New Year, New Beers and Bold New Designs for 2014 Cask Ale Calendar

Posted: 29 January 2014

Blog category: News, Beer

An innovative new cask ale collection, No.18 Yard Brewhouse, and a bold re-design for the established seasonal ale range are just a taste of what’s in store from Britain’s oldest brewer Shepherd Neame’s 2014 cask ale calendar.
The calendar offers a choice of 14 ales throughout the year, including celebration brews and the brewery’s heritage ale brands - a beer for every month of the year and more!
Every beer is brewed with chalk-filtered mineral water from an artesian well deep below the brewery and 95% of the hops used in the cask ales are grown within Kent.
Shepherd Neame marketing manager, Mark Miller comments: “We’ve redefined our seasonal brands to make customer choice clearer at point-of-sale and tempt new drinkers with impactful, dynamic branding.
“The No.18 Yard Brewhouse collection presents the best of our successful brews originally brewed in our pilot brewery and we’ve modernised the seasonal ale branding to better communicate the differing styles of these beers.”

A new range of cask beers is available from No.18 Yard Brewhouse – home to Shepherd Neame’s pilot brewery.
Previously the site of an historic cask store, the pilot brewery was installed in 2007 and has gained a popular following with drinkers seeking diverse, bold and innovative beer.
Each beer is branded with an instantly recognisable sleek, contemporary pump clip.
The first in the series is Dragonfire (4.5% abv). Brewed especially for St Georges Day, is it a fearsome English ale which combines barley, oats, rye and wheat with two English hop varieties (Goldings and First Gold) and a fiery secret ingredient. It will be available during April and May.
The brewery’s established seasonal ale brands – Early Bird, Goldings, Late Red and Amber Ale – have undergone a complete re-design to give the branding a more eye-catching, contemporary look.  A square pump clip featuring bold colours and stylised imagery accentuate their seasonality and provenance, ensuring stand-out at point-of-sale.
Amber Ale (4.5% abv) - the intense orange glow of a fading sun on a winter landscape featuring the majestic Leeds Castle in Kent illustrates the new pump clip of this winter warmer.  With its fruity aroma and full malty palate, it is brewed for the coldest months of the year. (6 January to 2 March).

Early Bird Spring Hop Ale (4.3% abv) - in vibrant green, the new Early Bird branding depicts the Wye Crown on the North Downs Way in full bloom, which along with the fresh floral notes of the beer, signals the arrival of Spring’s warmer days. A pale golden beer. (3 March to 1 June) 

Goldings (4.1% abv) – An image of Kingsgate Bay, near Broadstairs drenched in sunshine yellow adorns the Goldings pump clip evoking the Summer Solstice. Light malty flavours and smoothness make for a refreshing summer ale with notes of fresh-mown grass. (2 June to 30 September)

Late Red Autumn Splendour Hop Ale (4.5% abv) - The russet-hued harvest imagery featuring traditional Kentish Oast Houses on Late Red’s pump clip embodies the Autumn splendour of this full-flavoured, rich and complex ale.  A hugely popular, triple-hopped ale brewed with Cascade and East Kent Goldings hops and then double enhanced with the addition of East Kent Goldings to the copper and Cascade to the cask for racking, it is available in bottles (4.5% abv). (1 September to 31 December)

The calendar is punctuated by three celebration ales:

Samuel Adam’s Blonde Ambition (4.5% abv) is a special brew to celebrate American Independence Day on 4 July. Brewed at the Faversham brewery from a recipe devised in conjunction with the Boston Beer Company, it uses equal measures of US and UK hops. The result is a summer pale ale with a delightful blend of grapefruit notes from the US Cascade hops and grassy earthiness from their Kentish counterparts. (5 May to 3 August)

Queen Court Harvest Ale (4.5% abv) is the Faversham Hop Festival Ale, an annual celebration of the hop harvest held during the first weekend of September. The ale is dry-hopped using fresh, green hops from the present year’s harvest. (18 August to 14 September)
Christmas Ale (5% abv) is a full-bodied warming winter ale, light in colour and characterised by a delicious, fragrant hoppy aroma and palate, which sees out the year.  Also available in bottle (7%), it’s an awesome after-dinner drop and completes the seasonal calendar. (17 November to 31 December)
The following Classic Collection ales, which were revived in 2013 from archived brewery recipes, will feature again in 2014:
Double Stout (4% abv) is a classic stout first brewed in 1868, combining the complex flavours and characteristics of four different roasted malts, traditional roasted barley and generous quantities of flaked oats.  Bittered with the choicest East Kent Hops and delivering a velvety smooth palate of dry, burnt flavours, it is truly a black, creamy masterpiece.  (3 to 30 November)
India Pale Ale (4.5% abv) is a true IPA: full bodied, malty and balanced by a mouth-watering hoppy palate and a glorious fresh, spicy aroma. It is hopped at four stages of the boil, with two varieties of Kentish hops – Fuggles and East Kent Goldings. (3 February to 6 April)
Brilliant Ale (4% abv) is a legendary beer inspired by the vision of the bright early morning sun sending its golden shafts of light through the brewhouse window and onto the oak mash tun. The pale, golden, brilliantly bright ale uses 100% pale malt and is bittered by the choicest East Kent Golding hops. (28 July to 31 August)
Running alongside the ever-changing seasonal calendar, the core range of Shepherd Neame ales includes: flagship beer Spitfire Premium Ale (4.2% abv); Master Brew (3.7% abv); Kent’s Best (4.1% abv); heritage brand Bishops Finger Kentish Strong Ale (5% abv) and Whitstable Bay Pale Ale (3.9% abv).  All will continue to be available throughout the year.

The Cask Ale Calendar can be viewed here.