Brewery makes history

Brewery teams up with UK’s first female sommelier to create new ale.

An Axminster couple has teamed up with the UK’s first female beer sommelier to brew a new limited edition ale.

John and Becky Whinnerah, who live in Axminster with their three daughters and make ales at their five barrel micro brewery in North Chideock, joined forces with Sophie Atherton to make a new brew.

Sophie, who is also a journalist, recently qualified as an accredited beer sommelier with the Beer Academy.

She impressed the couple with her commitment to beer so much when she interviewed them for a feature that they invited her to brew with them.

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“Sophie is so passionate and also dedicated to spreading her enthusiasm through her beer writing, that it was a bit of a no-brainer deciding to ask her if she wanted to brew with us,” said Art Brew head brewer and co-owner Becky Whinnerah.

“We were also really impressed with how much knowledge she’d amassed about the different kinds of hops, malt and yeasts that beer is made from,” she added.

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The new brew is called Sophie’s Rustic Ale and will be available from mid August.

Sophie added: “Being a sommelier is not just about being able to recommend a beer, it’s about knowing how it’s made and what goes into it; so to be offered the chance not just to develop a recipe but to actually brew the beer is not just exciting but a huge privilege too.

“The beer we’ve made was inspired by a type of Belgian beer called Saison which was brewed by farmers to give to labourers during the harvest.

“Our version includes Dorset maris otter barley, two varieties of English hops, some Belgian yeast and has been infused with marigolds to give it an unusual twist.

“We hope it will go down as well with local drinkers as Saison did with thirsty Belgian farmworkers.”

The Axminster couple recently impressed judges who went nuts over its Monkey Ale – awarding it gold at the Tuckers Maltings Beer Festival, in Newton Abbot.

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