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Another  Cave  Theme Beer  Label  and Associated  Ephemera

By Tony Jarratt

      In keeping with the fine traditions of the B.E.C. every now and then the Belfry Bulletin features a short article on “speleobooze” ephemera (see BBs 505 and 506 – Armchair Caving for the Alcoholic). The latest British item to come to the writer’s notice is from a very fine bottle-conditioned golden ale brewed locally by Cheddar Ales and rejoicing in the name “Potholer”. Many members will already be familiar with the excellent draught version (4.3%) frequently available in the Hunters’ and New Inn, Priddy and which recently won a silver award at the Tuckers Maltings Beer Festival in Newton Abbot.

Having been generously given bottles by Mike Hearn and Milche your scribe duly sampled it (Simply Gorgeous) and attempted to remove the label for his collection, being totally defeated by the quality of the glue. Mike, now part of the brewing team, then arranged with owner and head brewer Jem Ham for a small supply of labels, one of which is reproduced here. Its colouring is yellow ochre darkening to brown for the cave walls. The name of the cave illustrated is unknown, as it apparently originated in a photo library, but somewhere in S.E. Asia seems a good bet – it certainly isn’t on Mendip! For a Mendip brew the name “Potholer” may seem inappropriate though it was meant to be “…synonymous with Cheddar and the local area.”  Perhaps in the future we will see “Cave Digger” brown ale or a watery, gaseous brew called “Cave Diver”!

     Another local brewery is producing “Cave Bear” draught ale but this has been neither seen nor sampled and it is doubtful if there is a bottle label to collect.

     To accompany the ale Ford Farms of Ashley Chase Estate, Dorset are making a very acceptable Cheddar cheese, which is matured in the artificial tunnels in Wookey Hole Cave (as illustrated) and recently a similar operation has been set up in Gough’s Cave, Cheddar. Alas, the latter does not have a collectable, cave ephemera label.   

Ed’s note: Cheddar Ales are in the process of brewing a new beer called Totty Pot.  (see next BB --- JRat)