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7th May 2013


Britain’s oldest brewer Shepherd Neame has launched Brilliant Ale (5.6% abv), a bright golden ale from the Classic Collection, inspired by an original mid-19th century recipe unearthed in the Faversham brewery’s archives.


 Now available for the modern-day drinker to savour, Brilliant Ale follows hot on the heels of Double Stout and India Pale Ale, the first two beers from the Classic Collection released in October 2012.  The original Brilliant Ale pre-dates Double Stout and India Pale Ale, brewed in 1868 and 1870 respectively, by several decades.


 Brewery folklore has it that the bright golden straw-coloured hue of Brilliant Ale was inspired by the vision of the early morning sun sending its golden shafts of light through the brewhouse window.  Historically this recipe was formulated with 100% pale malt and was bittered by the brewery’s signature East Kent Goldings hops, resulting in a golden, brilliantly bright, hoppy ale.


 Says head brewer Richard Frost, “According to brewery records, Brilliant Ale was first brewed sometime between 1825 and 1855, making it our oldest Classic Collection beer to date. Although we’ve rejuvenated it by using the modern hop variety Cascade, we’re staying true to the spirit of this great pale ale, which was hugely popular in its day.



“We’re very proud to be able to revitalise unique brews like Brilliant from bygone days to share with today’s beer drinkers. We’ll leave it to them to judge whether the brilliance of its colour is matched by its taste!”




In keeping with its historic credentials, Brilliant Ale is presented in a traditional amber glass bottle embellished with the brewery’s 19th century logo on the label, neck and crown.




The historic labels which inspired the new design and a Brilliant Ale poster printed on sugar paper, which is thought to be the brewery’s oldest surviving advertisement, are on display in the brewery.  For more information on brewery tours




Brilliant Ale is available in 500ml bottles from all good stockists and online










Shepherd Neame is not responsible for the content on third party websites




For further information please call:


John Humphreys, Shepherd Neame Communications Manager


Tel: 01795 542263 or email


or visit