Little did Suffolk brewers, Greene King, know that their beer, Coronation Ale, would be linked with one of the most notable moments of 20th century history when Edward chose to surrender the throne in favour of love and marry American divorcee, Wallis Simpson.
Now the brewery has unearthed the beer that was to have been sold across Britain to commemorate the first-year anniversary of King Edward in 1936.
CatererSearch says the beer lay undiscovered for decades until workman found it in a bricked-up cellar after being called in to replace a floor at the 200-year-old brewery site in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
Head brewer John Bexon, has tried the beer, which is still drinkable and says: “This really would have been a fantastic beer in its day, it was 12 percent when it was brewed so is quite strong and has kept really well.
“The rich fruit flavour still stands out and you can see a clear ring around the top of the beer when you look at it through the glass… rather like you might see on a vintage port or wine.”
The brewery made around 2000 of the beers in preparation for the 1936 coronation, which were discovered among other commemorative beers which did make it to being sold. They included the current queen’s coronation in June 1953 and Audit Ale, which was a barley wine brewed in the 1950s.
The origin of the beer became clear when a faded label was spotted on one bottle.
Beer historians checked records and museum articles and confirmed the corked bottles were of Coronation Ale.
“We’ve brewed beer on the same site in Suffolk for over 200 years and there is a network of cellars under the brewery which means there could be more vintage beers just waiting to be rediscovered,” added Bexon, who has been in the brewing industry for 35 years and at Greene King for 11 years.
– Cynthia Daly