Beer bid to boost bittern boom

A brewery's new beer is aiming to help the county's wildlife. Woodforde's in Woodbastwick has launched its Once Bittern ale, pledging a penny from every pint sold to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

Guests supped the new brew and toasted its success in the visitor centre at the trust's Cley Marshes reserve, one of the watery East Anglian habitats where the shy and secretive bittern is slowly making a come-back after near extinction.

The bittern, famous for the male's booming call which can be heard between April and June, is one of the UK's rarest Red List breeding birds.

The trust will be putting its beer money towards projects to help the bittern and the county's other wildlife.

The charity's fund-raising manager Nik Khandpur said the support of Norfolk businesses such as Woodforde's was especially welcome in the current economic climate and was a boost in the charity's 85th anniversary year.

Other current projects include Wild Norfolk, a �98,000 Big Lottery-funded three-year bid to encourage adults in Thetford, King's Lynn and Great Yarmouth to learn about wildlife, and the Living Landscapes initiative working to restore habitats across 10,000 hectares between Wroxham and Acle.

Once Bittern, at four percent strength, was named and created by Neil Bain, head brewer at Woodforde's. The copper-coloured ale is described as complex, with hints of sweet malt, fruit and warm spice, with a dry finish.

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Above, a 'bittern' takes a crafty sip of the new ale with Neil Bain, head brewer at Woodforde's, and Nik Khandpur, of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. PHOTO: COLIN FINCH