March 2023

While I’m keen not to make this Swindon in 50 Drinks blog series too beer heavy, I couldn’t not cover this Volya Ukrainian inspired beer. For obvious enough reasons.

Volya Ukrainian Inspired Beer
Volya Ukrainian Inspired Beer – Budmo!

The beer came about from a collaboration between local support group, Swindon Welcomes Ukraine and local brewery the Hop Kettle.

Swindon Welcomes Ukraine formed to support Ukrainians, displaced by the war and arriving in Swindon. Their partnership with Hop Kettle aimed to produce a new, Ukrainian-inspired beer to raise funds for their projects and for the Ukrainian aid charities they support.

The first brew launched at a first pour event at the Tap & Brew in Old Town. The event raised £1045 with more to come as the beer continues to sell.

Called Volya, meaning freedom, and whose letters appear on Ukraine’s flag, trident symbol, the beer has a serious purpose. That being to keep Swindon Welcomes Ukraine uppermost in people’s minds for the bigger picture. The current goal of SWU is to help find more hosts for Ukrainians as there’s now a national shortage.

Volya Tasting notes

The Volya Pale Ale takes its inspiration from Ukrainian agriculture and cuisine. It’s brewed with a combination of cereal grains that includes malted barely, wheat and rye. The brewers then conditioned the beer on sunflower seeds and infused it with honey.

A complex malt character provides the beer’s foundation. Then there’s bready sweetness and rye spice alongside a toasty nuttiness enhanced by sunflower seeds. A light dry hop adds hints of lemony citrus and pine, along with a light bitterness. All to balance out the sweet and floral honey flavours.

Andrew Fisher from the Hop Kettle said, ‘we wanted to do our bit to help Swindon’s growing Ukrainian community feel welcome. And our small microbrewery at the back of the Tap & Brew in Old Town was perfect for this first small batch brew.

That batch went down so well – literally – that Hop Kettle Brew are now transferring production to their main brewery in Cheney Manor.

Priceless – almost

What you see below is surely a contender for the most expensive can of beer ever in the history of beer production. The reason? Rod Hebden was at the launch event for the beer and he won, some cans (and glass!) in the auction for an eye-watering sum. Or should that be be mouth watering?!

The can in the picture below is one of only eight that left the building via auction prices. And that makes it more valuable than the Brinks-Matt gold!

Given all that I’m not sure I should be drinking it? But I am. And jolly pleasant it is too. While I mostly drink wine I do like a beer from time to time. And this is delicious and refreshing.

At 4.8% vol it’s not too strong. So depending on your capacity for beer, you can enjoy a couple or so before being one over the eight.

Volya Ukrainian Inspired Beer

So all that’s left for me to say is: Slava Ukraini!

Ukrainian colours

For another charity beer collaboration see this post about the Phoenix Rising Pale Ale:

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