Pubs band together to launch celebratory post-lockdown beer

(L-R) Craig McLaren, David Holliday and Bob Cameron who worked together to create the Hare Today exc

(L-R) Craig McLaren, David Holliday and Bob Cameron who worked together to create the Hare Today exclusive beer. Picture: Moon Gazer - Credit: Moon Gazer

Two pubs have pulled together to launch a new beer, marking the hopeful end of a tough time for the hospitality industry.

The Shoulder of Mutton in Strumpshaw and The Wig and Pen in Norwich have clubbed together and tasked independent brewery Moon Gazer to create them an exclusive drink.

Neither pub could afford to commission a new beer for their pub alone but by working in partnership made the shared costs manageable.

“Lockdown was a shock to the system but it also gave us time to reflect on what we offer our customers,” said Bob Cameron, landlord at the Shoulder of Mutton.

“Real ale is a big part of what we do at the pub, and during lockdown I was busy out and about in the surrounding villages doing home delivery, often to pub customers but also to new people who had never visited the pub.

“On one of my delivery runs I thought it would be nice to capture in a beer not just the tastes that people had described to me but also to have an exclusive beer which could put our own stamp on – if you like it was a beer created out of lockdown for the community,” he added.

MORE: ‘We won’t survive’: shops to make formal complaint over ‘disastrous’ car banBy contrast, Craig McLaren at the Wig and Pen had to close completely during the lockdown period with his main customer base, the surrounding offices and courts, all virtually empty.

He said: “By pooling our resources, we were able to approach the team behind Moon Gazer ales, at The Norfolk Brewhouse, and ask them to brew a new recipe just for us, whereas if we were to act individually, we probably wouldn’t have been able to order enough to allow them to do it.

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“Fortunately, David at Moon Gazer loved the idea and set about creating the beer.”

The result is ‘Hare Today’, which the pair hope will serve as a “reminder that pubs are there for you but also that as we have learned they can be taken away”.

“As businesses recover the team hope it will be ‘Hare Today’ and forever and not gone tomorrow as happened in lockdown,” they added.

Hare Today is a golden amber ale using Norfolk Maris Otter as well as French and British hops with a zest fruity finish.

It will be available from both pubs from August 21.