A housing association has teamed up with a family-run local craft brewery to make a beer to celebrate its 100th anniversary.
And the beer is being brewed to a style popular among drinkers when Railway Housing Association was established in 1919.
Thanks to sponsorship from one of its suppliers, the Darlington-based Association is producing a limited-edition porter style beer to mark its centenary year in 2019.
The beer, which will be called ‘Vintage Railway Porter’, is currently being brewed by Newton Aycliffe-based ‘Steam Machine Brewing Company’.
Railway Housing Association will take delivery of 500 bottles of the 5.4% ABV beer at the end of May, in time for its signature event of the year in June – an afternoon tea time train experience on board carriages pulled by Tornado steam train on the Wensleydale Railway.
Residents on the train will each be given a souvenir bottle, with the beer also being gifted at other events throughout the year, including the Association’s annual residents’ conference in July.
Berni Whitaker, Chair of the Railway Housing Association Board, visited Steam Machine with Chief Executive Anne Rowlands to see the start of the brewing process.
She said: “When we decided to brew a centenary beer, we were keen to work with a local brewery and Steam Machine is the perfect partner, even down to their name and branding!
“They had some great ideas for the types of beer that would complement our centenary and we were delighted when they suggested the porter because like us, it has a lot of history.
“It’s a beer which can be traced back to the early 19th century when it was popular among river porters in London. It’s popularity then spread, and it would have been drank by people when Railway Association was formed in 1919.
“We’re now looking forward to sharing it with our residents.”
Nick Smith, who runs Steam Machine with his wife Gulen, said: “We’re using traditional methods to brew the beer, but putting our own unique twist on it.
“So, we’re using English yeast and hops, but we’re also adding American hops too, which combined will help to make a very drinkable porter, which will be conditioned in the bottle.
“We were delighted to be asked to be part of Railway’s centenary celebrations and as well as providing the Association with bottles, we’re also planning to put it into kegs so we can supply it to local pubs, meaning the beer will be sampled by even more people.”