Monday, 20 August 2012

WITCHES & REAL ALE. AN ODD COMBO? PERHAPS NOT.

1612 INSCRIBED INTO THE PENDLE  HILLSIDE
It may seem a little odd to most of you, to associate real ale with witches. However, I felt it most appropriate today to highlight both subjects.
The 20th August 1612 marked a sad day in history. The day ten people, known as the 'Pendle Witches', from East Lancashire, unjustly swung from the gallows, high on the Lancaster Moors.
The ten had supposedly committed 'crimes' such as, causing madness, making clay images and most importantly, using witchcraft to murder 16 people over a 20 year period!
The evidence against them, was based on peoples memories, superstition and hear say.
STILL USED AS A PRISON UNTIL 2011!
Unfortunately, for them, they were found guilty, in a trial that lasted just two days at Lancaster Castle.
The poor souls would have had a long, lingering death, by strangulation. And the resting place of the ten accused, has never been found.
So where is the real ale connection? Well, local East Lancashire brewer, Moorhouse's, have always been sympathetic towards the unjust execution of the ten 'Pendle Witches', and have named a few of their excellent beers in memory of them.  
Pendle Witches Brew is arguably its most well known. A full bodied beer at 5.1%. It's fruity, malty and a little sweet, with a bitter aftertaste. A superb quaff, and one of their 'core beers'.
Another, is the 'Blond Witch', one of their biggest sellers. A golden ale, slighty sweet, with a malty, lightly hopped flavour. Some say it has a spicy taste. However, I cant identify it! Nonetheless, it's one cracking tipple and a big favourite, here up north.
The third one I wanted to highlight, was the 'White Witch'. This ale made an appearance in the spring and was one of the seasonal range. However, production was extended, due to its popularity and you may still be able to hunt it down.
In my opinion it should be a 'core beer'. Moorhouse's were a little unresponsive, when I raised the question, at a recent beer tasting evening. So may be there is hope it will be added to their core range.
It's one of them beers that just slides down. One that you seem to sup five minutes quicker than t'others! Why? Cannot explain it, to be honest. It's so refreshing, light and fruity, with a spicy aroma. An ideal session ale, at 3.9%.
And that just about wraps it up. Felt the need to highlight the 'Pendle Witches' and give some insight into this dreadful event, 400 years ago today. And at the same time, thank Moorhouse's  Brewery for naming some of their beers in their memory.