We’ve already told you all about the cheeky sailor’s and their exotic pets who inspired our I.P.A. Now it’s time to get to know our White Ale a little better. We created this fruity number in tribute to a man named Willem Barentsz and a tale involving polar bears, misguided expeditions and a whole lot of frozen beer.
The 16th Century was a period of great adventure and exploration for the Lowlanders. In their quest to dominate the seas countless men set sail on treacherous expeditions. One such man was Willem Barentsz, a Dutch navigator and artic explorer, determined to find a Northern passage to the Indies.
It soon elapsed that such a passage didn’t actually exist and Willem and his men found themselves stranded on the Russian islands of Nova Zembla. Here he and his 15 men became prisoners of the polar ice for almost a year. They were forced to fight twin terrors; frozen beer and polar bears.
His crew were not only great beer lovers but also carpenters. They managed to build a safe-house made from parts of the ship to house them from the howling winds and artic snowstorms. Amazingly, this construction was so sturdy that it was found largely intact almost 300 years later by a whaler. The men survived through dining on fox meat and battling polar bears whose fat was used to burn in lamps. The large supply of frozen beer on their ship could only be accessed through a lengthly process of thawing in the fire.
Incredibly, after an excrutiatingly long, harsh winter the crew set off in smaller boats and managed to find a Russian merchant vessel who rescued the 12 remaining men. Sadly, our protagonist Willem Barentsz didn’t make it, he died nobly at sea whilst studying sea charts. His legacy lives on and, for all you history buffs, there is a fascinating exhibition dedicated to him at the Rijksmuseum today.
This incredible story explains why you can find a towering polar bear on the bottles of our White Ale and why you might find yourself feeling a little adventurous after drinking one. With its refreshing fruity notes, it is a tribute to the restless and rugged spirit that kept Barentsz and his men going. In honour of its fishy roots we’ve been pleased to find its exceptional compatibility with seafood.