Australian brewers, James Squire, have managed to revive a 220-year old beer, made from the yeast from a beer bottle found inside a shipwreck discovered off the coast of Tasmania.

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A trek followed in the footsteps of the shipwrecked sailors who set foot from Ninety Mile Beach in Victoria all the way to Sydney in 1797 © Lion Co

‘The Wreck Survivors’ Ale’ is named after the shipwreck survivors who set out to walk to Sydney from the south coast of Australia after their ship, which had set off from Kolkata, was wrecked in 1797. The ship, called Sydney Cove, was carrying 31,500 litres of rum and beer when it was damaged in rough seas and became wrecked north of the Tasmanian mainland, between what would later become known as Preservation and Rum Islands.

The ale is an Imperial Porter, similar to the kind of beer transported to Sydney at that time. According to the James Squire website, “This masterfully intriguing brew uses traditional English hops of Fuggle and Bramling Cross providing earthy notes of blackcurrant. For this release, Maris Otter has been included in the malt bill driving a lovely rich malt body. The hero is, of course, The Wreck yeast which drives spicy clove flavour on top of a pleasant warming sensation. The result is a complex yet smooth Porter for a truly unique drinking experience.”

A map promotes the James Squire beer © James Squire

The Sydney Cove shipwreck lay forgotten for nearly 200 years, before being discovered in 1977 by some amateur divers. The area was declared a historic site and was carefully explored and retrieved where possible. Ceramics, shoes, cannons and anchors were all brought up from the wreck, as well as some sealed glass bottles, containing the ancient booze. The secure corkage and cool ocean temperatures meant that the contents had managed to remain perfectly preserved, and some of the bottles are now stored at the Queen Victoria Museum in Launceston.

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