Devon brewer O'Hanlon's has started making and distributing

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Royal Oak, which dates from 1896, is described as "a subtle mix of pale and lightly crystallised malts, whose mouth-filling complexity acts as a base...

Royal Oak, which dates from 1896, is described as "a subtle mix of pale and lightly crystallised malts, whose mouth-filling complexity acts as a base for Northdown, Challenger and Goldings hops, which add higher notes of aroma and bitterness". Before starting brewing, O'Hanlon's obtained as much information as possible about the ingredients used in Royal Oak and the method of production. John O'Hanlon commented: "This was very much a team effort. As news spread, all kinds of people have popped up with help and advice throughout the process of bringing this great classic back to life. We owe them all our thanks, especially George Saxon at Phoenix and Dan Thomasson, the former head brewer at Eldridge Pope whose expert knowledge and enthusiastic collaboration was invaluable. "We are delighted with the result and look forward to putting a smile back on the lips of loyal followers of Royal Oak everywhere." The initial production run will be 20 brewer's barrels per week, he said. There are plans to have a bottled version of Royal Oak ready by mid to late October. O'Hanlon's also announced that it is about to relaunch Thomas Hardy's Ale ­ another former Eldridge Pope brew that is now owned by Phoenix. The first brew of Thomas Hardy's Ale should be completed "November time" and is destined for the USA. At nearly 12% abv, it was Britain's strongest ale and was much sought-after, not only for immediate consumption but also because it continued to improve in its bottled format for up to 25 years. * * * * * Black Panther is the latest seasonal ale from Burnley-based brewer Moorhouse's. The 4.8% abvale is a stronger version of the brewery's famous Black Cat, which was Camra's Champion Beer of Britain in 2000. Black Panther is made from 100% Fuggles hops with a blend of pale, crystallised and chocolate malts to which liquorice is added to give a very chocolatey taste with the extra strength for the winter months. Next month, the brewer will be introducing Volcano ­ a 4.3% pale golden ale, which will bebrewed using equipment dating back to 1888. Again, only Fuggles hops are used together with a blend of ale and crystallised malts. Moorhouse's general manager David Grant said: "We have developed the new beers to enhance our popular range of seasonal ales, which were previously released every two months. Now, we are committed to supplying 12 specials throughout the year, so licensees who take Moorhouse's beers have the opportunity to offer their customers a different and highly distinctive cask ale each month, alongside favourites such as Black Cat." Moorhouse's head brewer Peter Gouldsbrough is developing other special brews for 2004 and announcements about these will be made later this year. However, Grant added that the more popular seasonal ales from this year's programme will be produced next year although the recipes might be tweaked to reduce the abv. Grant explained: "Some of our stronger seasonal ales haven't sold as well as we expected. Most went out at around 5%, but most drinkers seem to want seasonals with an abv no higher than 4.5%." * * * * * Fuller's is targeting the Rugby World Cup in its new marketing campaign for London Pride. The West London brewery and pub operator is running adverts featuring rousing excerpts from Shakespeare's Henry V just before the kick-off and thesecond half of each England game for its 4.1% abv (4.7% abv in bottles) flagship brand. London Pride also sponsors the Rugby World Cup pull-out guide in London's Evening Standard newspaper. The guide, which will also be available in Fuller's pubs, will appear the Tuesday before the tournament starts. Rail travellers will get to try the ale for themselves, with sampling at five major stations on the Friday before an England game and vouchers for free half-pints given out on the concourse. "We want people to see London Pride as London's biggest rugby supporter," said beer and brands director John Roberts. The tournament runs from 10 October until 22 November.

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