Arkell’s launches beer to celebrate WWI centenary

By Mike Berry contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Brewing, Beer

Old Contemptible ale from Arkells brewery
Old Contemptible ale from Arkells brewery
Arkell’s has brewed a new commemorative beer for the Royal British Legion as part of the WWI 100th anniversary this year.

The mild-style beer will be called Old Contemptible and will use an old recipe using British ingredients. The brewery is donating £10 per cask sold to the poppy appeal.

Head brewer Alex Arkell, whose great grandfather and great uncle fought in WWI, said: “I have used only English ingredients with a black colour and warm roasted and sweet tones coming from the chocolate malt with a light hop aroma to compliment it.

"At 4% ABV this is considered strong for a mild, however having looked through our records and done some research we noticed that before WWI our mild was stronger.

"Then the Government wanted people to drink less because of their work in the munitions factories so they forced breweries to reduce the alcohol. Hence mild became known as a weaker pint. But we thought we would brew the original version."

'Old Contemptibles'

The name was self-adopted by British troops belonging to the regular army in 1914, it was supposedly derived from a comment made by the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II. The Kaiser, upon hearing that German forces were being held up in France, is said to have exclaimed his exasperation of 'Sir John French's contemptible little army'.

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