The collaboration that relaunched 1,000 years of tradition

Something unique in these times came to Walsingham in February this year, for we joined forces with a local company in a way that was innovative and unexpected, yet benefitted all involved, particularly thirsty pilgrims!

The Anglican Shrine joined forces with Barsham Brewery (some two villages away) to create a beer that celebrates over a thousand years of pilgrimage to Walsingham. To find out how this union began, we must go back to 2019 when Father Andreas asked Barsham Brewery if it were possible for his team to stop off at the brewery during a team walk; this resulted in us all enjoying a brewery tour, tea and cake, as well as a beer tasting of course! Fr Andreas discussed the possibility of us neighbours working together and a few weeks later we decided to create a beer to celebrate the ancient and modern Walsingham pilgrim and ‘Pilgrim’s Pale Ale’ was born. The aim of the beer is to highlight Green Pilgrimages and what can be achieved on foot as well as the joy that can be found in our natural surroundings and the feeling of wellbeing it brings.

At the beginning of February the official launch took place of Pilgrim’s Pale Ale which coincided with the Priests and Deacons’ Retreat so there was no shortage of taste testers. The ale was very well received indeed with several guests coming back for second helpings. The ale flowed and it was joyous to see so many people together celebrating together with a local ale as they have done for centuries. 

Barsham Brewery is based on an estate steeped in history and is rather unique in beer making terms that they grow their own barley, harvest, malt, blend with water from their own bore hole, and brew all on site! In a world where we are so conscious of our impact on our environment, the ‘beer miles’ must be some of the lowest in the world. As we look to advance green pilgrimages, it seems fitting that we celebrate with a very green ale.

Pilgrimage has benefitted businesses for centuries and enhanced local economies enormously, which is why we are reviving the old traditions with a new way of thinking and an innovative union that celebrates our shared history.

This summer the Bishop of Norwich himself enjoyed a well earned bottle of Pilgrim’s Pale Ale when he arrived at The Shrine upon completion of his three day Pilgrimage of Prayer for those affected by the Covid-19 crisis from Norwich Cathedral.

Pilgrims Pale Ale is a 4% Pale Ale and is available from The Refectory and Norton’s Café Bar.


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