VIDEO: Twin towns unite over a good pint
Beer fans on both sides of the Channel are raising glasses of two very special ales to mark a major anniversary of Wigan's twin town scheme.
Wigan Brewhouse and the Brasserie Angevine in Angers have teamed up to create beers in both towns to mark 30 years of the link between them.
Head brewer Benoit Durand came to the borough last week to help the chief ale creator at the Clarence Yard facility Jonathan Provost come up with session beer Twin Town.
That followed Jonathan’s jaunt to the Loire Valley earlier this year where the two firms brewed a craft-style ale called GVA.
Wigan Brewhouse founder Martin Blythe said he was delighted that his firm, which has only been brewing for a few months inside the old building off
Wallgate formerly occupied by AllGates, was able to get involved in such a prestigious occasion.
Mr Blythe said: “It’s fantastic to have this opportunity to brew the beer for the twinning. It’s quite an honour for our brewery and we’re made up.
“We’ve been showing Benoit what Wigan is all about and he took Jonathan round the local beers and sights.
“We’re two quite different operations: we’re in this old tower with all the different levels and the Angers brewery is quite modern.
“We also brew traditional English ales whereas the Brasserie Angevine makes kegged beer. The GVA, for example, is a New England style IPA.
“We’re all really pleased and we would like to keep this link going with the brewery in Angers in the future. It would be nice to think we could maybe get together an produce a collaborative beer on an annual basis.”
Twin Town is a 4.2 per cent pale ale made with American hops and Benoit will return once it is ready in a few weeks for an official unveiling event.
It is also hoped to serve the beer at The Old Courts when French band Despres come over as part of a music twinning project.
The team will be hoping the brew goes down as well as the 6.8 per cent GVA did with French drinkers.
Unfortunately at the moment the shelf life of traditional British cask ale means it is impossible to take Twin Town out to Angers for sampling, with any selling of Wigan Brewhouse products in France having to wait until the beers are offered in bottles.
Also delighted with the success of the beer twinning project is Martin Pouvreau, the ambassador from Angers.
He said: “It’s really great this is happening. In Angers we did this last year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of our twinning with Pisa in Italy so we thought it would be a really good idea to do it again to mark 30 years of links with Wigan. The beer made in France in May was a real success and hopefully people will like this one too."