MOST men add a vintage car or a choice of song as a personal touch to their wedding day, but for Alex Arkell there was only ever going to be one option.
The youngest member of Arkell’s brewing dynasty has ensured 200 guests at his wedding to childhood sweetheart Alice Braithwaite will raise smiles, as well as glasses, with a specially-made brew given the tongue-in-cheek title, Ball And Chain Ale.
Alex will cap a whirlwind 12 months, which included taking on the mantle of head brewer last April, by tying the knot on January 26. He proposed after cooking Alice a three-course meal four months ago and – after she said ‘yes’ – they came up with the name of the ale together, on the grounds that it attracted the most laughs from family and friends.
While Alice has been busy organising the ceremony, which is taking place in her home county of Northumberland, Alex has been at the historic brewery, in Kingsdown, creating the celebratory ale.
The Arkell’s brand will also be represented through a bar which will be transported from Swindon, complete with Ball And Chain hand pump clips featuring images of the couple.
Alice, who opened The Tea Chest in Lechlade last year, has yet to try the ale – which was still being brewed yesterday – but is confident it will be delicious.
The couple, both 27, wanted the new recipe to reflect the key elements of lasting love.
“Beer is brewed from malt, hops, water and yeast,” Alex said. “Most malts are made from barley, much of it good English barley and it’s the base of any real ale. “Hops are the female flowers used primarily for flavouring and stability.
“The yeast is used for fermentation. Marry them together and you have malt and hops for content, stability and flavouring and yeast to rise to the occasion. “I’m hoping Ball And Chain will become fundamental to a truly contented married life for us both.
“I decided to brew a completely original recipe for Ball And Chain, using four varieties of malt, the main ingredient in beer, to produce a distinct grist known as milled malt as its foundation. I added Celeia, Willamette and Columbus hop varieties through the brewing process to give a rounded, well balanced floral finish to the beer which has an ABV of five per cent.”
Swindonians will be able to raise a glass to the couple themselves when the ale hits pubs next week.