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Forgotten Lincolnshire ale on sale nationwide after chance discovery

By AlexColman  |  Posted: November 22, 2012

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Bateman's Vintage Ale goes on sale today across the UK after an exploding bottle uncovered a forgotten brew that had lain hidden for over three decades.

The drink is based on a 1976 vintage bottle of Bateman’s BBB which the family run business from Wainfleet, Lincolnshire decided to stop producing 35 years ago.

Now the ale is available exclusively in Aldi stores across the nation from November 22, while stocks last.

At the end of the last bottling run George Bateman, then Managing Director, took the last four cases with the intention of opening them to toast his eldest son Stuart’s twenty-first birthday, four years on.

The bottles were forgotten, and it wasn’t until just over a year ago that the stash of ale came to light, when a bottle exploded of its own accord.

As the head draftsman cleared up the mess and dragged the remaining bottles out from where they had been hidden, Stuart, now in his 50s, discovered the treat his dad had saved for him decades before.

Upon opening one of the bottles, Stuart, who had presumed the contents would be spoiled, was astounded to find the beer clean, bright and brilliantly drinkable.

After sampling, Stuart and Bateman’s Master Brewer decided that the flavour was so great that they wanted to recreate the beer for more than just the family to enjoy.

Over the course of six months, Stuart and the master brewer matched the flavours perfectly using old brew records and multiple tastings.

Stuart Bateman, Managing Director of Bateman’s Brewery said: “When we found the ale I was incredibly touched by the sentiment of my dad all those years ago.

"Looking at the bottles though, I didn’t hold out much hope of anything other than vinegar!

"But once we’d managed to remove the rusty crown cap and poured the ale into a glass I was surprised to see it was clean and clear.

"Sipping it down, the taste was out of this world – it was malty, beery with a wonderful taste of port, brandy, wine and almonds, I would still say it is the best beer I’ve ever tasted."

Tony Baines, MD Buying at Aldi said: “Aldi has had a strong working relationship with Bateman’s for eight years now and when Stuart approached us to sell this ale on an exclusive basis we knew it was something our customers would enjoy.

"The beer is like nothing else on the market with its incredible taste of Christmas - and has a wonderful story behind it too.”

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