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Newbury Weekly News brews own beer to mark 150 years

Special ale will be on sale in February to coincide with landmark milestone

Dan Cooper

Dan Cooper


01635 886632

Newbury Weekly News brews own beer to mark 150 years

N February 1867, Walter Blacket and Thomas Whieldon Turner founded the Newbury Weekly News from a stationers shop at 34 Northbrook Street.

Today, the paper is still going strong and February 2017 will mark its 150 years.

To celebrate the anniversary, the Newbury Weekly News has teamed up with West Berkshire Brewery to brew its very own beer in what is believed to be an industry first.

Earlier this month, NWN chief executive James Gurney and editor Andy Murrill were invited along to Yattendon to see how the beer was made.

Head brewer Will Twomey explained how the NWN beer would go on its journey from barley to bottle.

First there was the grain, which had been malted and put into huge bags.

There are various types of malted barley, which are responsible for giving beers their different individual colours and flavours.

The NWN beer will feature a mixture of pale Maris Otter Barley, crystal malt, chocolate malt, and roasted barley to give it a bitter, smooth and fruity taste.

The malted barley is then loaded into grist where it is mixed with hot liquor to produce what is called the ‘mash’.

During the ‘mash’, all starch is converted into fermentable sugar, which releases the flavour and nutrient from the grain.

Then, after roughly an hour, the sweet-tasting wort is put into a huge steel brewing kettle.

Once the kettle is full, it is left to boil for an hour and at the start of the boil the hops are added.

After an hour of boiling, it then needs to be cooled through a heat exchanger.

Following that, it is cooled down to 18 degrees celsius and after 12 hours, it begins to ferment to become a beer.

The primary fermentation takes three days and after that time the beer is cooled down to eight degrees to clarify and remove the yeast.

After a week it is ready to be racked in casks and put into barrels.

It is then left for an extra week to carbonate, then it’s good to go out to pubs and shops across the country.

The NWN beer, which will feature the names of Mr Blacket and Mr Turner, will be on sale from February.

Mr Blacket was born in Newbury in 1842, the oldest of the three sons of James Blacket, who had moved to Newbury to take over an ailing stationery business.

Within three years, Walter was in sole charge of the business, and keen to start a local newspaper.

Walter sought an editor for his new venture and found Thomas Whieldon Turner, a former printing apprentice at Blacket’s, who had become a reporter on the Cheltenham Examiner.

TW Turner returned to Newbury and on February 7, 1867, the Newbury Weekly News was launched to an expectant public.

Cheers. And here’s to another 150 years.

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