Discerning Norwich ale drinkers became the first punters in 100 years to sample a batch of a Victorian beer – after the scientific revival of a heritage brewing barley.

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The first new pints of the historic brew, named Coyote, were pulled at the Duke of Wellington pub on Waterloo Road on Friday.

It marked the culmination of a project which saw the classic Chevallier barley variety re-grown from ancient seeds stored at the genetic resources unit at the John Innes Centre (JIC) in Colney.

The barley was floor-malted by Crisp Malting Group at Great Ryburgh, near Fakenham, and brewed by the Stumptail Brewery from Great Dunham, near Swaffham.

And it finally made it back to Norwich’s pub pumps in time for the Campaign for Real Ale’s annual meeting in the city.

Martin Warren, a brewer from Cromer, visited the Duke of Wellington to try the ancient ale. He said: “It’s a traditional ale as it should be for a beer brewed using Victorian malt. It’s well presented and well kept by the publican.

“Everything is beautifully balanced. I think it’s an excellent beer but just thinking that this is the flavour of Victorian beer is the most amazing thing about it for me. Nothing like this could have been tasted since before the second world war or even the first world war.

“That’s the power of seed banks and reviving old varieties of malt. I think it’s so exciting.”

Dougie Clarke, manager of the Duke of Wellington, said: “It’s something different and it’s something nobody else has got, so that’s fantastic. I’m very passionate about real ale so it’s very good indeed. I’ve never served anything like it before. I think it will provoke a lot of interest.”

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