Sunday 15 December 2019

Brewer names his new beer Ball and Chain Ale to mark wedding to sweetheart

Emma Hallett

A GROOM has come up with a unique way of marking his wedding to his long-term sweetheart by hand crafting a beer - which he has named Ball and Chain Ale.

While most men might pick a touching song from the couple's time together, Alex Arkell was clear about how he was going to add a personal touch to their wedding day.

He is the youngest member of the Arkell's brewing dynasty, based in Swindon, Wiltshire, and has ensured guests at his wedding to Alice Braithwaite, 27, will able to raise a glass of specially brewed beer.

The 27-year-old proposed to Alice over a romantic meal and they are planning to get married at Ms Braithwaite's family home in Northumberland on January 26.

While some brides might have taken offence at the tongue-in-cheek name, the couple actually came up with it together - on the grounds that it attracted the most laughs.

Mr Arkell, head brewer for the family firm, said the ingredients of his traditional ale are the same as that of a successful marriage.

"Beer is brewed from malt, hops, water and yeast," he said.

"Most malts are made from barley, much of it good English barley, and it's the base of any real ale. Hops are the female flowers used primarily for flavouring and stability. The yeast is used for fermentation.

"Marry them together and you have malt and hops for content, stability and flavouring and yeast to rise to the occasion.

"I'm hoping Ball and Chain will become fundamental to a truly contented married life for us both."

While Ms Braithwaite, who opened The Tea Chest in Lechlade, Wiltshire, last year, has been busy organising the ceremony, Mr Braithwaite has been at the brewery in Kingsdown, Swindon, creating the celebratory ale.

He said: "It's been a lot of fun creating a beer to mark the most important day of our lives.

"I decided to brew a completely original recipe for Ball and Chain, using four varieties of malt, the main ingredient in beer, to produce a distinct grist known as milled malt as its foundation.

"I added Celeia, Willamette and Columbus hop varieties through the brewing process to give a rounded, well-balanced floral finish to the beer which has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 5%."

The couple are planning to transport a bar - complete with Ball and Chain hand pump clips featuring images of the couple - from Swindon to Northumberland for the wedding.

People in Swindon will also be able to raise a glass to the couple when the ale hits pubs next week.

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