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Unleash the Vulcans!

By thirsty hack Ignatius Rake

Posted November 15, 2013
the xh588
Chocks away! The XH558 takes to the skies. © Damien Burke

Vulcan to the Sky Trust scrambles new fund-raising beer in honour of last flying Vulcan bomber.

The Vulcan to the Sky Trust and the Cooper and Griffin Real Ale House and Wine Bar in Bawtry, South Yorkshire have jointly unveiled a new 3.8% beer1 that celebrates XH558, the last flying Avro Vulcan V bomber.

You know, those big bastard jet planes us Brits built to drop atom bombs on the commies back in the 50s but never quite got around to doing.


Although we did use one to drop a few conventional bombs on the Falklands (with admittedly rather mixed results).

Anyway, surprisingly enough named XH558 Vulcan Bomber Beer and brewed by Nottingham's Castle Rock Brewery, the beer, which we here at the Rake & Herald have sadly yet to taste, made its début at the Bawtry Revival Festival in August and is now set for distribution to vendors across the country.

Furthermore, a press release states, the beer "will be the first of a small range of exciting ales from which a portion of the proceeds will go towards funding the aircraft maintenance and operation".

pump clip
Identify your target: The new beer's pump clip yesterday. © The Cooper and Griffin Beer Company probably

"The Avro Vulcan is a symbol of lasting British spirit and power so we wanted an outstanding and thoroughly British beer with a powerful, traditional character that will appeal to the traditional and patriotic real ale fans out there," says Vulcan to the Sky Trust's CEO Dr Robert Pleming.

"We had a fantastic reception at the festival, where enthusiasts were treated to the new beer as well as a flypast of the aircraft."

"Demand was so great that the taps ran dry on the first night."

"We hope that the British public will be equally impressed by its distinctive flavour when it becomes available nationwide."

According to the press release, "an independent beer expert, who tried XH558 Bomber Beer at the premier", described it as "a deep, rich, clear dark brown ale (reminiscent of a traditional mild) with a wonderful chocolaty aroma".

Apparently, this "complex" ale "offers at least three distinct changes of flavour as the first few sips were taken with an initial smoky flavour which quickly transformed to a wonderful chocolate malty taste, followed by the hops punching through to give a tang of rich lager".

"At 3.8% abv," the unnamed expert states, "the ale accomplished both the flavours of a truly full-bodied dark ale and [has] the quaffability of good old session beer which I am looking forward to sampling again."

XH558 Bomber Beer will be available in 72-pint casks, nine-pint kegs or individual bottles.

While the kegs (I think they mean the casks) are available now and will be distributed on a local basis at £78 plus VAT, the bottled version as well as presentation packs consisting of three beers will become available as of November 29 through the Cooper and Griffin Beer Company, itself headquartered closed to the XH558's hanger in Doncaster, which kinda explains the link, doesn't it?

The beer, so the press release continues, has a suggested retail price of £3.75 a pint and £2.75 a bottle, which is why I think they meant the casks not the kegs in the previous sentence.

Hey, typos happen.

Regardless, the Vulcan to the Sky Trust hopes that the new beer "will appeal to the fans of the aircraft as well as real ale enthusiasts, making the beer an appealing option for distributers and vendors".

Indeed, the press release reveals, it has already become the best selling beer at the Cooper and Griffin pub.

"We are delighted to be associated with the amazing Vulcan Bomber and its team," says Jason Cooper, one of the pub's co-owners.

"We believe that we have a great beer that is worthy of the Vulcan Bomber itself and look forward to working closely with the trust in the future."

Licensees, distributors and other outlets can order XH558 Bomber Beer or request further information via email here.

The rest of us will just have to wait till it hits the streets.

In the meantime, to find out more about the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, where to see XH558 fly this year and to book a tour if that so takes your fancy, have a click of this.

So, anyone fancy getting bombed on Vulcan, then?

We bloody do.

Let's just hope it's got a nuclear payload.


1) It says 4% on the picture of the pump clip they sent us, mind.

vulcans are go!

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