Shropshire

Bottle of 140-year-old Arctic Ale beer auctioned

The bottle Image copyright Trevanion and Dean
Image caption The beer was brewed in Burton-upon-Trent and has never been opened

A 140-year-old bottle of beer brewed for an arctic expedition is to be auctioned after being found in garage.

The beer - Allsopp's Arctic Ale - was brewed in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, for an expedition led by Sir George Nares in 1875.

The unopened bottle was discovered in a box in a garage in Gobowen, Shropshire, but auctioneers said it was a mystery as to how it got there.

The bottle is expected to fetch up to £600 when it is auctioned on 13 June.

Auctioneers Trevanion and Dean, in Whitchurch, described it as "very special".

'Sweet tasting'

Aaron Dean, a partner at the auctioneers, said: "The beer was brewed for an expedition to the north pole which, unfortunately, didn't get there.

"It was made to a certain recipe, so it lasted, and it was slightly medicinal.

"It went all the way to Portsmouth and it was loaded on to the ship as cargo, to go out with the HMS Alert and HMS Discovery.

"Unfortunately, the expedition didn't quite make it to the north pole, so it came all the way back again."

Ice cold bitter

  • The 1875 expedition was led by Sir George Nares, a Welsh naval officer
  • Although Nares was able to travel via a waterway between Greenland and Ellesmere Island - now named the Nares Straight - he was not able to reach the North Pole
  • The explorers suffered from scurvy and poor equipment and were forced to retreat

Mr Dean said he was "not sure" how the beer had ended up in the garage.

"It came from the vendor's father but where he got it from, we are still investigating.

"It's a curio, it's a historical object."

He said he had researched what the beer would taste like.

"A similar bottle has been opened previously and was described as 'sweet tasting with a hint of tobacco'," he said.

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