Cheers! Real ale lover creates charity beer

BEER TIME: Penny Wilby with brewer Tom Norton and their latest batch of Lady's Smock beer.
BEER TIME: Penny Wilby with brewer Tom Norton and their latest batch of Lady's Smock beer.

Boxford mum Penny Wilby is making a stir in the world of beer brewing – by recreating an ale that proved a hit with drinkers.

Thirty-nine-year-old Penny, from Holbrook Barn Road, has brewed some more of her pale ale called Lady Smock at the Mill Green Brewery in Edwardstone, with help from head brewer Tom Norton.

When she made the beer last year, it sold out within weeks of going on sale at village pubs. Thanks to its popularity, Penny is once again raising money for charity.

She was inspired to brew the ale because she loves real ale herself and, hundreds of years ago, it was the woman’s job to brew beer in the household – they were called alewives – and she fancied doing that job herself.

Her inspiration comes from a friend who endured breast cancer treatment and Penny decided running a marathon was not for her – but beer brewing was a way she could do something to help.

She said: “Our beer did sell well last year. We sold 70 odd pints on its first night of being on sale and the rest seemed to go pretty quickly – way faster than I imagined.

“Last year’s fundraising was a great success – at least I thought so. The beer raised £420, a silent auction of the original artwork used on the pump clip and bottles, by artist Paul Evans, raised £1,250, and my sing-along evening at the Thatcher’s Arms raised £582, which was amazing.

“I had a figure of about £2,000 as my target and with Gift Aid it totalled £2,370.”

She added: “Tom and I have brewed more Lady’s Smock with 15 pence per pint being donated to a breast cancer charity.

“I hope to raise £500 from that and I am going to organise a sing along Grease night in March or April.”

Penny’s brew will be available at the White Horse and the Thatchers Arms in Mount Bures from February 7.