Chiltern Brewery toasts the Jubilee

I’m thrilled to report that tomorrow I’ll be heading to the hills of Chiltern to launch Chiltern Brewery’s Jubilee Sparkling Ale.

Chiltern Jubilee Sparkling Ale

It’s a real honour for to be among the first to taste this limited edition brew, fashioned by the oldest independent brewery in Bucks and the Chilterns.

Long champions of great local produce, the Jenkinson family has joined the right royal tradition of commemorative ales with a ‘champagne-style’ rich amber ale.

Special occasions have long been marked with special brews, with commemorative beers from iconic brewers such as Bass long being cherished. Whether it’s on a personal scale – broadcaster Marverine Cole, aka Beer Beauty – brewed her own wedding ale last year to mark her nuptuals – or a national level, brewers up and down the country relish the opportunity to have a rummage in the ingredients department to rustle up something special.

Chiltern Family at the Brewery

Tomorrow I’ll be meeting Tom and George Jenkinson, sons of founders Richard and Lesley, so I’ll be able to find out just how they decided what should go into their Jubilee Ale. The crew are all pictured here, with Tom’s wife Charlotte, who runs the dangerously well-stocked brewery shop.

I’m looking forward to seeing the brewery first before heading to their tap, The Farmers Bar at The Kings Head in nearby Aylesbury, for the first taste of said ale.

A right royal tradition

Up and down the country we’re likely to see literally dozens of Jubilee beers, from Adnams in Suffolk with its Diamond Reign – with accompanying tea-towel in fetching purple – to Marston’s in the heartland of British brewing, Burton, with its Pedigree Diamond.

Beer historian Martyn Cornell reckons about a quarter of all British breweries brewed a special beer when Queen Elizabeth came to the throne back in 1953. Royal beer expert Tom Channon anticipates perhaps less bottled brews produced this year than for the Silver Jubilee – something I’m not sure I agree with. His site, lists bottled Silver Jubilee beers from over 60 different breweries, and he plans to have his Diamond Jubilee list live for Jubilee week at the beginning of June.

While Coronation Ales retain their value due partly to the disappearance of the breweries responsible, Tom says that the Jubilee beers likely to command the greatest value will be those limited to small numbers of bottles.

Chiltern Brewery logoBut, as we are always finding out about at, it's not all about value. ‘What I love is the history and stories behind the beers,’ says Tom. ‘I have just been contacted by a chap currently running a pub in Cambridge, who informed me he was the landlord of the The Village Blacksmith, who produced a beer for the Charles and Diana wedding. He was able to tell me about signing the bottles on the day in return for a 50p donation to their local charity.’

I’m looking forward to uncovering Chiltern Brewery’s stories with my visit tomorrow. And I’ll report back swiftly on the taste – after all, with only 1000 bottles available, they’re not likely to last long.

Chiltern Brewery Jubilee Sparkling Ale, 6%, £8.50 +P&P, 75cl, from Chiltern Brewery shop & online