A SPECIAL beer has been brewed for this year’s Harwich and Dovercourt Bay Winter Ale Festival.

The festival opens its doors at the Kingsway Hall in Dovercourt town centre next week.

When Paul Mellor, of the Harwich Town Brewing Company, heard that the theme for this year’s festival was to be the 200th anniversary of Harwich’s Saint Nicholas Church he agreed to brew his 7.4 per cent Belgian style Sint Nikolaas especially for the event.

This wonderful beer was first brewed in 2007 and the only other brew was in 2015, so it is a genuine rarity and will delight visitors to the festival, many of whom will be having the opportunity to drink it for the first time.

Paul said: “I was delighted to hear that the festival’s theme was to be the bicentennial of the consecration of Saint Nicholas church and immediately thought of brewing Sint Nikolaas for only the third time.

“It’s a beautiful church and a lovely beer so I hope that visitors to the festival enjoy it.”

Another interesting aspect of the beer is that it will be in a fresh oak cask which means that it will be the first time ever that Sint Nikolaas has been available in an oak conditioned form. It will also be in bottles for visitors to take home.

After the festival Sint Nikolaas will be available in pubs in both cask and bottled versions.

Colin Cheesman, chairman of the festival’s organising committee, said: “It’s always great to have a unique beer at the Harwich Beer Festival and Paul Mellor has certainly provided us with one for this year.

“It will be the first time anyone has tasted an oak conditioned Sint Nikolaas and I’m sure that it will be on everyone’s list to try.

“It’s another great reason to come along to the Harwich Beer Festival”

The festival opens its doors at the Kingsway Hall in Dovercourt town centre on Wednesday, November 16, at 5pm.

It will then continue from 11am to 11pm from Thursday to Saturday, November 17 to 19.