24th March 2020

Well listeners. This Swindon in 50 Drinks post No 10: Arkell’s Ales, is something of a milestone. Not because it’s the 10th post in the series. Oh no. Rather, it’s because today is the day after our current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, put the country into a condition that is lockdown in all but name. The reason for that being the pandemic Covid-19 – also known as the coronavirus.

It’s all rather frightening TBH. And of course it’s curtailed my plans to progress this series of the blog – for obvious reasons. But – I happened to have a couple of bottles of Arkell’s in my store. Thus this post – the last for a while.

Me on YouTube with a rather unfortunate stop point!:

About Arkell’s Brewery

If you’ve got a copy of Swindon in 50 Buildings you’ll be familiar with Arkell’s. If you haven’t got a copy – why not? I have some – get in touch. 🙂

The Arkell’s website’s history page has an informative timeline of their history – it’s well worth a look – and a detailed history.

Here’s a small extract:

‘John Arkell was a remarkable man. Born into a farming family in 1802 in Kempsford, South Gloucestershire, he emigrated to the New World in his late twenties and took with him a group of local people who sought a refuge from the tough conditions endured by agricultural folk at that time. It was a brave step.

They arrived in Canada and established the small community of Arkell – which still exists today – but three years later, John returned for love. His fiancée preferred to live in England so he came home to marry and set up home in Stratton St Margaret, near Swindon, where he grew barley on his farm.’

The step from there to brewing beer was an obvious one. At that time, many pubs and even private homes, brewed beer. But John Arkell’s foresight saw the potential for supplying beer to a string of other pubs along with his own, recently-bought Kingsdown pubs.

With immaculate timing, he picked a moment when Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Swindon’s founding father, chose Swindon to site his GWR Works. Thus the once-sleepy market town was already growing into a thriving – and thirsty – industrial heartland.

The Beers – No 10: Arkell’s Ales

It’s clear that Arkell’s have a rather large selection of beer – and I only have two of them. The two that you see in the picture below.

When we’re in better and Covid-19 controlled times once more do visit their grain and grape warehouse: https://www.grapeandgrainwarehouse.co.uk

No 10: Arkell's Ales

The Malthouse Craft Lager

They describe this beer on their website thus:

‘Since its release in 2013 to celebrate our 170th anniversary, our lager, 1843 Craft Lager, has become one of our most popular, award-winning brands. 

This is a classic ‘craft’ lager brewed using pale malt with some wheat added for extra body and mouth feel and traditional lager hops. It is gradually fermented at a much lower temperature and matured for 3 weeks in tank at an even lower temperature to produce a pleasant, light, refreshing beer. 

This year as part of our 175th anniversary and after consulting some of our loyal drinkers we have decided to update its name to Malthouse Craft Lager, named after the old Malthouse that was built here at the brewery by our founder John Arkell in 1877.’

And that’s it for now, for #swindonin50rinks See you on the other side I hope!