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Commemorative ale created by south Norfolk micro-brewery blends hops from countries involved in First World War

Arnth Engel who runs his micro brewery: Opa Hays Brewery.
He has made a special strong ale called 1914 to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War.

Picture: James Bass

Arnth Engel who runs his micro brewery: Opa Hays Brewery. He has made a special strong ale called 1914 to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War. Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2014

As the nation marks the centenary of the start of the First World War, the owner of a south Norfolk micro-brewery has created his own commemorative ale using 12 different hops from nations involved in the conflict.

Arnth Engel who runs his micro brewery: Opa Hays Brewery.
He has made a special strong ale called 1914 to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War.

Picture: James BassArnth Engel who runs his micro brewery: Opa Hays Brewery. He has made a special strong ale called 1914 to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War. Picture: James Bass

Arnth Engel, a consultant anaesthetist who was born and raised in Germany, runs the micro-brewery from his home in Aldeby, near Beccles, and wanted to show that hops from all over the world could work together in harmony in a bottle.

The 1914 ale, which includes hops from England, Germany, Poland, France and America, is a dark copper colour and is 7.8pc in strength.

The 49-year-old, who runs Opa Hay’s Brewery as a hobby with his wife, Gina, and 15-year-old son Samuel, started the brewery in November 2008, and named it after his great-grandfather – Opa Heinrich Hay – who was a master brewer in Germany in the early 1900s.

Mr Engel said: “I thought it was a good idea to make a special ale to commemorate this special date.

“For a long time I didn’t know how complicated I wanted to make it. I thought about using barley grown from the battlefields but that was too complicated so I decided to use as many hops as I could get from the countries involved in the war.

“I wanted to show that the hops could work together in the bottle in harmony and create something very smooth.”

Mr Engel, who works at the James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, ordered the hops online and used bottles made in Italy and yeast from America.

The beer will now be on sale at Beccles and Loddon farmers’ markets, at Reno Wine in Wymondham and will be available on draft at the Plasterers Arms in Norwich.

He said: “It is quite a strong beer but I wanted it to have a good shelf life. I have used a clip-top bottle so people can open it and drink it over a few days.”

The label, which was designed by Mr Engel, shows two wounded soldiers, one German and one English, sharing a cigarette.

He said: “I thought it was a good symbol of reconciliation.

“I’m really pleased with how it has turned out and I think it will appeal to people who like special ales and those with an interest in history.”

Mr Engel was born in Eckernforde in 1964. He first started experimenting with home brewing in 1982 when he was a medical student in Germany. It was at the same time when home brewing was first legalised in the country.

However he had always harboured a desire to brew on a much larger scale, and opening the brewery was a life-long ambition.

He said: “When I was doing home brewing during my medical studies I had the idea that I wanted to give up medicine and become a brewer.

“I went to work in a small brewery for work experience for a few weeks in the summer holidays, but I decided to continue with medicine.

“I was looking at the classified ads in the Society of Independent Brewers and I saw a whole brewing set for the price of a second hand car so I thought ‘that’s affordable’.

The 1914 ale costs £7.95 for 1,000ml. For more information visit www.engelfineales.com

Are you doing something different to commemorate the First World War? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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