Following a long partnership with the Nicholson’s pub chain, St.Austell has brewed a special Celebration Pale Ale. Here’s the story behind it, how it compares to the original and where you can get it.
Although I’m really into craft beer these days – which tend to be hoppy styles served from a keg – I’m still a sucker for a good old-fashioned cask ale. After all, I grew up drinking (from almost a legal age) Harvey’s Best.
Tribute is one of my all-time favourites (check my current Twitter profile pic) so when St.Austell invited me to come and try this special beer at The Coal Hole, I jumped at the chance.
What’s the story?
Well in simple terms, St.Austell and Nicholson’s pubs are celebrating 5 years of its Pale Ale with a new beer (as you probably gathered from the headline).
It’s a sort of own-brand cask ale which is brewed for the pub chain by St.Austell and one you can guarantee you’ll find in all the Nicholson’s pubs.
The interesting part of the story is that this beer started out as a batch to celebrate an employee’s 45 year service at the brewery. Mervyn like the original pale but wanted to make something a bit more punchy and bold.
It was so good, it became the Celebration Ale, so it’s more than just a 5-year anniversary.
How does it compare to the original?
I’m not entirely sure I’d ever had the Nicholson’s Pale Ale before this week (I haven’t been using Untappd for long enough to check), but it’s a light, smooth and easy going 4% cask ale.
It’s the kind of cask beer that appeals in almost any situation so no wonder 4.6 million pints have been sold.
The Celebration Ale is stronger – 5% for 5 years, of course – and has a darker, richer flavour. It also packs more punch when it comes to hops, while still drinking very smoothly.
I prefer it to the original because there’s more to it, perhaps because I’ve been drinking bigger and bolder beers more recently.
Where can I get it?
The new Celebration Pale is available at all 78 Nicholson’s pubs across the country right now (use the pub finder) and will be available for a ‘limited time’ so go try it while you can.
You can also get hold of the new beer in bottles, which has never been done with any Nicholson’s beer before. Gift sets with two bottles and a glass are available from pubs.
Read next: Imperial Beer Club review.