Local brew on tap in corridors of power

Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue pouring a pint of Hophurst Brewery pale ale Flaxen at the Stranger's Bar in the House of Commons
Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue pouring a pint of Hophurst Brewery pale ale Flaxen at the Stranger's Bar in the House of Commons

A WIGAN brewery raised a pint in the House of Commons after making it to the corridors of powers with the help of its local MP.

Hophurst Brewery’s pale ale Flaxen is the current guest beer on the Strangers’ Bar in the Houses of Parliament after being selected by Makerfield parliamentary representative Yvonne Fovargue.

The Hindley-based brewery, which is also a social enterprise aimed at getting unemployed older Wiganers back into the workplace, has been supported by Ms Fovargue since she visited its premises shortly after opening.

However, Hophurst then faced a long wait to see when 3.7 per cent ale Flaxen would end up in the Strangers’ Bar as there is around a year-long waiting list of ales nominated by MPs.

The beer was finally chosen to be offered to the country’s decision-makers for the week beginning Monday November 9 and Hophurst owner and head brewer Stuart Hurst travelled down to London to oversee the installation and raise a glass.

He said: “We were delighted that Flaxen was selected for the Strangers’ Bar and grateful to Yvonne and the team at the bar for making it happen.

“We’re very proud of our beers and this was a great opportunity to spread the word about them beyond our usual area of trading.

“We’d love to think that a pint of Flaxen may have inspired some of our politicians to dream up ground-breaking new policies, but we are nonetheless delighted that so many MPs enjoyed drinking it.”

Having Flaxen in the House of Commons bar represents a real milestone for Hophurst, which has only been in operation for around 12 months but has already developed a range of six ales and supplies pubs throughout Wigan and the North West.

Flaxen was chosen for the Strangers’ Bar thanks to a scheme run by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, of which Ms Fovargue is a member, and the Society of Independent Brewers (Siba).

The beer, which Mr Hurst describes as a refreshing pale ale with an earthy aroma of hops and hints of honey, will now be the guest ale for around a week and has so far proved a hit with MPs.

Ms Fovargue said: “It has been a pleasure to bring this fine beer from my constituency to Westminster and introduce my colleagues in Westminster to a taste of Wigan.

“Stuart Hurst is a real asset to our constituency, brewing wonderful craft beers from Hophurst Brewery’s Hindley base, providing jobs for local people and supporting other businesses including the pubs that are at the heart of our local communities.”