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Happy 230th Birthday Lord Byron! Here, Have a Beer.

22 January 18 words: Claire Louise

Monday 22 January 2018 marks the 230th anniversary of the birth of Nottingham’s most notorious literary legend, the mad, bad and dangerous to know poet, Lord Byron...

A true romantic, rebel and rock star of the Regency era, first adored then vilified by a public captivated as much by his outlandish exploits and aristocratic excess as his poetic prowess. Scandalised during in his lifetime for his sexual proclivities and preferences, the innumerable adulterous affairs, rumours of homosexual trysts and alleged incestuous intent, in death Byron became a hero celebrated for his passion, wit and willful, untamed nature. His name is synonymous with the enticingly dark allure of a rebellious anti hero, both fiercely passionate yet intimately sensitive, with a wild poetic soul tinged with melancholy.

To mark the occasion, local brewers Lincoln Green have created a rather special tipple. The 6.5% ale was matured for several months in a whisky cask which previously housed  'Byron's Choice - The Marriage', a limited edition release distilled in 2015 by Speyside to commemorate 200 years since Byron's marriage to Anne Isabella Milbanke, the name of which hints at the ironic considering his disparaging attitude to marriage and seeming ambivalence towards his bride.

He made several attempts to call off the union, eventually cajoled to the aisle by his half sister Augusta Leigh, with who, it is widely rumoured, he pursed a decidedly more passionate relationship. Indeed, many have maintained he only sought Annabella, as she was known, to quash the salacious rumours surrounding the intimacy shared by the siblings, and amid mounting debts accrued through his lavish lifestyle. On the day of the ceremony he is said to have gifted a cask of his favourite Spey whisky to King George III, along with £50 to an old-school friend who had bet against Byron’s adamant declarations that he would never marry.  

Perhaps predictably, the marriage between the pious and moral Anabella and the tempestuous romantic poet was sour and short lived, unlike the whisky created in its memory. While Byron was not of a matrimonial disposition, he certainly did like a drink, and would no doubt approve of the concoctions created in his honour. For a chance to sample the both the beer and the whisky which helped instill its distinct character you’ll need to get down to The Station Hotel in Hucknall, quicksmart, as stocks are strictly limited.   

illustration: Eva Brudenell

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