Arkell’s Brewery, Wiltshire has revealed the first couple to successfully complete the special Arkell’s 180th Anniversary Ale Trail. Their journey around Arkell’s Cask Marque accredited pubs demonstrates enthusiasm and a love for great beer & great pubs.
The Arkell’s 180th Anniversary Ale Trail, launched earlier this year to commemorate 180 years of brewing, has attracted over 200 followers, not just locally but from a range of places across the nation including Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire. This trail takes beer enthusiasts or pub lovers on an adventure around Arkell’s pubs, bars, and taverns serving a range of Arkell’s brews.
The trail is hosted on Cask Marque’s CaskFinder App. Cask Marque is the independent award for serving great quality cask ale. Their CaskFinder App is free and can be downloaded on a mobile phone. Once downloaded, registering is required, followed by joining the Arkell’s trail. With prize points at 10,20,30,50 and 75 scans, not every pub has to be visited to earn a prize.
However, Peter and Anne Hanscomb, from Swindon, have completed them all! They embarked on this adventure, travelling through Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire. After visiting each of the 83 designated locations on the trail, they have emerged as the first couple to complete the challenge in just three months.
Many participants have a unique reason for taking part, including a trip down memory lane to old haunts, being charmed with the uniqueness of the independent family brewery, following in a parent’s footsteps who have historically completed Arkell’s ale passport in 1983 or 1998, or just taking on a new challenge.
Anne Hanscomb has a different reason and commented “I am training for The Thames Path Ultra Challenge in September so as part of my training plan I attempted to walk to most of the pubs, although I did have to be a little more creative with some of the further ones and drive so far then walk to the pub, and back to the car, but it all helped. Thanks to Arkell’s I even managed to get my husband to join me on some of the training walks as it involved a pint of ale for him!”
As the first couple to conquer the Arkell’s 180th Anniversary Ale Trail, Peter and Anne have claimed a multitude of prizes so far and have now earned a private brewery tour led by Arkell’s master brewer, Alex Arkell, where they will gain insights into the intricate brewing process and have the opportunity to taste some of Arkell’s latest creations before they head to the brewery tap for lunch.
In addition, they are the only ale trailers to be presented with a commemorative certificate to mark their achievement as the first to visit all 83 sites, and George and Alex Arkell met them at the last Arkell’s pub on their trail.
Alex Arkell, sixth-generation of the Arkell family said “We’re really excited about this ale trail. It celebrates so many things; our milestone anniversary, the Great British pub, and interesting, fresh beers, produced by our local steam powered brewery. We want people to venture out of their comfort zone, show support and rediscover the charm of authentic pubs just like The Village Inn.”
Peter expressed “It’s been a real treat rediscovering lovely pubs that have fallen off our radar. I can also say I have really enjoyed rediscovering Arkell’s beers! Arkell’s estate of public houses covers all aspects of the market from outright drinking pubs to great looking country hotels, all of which have their place. Many pubs made myself and my wife feel very welcome despite being complete strangers.”