrow, has been named after the small iron basket in which off-cuts from the oak cask making process are burned.
Pre-cut wooden staves that form the cask walls are first softened in steam before being bent into the familiar barrel shape, held together by metal hoops.
The Cooper then places the cask over the Cresset in order for the oak staves to be set in this position and thus remain in this shape for the life of the cask, which is usually between thirty to forty years
The brewery has a long tradition of supporting the art of coopering, employing coopers since the founding of the company in 1827, right through to the present day.
Current Cooper, Jonathan Manby, came to the brewery as an apprentice craft cooper at the age of 17 to work for the then Master Cooper, Clive Hollis.
After his careful and thorough four year apprenticeship, he became a fully qualified cooper, making him the last apprenticed craft cooper in England.
T&R Theakston Ltd executive director Simon Theakston said:
“Our monthly seasonal ale range always proves extremely popular and this time we are honouring the role Coopers have played in our Company and also the wider brewing industry.
“Each year Jonathan makes hundreds of wooden casks in which our beers are conditioned.
“These are then sold all over the country and enjoyed by the growing army of real ale lovers.
“Coopering is an ancient art that we at Theakston’s are very proudly keeping alive, and Jonathan’s skills are fascinating to behold.
“Jonathan conducts frequent exhibitions of his skills and his Coopers’ shop can be seen from our Visitor Centre here in our brewery in Masham.”
Mr Theakston added:
“Cresset Ale is a 4.0 per cent ABV cask beer brewed using the first of the season’s barley, oats and wheat to give delicious, warming and mellow flavours complimented by a low but complex hop character resulting in a beautifully balanced ale – perfect for October’s autumnal nights.
“The whole team here at Theakston’s is really proud of our latest brew, and we are sure it will prove to be a sure-fire winner with our customers.”
The beer will be available from tomorrow and its tenure will continue for the rest of the month.