Camilla helps make 'Duchess ale' on brewery visit

The Duchess of Cornwall has helped to brew a new ale named in her honour and joked: "I'm only here for the beer."

Camilla visited Arkell's Brewery in Swindon, Wiltshire, to mark its 175th anniversary.

During her tour, she operated the "Swinging Valentine", an essential part of the traditional brewing process which controls the flow of the liquid extracted from the mashing process, to lend a hand in making the new Duchess Celebratory Ale.

The limited-edition Duchess ale is described as having a dark, malty base, twinned with tropical fruity hops from America to balance the flavour.

Made from Plumage Archer barley grown on the Prince of Wales's organic Home Farm on the Highgrove estate, it will cost £1.90 a bottle from the brewery shop and have an alcohol content of 4.2% ABV.

The Duchess of Cornwall looks at fermenting beer in a fermenting vessel (Ben Birchall/PA)
The Duchess of Cornwall looks at fermenting beer in a fermenting vessel (Ben Birchall/PA)

Camilla remarked she was looking forward to tasting the beverage, which will be ready in two weeks.

She also took a sip of the brewery's Bees Organic Ale, made with organic honey.

Arkell's is one is the few traditional family breweries left in the UK and the Duchess remarked: "It's so nice to visit a family business. You don't get many of them these days."

Camilla is a member of the Windsors, famously dubbed "The Firm" by the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Duchess of Cornwall smells an Arkell's Bees Organic Ale before taking a sip (Ben Birchall/PA)
The Duchess of Cornwall smells an Arkell's Bees Organic Ale before taking a sip (Ben Birchall/PA)

Arkell's was established as an offshoot to a family farm near Swindon when Brunel was building his Great Western Railway, and the beers were drunk by those toiling in the hot locomotive works.

There are only two breweries in the country which still operate Swinging Valentines.

The Duchess also visited Marlborough St Mary's Church of England Primary School.

The Duchess of Cornwall meets students and teachers as she opens Marlborough St Mary's Church of England primary school in Marlborough, Wiltshire (Matt Cardy/PA)
The Duchess of Cornwall meets students and teachers as she opens Marlborough St Mary's Church of England primary school in Marlborough, Wiltshire (Matt Cardy/PA)

Camilla officially opened the school, chatted to pupils on her tour of the classrooms, and listened to the choir perform the Lion King's Hakuna Matata.

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