To mark the 40th Anniversary of the last brew of the Black Eagle Brewery in Westerham, the Westerham Brewery has once again brewed a special gyle of ‘Westerham Special Bitter Ale’ “1965”. On the 3rd March 1965 Bill Wickett mashed in 3 barrels of Special Bitter Ale at an original gravity of 1048. This was to be the last brew of the Black Eagle Brewery, bringing to an end nearly 300 years of brewing history. Now 40 years later you can savour the same flavours of the Black Eagle Brewery.

Back in 1959, Bill Wickett must have known that the writing was on the wall for the Black Eagle Brewery. He decided to put the brewery’s ‘crown jewel’, its yeast into safe hands. He deposited the yeast at the National Collection of Yeast Cultures (NCYC) where it remained dormant as a freeze dried sample. 45 years later Robert Wicks contacted the NCYC and sought permission to reculture the yeasts for the new Westerham Brewery. Two strains of the yeast were recultured and tested by Dr. Keith Thomas and his team at the University of Sunderland’s BrewLab. The yeasts were found to be excellent in flavour and fermentation capability. Subsequently, Carlsberg UK gave permission for the Westerham Brewery to reveal the provenance of the yeast as they are usually deposited in confidence at NCYC.

This beer is also brewed using the same greensand aquifer water that was used by the Black Eagle Brewery. With the yeast and the water making up 70% or more of the flavour profile we are proud to have regenerated a product that might otherwise have been lost. The beer is brewed with Maris Otter Pale Ale and Crystal Malts for a round, rich flavour and is hopped with East Kent Goldings for that classic Goldings finish and gentle bitterness.

Westerham Ales were enjoyed throughout West Kent, East Surrey and East Sussex in the 125 pubs owned by the Black Eagle Brewery. They were also frequently served at Chartwell, the country home of Winston Churchill; purchase receipts have been found in the Churchill Archives. Once again you can enjoy Fine Ales from Kent at the many outlets now selling Westerham Brewery beers. They can also be bought at the brewery gate by calling the Brewery on 01959 565837.