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Maldon gets its own ale

PUBLISHED: 05:35 18 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:12 24 February 2010

Maldon is a town rich in history and culture.

From the famous battle of 991 between the Danes and Saxons to the current vogue for its sea salt, the town is used to being talked about.

Maldon is a town rich in history and culture.

From the famous battle of 991 between the Danes and Saxons to the current vogue for its sea salt, the town is used to being talked about.

However, a local brewery has caused a stir by releasing the first real ale designed specially for the town.

Pub regulars in the area can now enjoy the taste of Maldon Gold, which seems to be a hit with the town's drinkers.

The Mighty Oak Brewing Company which is based on Spital Road, introduced the ale to usher in a new era of beer drinking.

Managing Director, John Boyce, explained: "The company has been here for two years now and we wanted something to project the image of the town.

"The beer was really introduced because we felt there was a gap in the market. I think it offers both strength and style."

Naturally, the real test was to question the people of Maldon – and the overall picture seems to be positive.

Alan Smith, 57, had just returned from a holiday in the Caribbean and welcomed a pint.

He said: "This is better than what I've been drinking in Antigua. I'm an ale drinker anyway and I don't dislike the taste at all."

Butcher Russell Dann, 52, stopped work for a few minutes to test the beer.

He said: "That compares quite well to what I've been drinking in Maldon recently. It's has a good taste."

The first beer specifically designed for the town is yet another significant landmark for Maldon.

Most recently, celebrity chef Delia Smith caused a surge of demand for local sea salt, following a recommendation during one of her television programmes.

According to experts, the milder Maldon salt leaves less bitterness in the mouth, hence its rising popularity.

Delia's influence was so great that the Maldon Crystal Salt Company now sends shipments to Japan and all over the country.

The maritime element in the town is strong and visitors often head off to view the impressive Thames Barges at Hythe Quay.

The giant, sailed vessels were formerly used as essential modes of transport, carrying goods to London and the east coast, but are now leisure craft.

This is not to mention the annual mud race, which is contested by dozens of fearless competitors in January.

Entrants dash and wade across the river Blackwater to cock a snook at the chilly depths of Winter.

Maldon's status today as a small town betrays its important past, as it was previously a key trading centre for the whole of Essex.

It is perhaps most famous for the Danish victory at the Battle of Maldon in 991, which was recorded in a famous Anglo-Saxon poem now regarded as one of the finest examples of early English literature.

So now, the regulars at the Queen's Head or Warwick Arms will be able to discuss Maldon's many charms over a pint or two – of their own town's ale.

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