England Cricket Captain Alastair Cook was joined by members of Essex Cricket Club and real ale enthusiasts at The Golden Fleece in Chelmsford this week where he pulled the first pint of his Benefit Beer, launching the charity fundraising ale, brewed by Brentwood Brewing Company.
Head Brewer Sophie de Ronde’s inventive recipe certainly bowled over Alastair Cook’s tastebuds, as he sampled a glass of his own beer for quality control. A remarkable feat when you consider his usual beverage preferences.
“It’s a nice light ale. It’s easy on the palate. I am a lager drinker mainly but it’s a bit like red wine, you have to drink more real ale to get to like it and I quite enjoy my red wine now.
“You can get heavy ales that sit on your stomach don’t they? This is a lighter ale. It’s more lager-ish than ale-like, if that makes sense, so it suits me quite well. It’s easy stuff to drink,” said Alastair Cook.
Obviously when Brentwood Brewing Company’s MD Roland Kannor heard the L-word, he immediately invited the England Cricket Captain to join the brewery team to learn about beer making, different styles of real ale and perhaps become a brewer for the day. Although it seems Roland may already have a willing pupil in Alastair Cook after all.
“Graham Gooch tries to introduce me to real ale. You know he does a lot of work on my batting and he’s been a mentor as well, so he is trying to get me onto real ale too. That and red wine. His speciality is red wine. Normally it’s a good, entertaining evening when you spend it with him.
“I like the idea of going anywhere else in the country and trying the local stuff. That’s what I always do,” added Alastair Cook.
Roland Kannor said: “Alastair is welcome at the brewery anytime. He can even bring Graham along as well if he likes and between us we can further educate him about good quality, traditionally brewed real ale.”
Sales of Alastair Cook Benefit Beer 3.8% will help to raise money for four charities chosen by the England Cricket Captain’sEssexbenefit year – Chance to Shine, The Professional Cricketers’ Association Benevolent Fund, Mind and The David Randall Foundation.
Alastair Cook said: “The three big ones are quite well known. The Dave Randall Foundation is in memory of a guy who I used to play a lot of cricket with when we were younger. He was a fantastic batter. Unfortunately he had cancer and is no longer with us.
“The idea is to raise money to give people who have been told they have terminal illness time to spend with their family without financial constraints. We’ll give them money for either trips or scholarships for talented musicians or artists.
“It’s covering a lot of bases but the idea is to make David proud of us. He was such a good guy.”
A series of fundraising events has been organised for the benefit year. See www.cookybenefityear.com for more details.
“Most of the events we’re putting on are quite good fun. It’s a great chance to meet England and Essex players. It’s obviously about raising money for charity but also the Big Bash on 5th June, Cooky’s All Stars Eleven v Essex, seeing the old Essex guys playing against the present stars should be quite good fun as well. There’s also 11th May down at Maldon Cricket Club, so lots of good local stuff to do,” added Alastair.
Alastair Cook Benefit Beer 3.8% is a golden ale with complex blackcurrant and spice flavours balanced perfectly with a gentle bitterness. It is now available in TCG pubs including locally The Golden Fleece in Chelmsford, The Fatling in Hornchurch and The Coopers Arms in Chadwell Heath. The beer will also be available in bottles soon.