25/08/09 Radio Cambridge interview with Mike Lane (Peterborough Beer Festival) and Duncan (Castor Ales brewer)
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The story behind Old Scarlett - see the video
Local brewer and local historian team up to resurrect a City legend.
Local brewer Duncan Vessey of Castor Ales and Brian Gascoyne, local historian and landlord of the recently opened Crown Inn in Lincoln Road have teamed up to commemorate a 16th century Peterborough legend: Old Scarlett. Brian suggested to Duncan that the Old Scarlett legend needs to have a higher profile in the city, and that it would be fitting to have a local beer named after him. So Duncan has produced a new beer from Castor Ales named Old Scarlett, which will be launched at the Crown at 2pm, Friday 21st january 2011, and in the presence of the The very reverend Charles Taylor Dean of the Cathedral. The pump clip for the beer has been reproduced by John Elson, the ET cartoonist, from a portrait in the cathedral.
Robert Scarlett, Sexton of St John’s
Church, Peterborough, died on July 2, 1591. As Sexton, he swept the
churchyard, rang the bell and buried the dead of the Parish. He also
dug graves for other churches in and around the city and when he died
at the remarkable age of 98; he had buried two generations of the population
of the city, which would have been about 1,500 at that time.
Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII whom he divorced died in 1535 at Kimbolton Castle. She was buried in Peterborough Cathedral where she still lays to this day and her burial is commemorated in the city later this month. 52 years later, he buried Mary Queen of Scots who was executed by beheading at Fotheringhay Castle near Oundle in 1587. Her body was later exhumed and re-buried in Westminster Abbey when her son James I of England (or James VI of Scotland) became King.
Old Scarlett is reputed to have befriended the son of the Dean of Peterborough Cathedral and who took him to The Tavern in London where he met William Shakespeare who it is said later modelled the famous gravedigger in “Hamlet” on him. “Alas poor Yorick,,,,”
In commemoration of this remarkable son
of Peterborough, Castor Ales is proud to produce an ale bearing his
name and launch it in the month of the 476th anniversary of the burial
of his first Queen, Catherine of Aragon.
Castor Ales has been brewing since August 2009, and supplies regularly to the Prince of Wales Feathers in Castor, the Ostrich in North Street, the Beehive, Albert Place and the Plough in Werrington, and other free houses in the area, and many beer festivals. Other beers include Roman Gold, Edmund Tyrell Artis, Castor Oil, Castor Clout and Castor and Pollux.
Contact: Duncan Vessey, Castor Ales
24 August 2009
Castor Ales, Peterborough’s newest brewery delivered its ale to the beer festival on Saturday only weeks after completing the brewery.
A chance phone call to Simon Raines at Ufford Ales in the spring led to a sequence of events that resulted in the city having another brewery producing craft ale. Castor Ales’ Duncan Vessey said: ‘ I rang Simon to ask if could watch him brew because I was interested in setting up a brewery, and he said yes, and added do you want to buy the brewery?’
Ufford Ales have increased the capacity of their operation because of the popularity of their craft produced ales, and the Ufford based brewery was more than happy to help Duncan set up the brewery in Castor.
Simon and Duncan’s target was to give Castor Ales the best start possible by producing real ale for the Peterborough Beer Festival, the biggest regional festival in the country and the local CAMRA branch that organises the festival openly encourages new breweries.
It seemed an impossible task when the brewery was still a building site 6 weeks ago! But local builder Maffit Construction completed the building works with a few days to spare.
Maffit’s Martin Humphries said: ‘ We were given a tight schedule and we got to the stage where brewing could commence, and everyone involved is looking forward to tasting the results at the beer festival’
Simon, who helped Duncan fit out the brewery and lent a big hand during the brewing process said: 'Duncan has a passion for real ale, and I have been pleased to help him set up and hopefully the result will be welcomed by the real ales drinkers at the beer festival’.
The community of Castor and Ailsworth has welcomed Castor Ales and many people have offered their support and assistance.
Landlord of the Prince of Wales in Castor Simon Fitch said: ‘ We’re really excited to have a brewery in the village and we look forward to serving beer from Castor Ales’
Castor Ales has produced two beers: Roman Gold a 3.7% golden ale, and Serene Nene, a 4.5% best bitter, and both will be available at the Peterborough Beer Festival.
"Castor Ales" is a new brewery dedicating itself to the production of fine quality real ales. The brewery is located in the village of Castor, on the outskirts of Peterborough. Castor was the location of an important Roman settlement and the Roman palace (c. 250 AD) was the second largest Roman building in Britain. The area was a Roman industrial site where pottery known as 'Castor Ware' was produced.
These days the village is a thriving community with two good pubs and one good restaurant. It has an active community with interconnecting businesses that reach out to Peterborough and beyond.
Castor Ales Brewery supports the local economy and provides beer with a minimum of food miles and low carbon footprint. It does not sell beer through supermarkets but to local independent retailers.
Contact: Duncan Vessey, Castor Ales: 07828048664