We are delighted to be finally helping a local Shantymen group to celebrate its 30th anniversary by brewing a special ale for them – appropriately named Shipmates.
Well, to be fair we first brewed this ale in March 2020 but a certain pandemic stopped its in its tracks. That said it formed the foundation for our Hare Today which we brew exclusively for the Wig and Pen and Shoulder of Mutton. However, now the shantymen are back out and singing we have released some of the brew under its original Shipmates label as it was originally intended.
The Sheringham based group actually first sang together in 1988 when a group of lifeboat men and friends formed a shanty singing group to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the private sailing and pulling of Sheringham lifeboat the ‘Augusta’. The guys loved the experience and kept singing and supporting the RNLI as they did, becoming formally known as the Sheringham Shantymen in 1990.
To this day they are the only Shantymen to carry the RNLI logo within their emblem and over the years have raised many thousands of pounds for the RNLI charity and performed more than 1,000 concerts.
In doing so they have also helped keep the shanty singing tradition alive which suggests that they enjoy the social aspect of singing including sharing a drink – which is where the idea of brewing a celebratory ale came about.
Being based in North Norfolk our paths have often crossed with the Sheringham Shantymen at various events, and we have always loved the way that they embrace the nautical tradition portrayed in Shanty songs but also engage the audiences in this age-old tradition.
Shanty is very much part of north Norfolk life and also with such a long coastline the Lifesaving role of the RNLI is crucial to our county. We felt that if we could help people celebrate the work of both by raising a glass then that would help.
As an added twist 16 of the Shantymen popped along to Moon Gazer barn on the original brew day in 2020 to sing the beer along its journey and to wish it luck.
The Sheringham Shantymen hope that the beer, which will be sold in pubs across Norfolk will raise awareness of the old traditions but give enormous pleasure to all who imbibe. The sailors of the 17th and 18th centuries relied on beer to quench their thirst. ‘Water’ did not travel so the ‘shanty ‘song gave the beat to the work of hauling the anchor turning the capstan but it was the beer that kept them going.
This beer is a light amber ale, which uses British and French hops to give a light fruity citrus flavour. The French hops were used as many people think that the word Shanty derives from the French word Chanter meaning to sing. It used Maris Otter barley which itself is known the world over for growing along the North Norfolk coast as it thrives with the sea fret – so again seemed appropriate.