HRH The Duchess of Cornwall visits Swindon to brew beer

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall paid a visit to Arkell’s Brewery in Wiltshire yesterday where she helped to brew a special beer to commemorate the brewery’s 175th anniversary.

Arkell’s got the royal seal of approval.

The Duchess of Cornwall visited the brewery in Swindon on 30 January to help brew a new ale named in her honour.

She joked: “I’m only here for the beer!”

During her visit, The Duchess helped to ‘swing the valentine’ – a large copper arm that helps to control the flow of the wort from the mash into the underback.

It is believed the brewery is one of only two in the country that still use a ‘swinging valentine’ and it still remains “an essential part of the brewing process”.

The Duchess also unveiled a plaque to announce the official opening of the brewery’s new shop and heritage centre, called The Grape and Grain.

The Duchess Ale was made using barley variety Plumage Archer grown on Prince Charles’ Highgrove Estate.

The brewery stated that it was the first time they have used this particular variety of barley, and they balanced the “dark malty base” using tropical, fruit hops from America.

The 4.2% ABV limited edition brew will go on sale at The Grape and Grain from the second week of February, priced at £1.90 a bottle.

Although she will have to wait to sample the beer, The Duchess was able to try Arkell’s Bees Organic Ale, made with organic honey.

During her visit, she remarked: “It’s so nice to visit a family business. You don’t get many of them these days.”

Arkell’s Chairman James Arkell, said: “We were thrilled to welcome The Duchess, who met our family, many of our staff, shareholders and members of the local community. She toured the brewery and helped ‘swing the valentine’.”

Arkell’s was established in 1843 as an offshoot to the family farm near Swindon. The Arkell family still work at the brewery today and help to manage almost 100 pubs across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire that are owned by the brewer.

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