144 reasons to say cheers

Francesca Simpson (centre), the winner of the Arts Festival poster competition, pulling the first pint aided by Michael Graham with Jane McHugh from the Red Lion

Francesca Simpson (centre), the winner of the Arts Festival poster competition, pulling the first pint aided by Michael Graham with Jane McHugh from the Red Lion

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Art of a different kind will be on offer at a summer festival which kicks off in north Northumberland this weekend – the kind you can drink.

A unique beer has been exclusively created for Alnmouth Arts Festival, opening on Saturday, by Northumberland-based Allendale Brewery.

But you better get in quick – there are only 144 pints on offer at the Red Lion.

Avril Scott, for the festival, said: “This demonstrates the art of the brewer alongside the artists, photographers and craftspeople who are showing off their skills over the weekend.

“We’re delighted that Allendale Brewery said they would make the special beer for us and they are happy to do the same for other events in Northumberland and beyond.

“We think it will go down a treat.”

Michael Graham, manager at the Red Lion, said: “The beer is pale single-hopped session ale brewed with artistic licence, showcasing Cascade hops that deliver a mellow long-lasting bitterness with bags of citrus and floral flavours and aromas.”

To celebrate the launch of the ale, Hipsburn artist Francesca Simpson – who used to be a barmaid in the village before launching her career as a painter – pulled a few pints. Her winning design for the arts festival poster has been used on the pump-clip.

The Red Lion is also exhibiting paintings by landlady Jane McHugh’s father, Brian Powell, over the course of the weekend.

More than 2,000 people turned up at last year’s festival – in excess of Alnmouth’s permanent population – and there are expectations that this year’s event will be even bigger.

A record number of artists have signed up to exhibit their work at a variety of venues throughout the village.

The Northumberland Gazette is the festival’s official media partner.