Bowness Bay releases Braille Ale for the visually impaired

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The Lake District’s Bowness Bay Brewing has launched Braille Ale, aimed at blind and visually impaired drinkers.

This is Bowness Bay’s first wheat beer, brewed as the Festival Beer for the 20th Westmorland Beer & Cider Festival (Camra), which starts on October 9. A cloudy looking wheat beer, Braille Ale has been brewed with an emphasis on taste and smell, said brewer and co-owner Richard Husbands.

“We’ve used Tettnanger and Saaz hops, with bitter orange peel from Curaçao, and fresh ginger and crushed coriander seeds. This is all about flavours and aromas, and the end product is a very interesting ale,” he said.

“As this year’s event is supporting the charity Sight Advice, we decided to enter into the spirit of things by producing a new wheat beer with some very different features. Not only will visually impaired people be able to find out what’s on the label, they’ll be tempted by some very exciting tastes and smells,” said Husbands.

“It was intended as a limited edition but is proving so popular we are considering making it a regular,” co-owner Ronnie Mullin told Harpers. “Eighty gallons were brewed as a test, but the beer turned out so well that it became the main brew.”

The beer pump clips, featuring braille type, have been produced by Mullin Design and Braille Services in Kendal, and are supported by Sight Advice. Braille tasting notes will also be made available at the beer festival.

Kendal-based Derek Kingwell, who is blind in one eye and only has 13% sight in the other, said Braille Ale was a brilliant concept.

“It’s unlike any other wheat beer I’ve ever tasted,” he added. “Gently spiced, hoppy wheat aromas lead to hints of coriander, refreshing ginger spice flavours and a smoky, wheaty finish.”

His guidedog, Uska, likes a tipple himself, but Kingwell said he wasn’t up for sharing his pint of Braille. 

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  • Braille Ale
  • From left: Ronnie Mullin, Derek Kingwell and Richard Husbands with Uska
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