Belfast Telegraph

Walled City Brewery resurrects beer from Siege of Derry

By Leona O'Neill

A Londonderry brewery has brought back to life a beer dating to the siege of the city more than 300 years ago, giving tipplers a taste of history.

The recipe for '1689' was originally found in the home of siege governor George Walker by an angry mob.

At the time it was considered an elixir, a miracle beer, and used to treat all manner of ailments.

The ale is being resurrected by the Walled City Brewery.

Head brewer James Huey says he is excited about how it will go down among drinkers in the 21st century.

"We really wanted to make a connection between the city and the brewery," he said.

"I spent a lot of time in the library looking up archives to see if there was a brewing or distilling heritage. But I landed on, just by pure chance, an account of the Siege of Derry in July 1689.

"I read that the inhabitants of the city were at the end of their tether and an angry mob decided to get together and search Governor Walker's quarters.

"Within the quarters they found accounts of beer, bread and mumm. Governor Walker wasn't meant to be hoarding anything. Plus he was an Anglican minister so he wasn't meant to be drinking alcohol. It was quite a pivotal moment in the siege.

"So the mumm that the mob found was a very ancient beer style that I had never come across, I started researching this mumm beer and as it turns out it was a very popular beer in the 15th and 16th century, but it vanished in the 17th century. It was very much seen as an elixir or a tonic. So Governor Walker would have been drinking this and all the historical accounts say that it was used to treat ailments such as lingering distemper and toothache. It was like a miracle beer.

"It is a very unusual beer, which is why it has taken me three or four years to develop."

Mr Huey said it is very strong - 11%, whereas most beers are 4-6% - and infused with herbs and spices.

He added: "The third thing was that it was put in a whiskey barrel for two years with 10 uncracked eggs, which is just bizarre. Those things together produce a very unusual style of beer."

The drink will be launched on October 7. For more details see www.walledcitybrewery.com

Belfast Telegraph

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