From across Europe, and indeed the world, ordinary men and women answered the call to defend the Popular Front newly-elected Spanish government, the Second Republic. From lands far away, to a country which few knew much about, came the volunteers to join what became known as the International Brigade(s). The Brigaders were poets, writers, revolutionaries, railwaymen, adventurers, idealists, builders, nurses, dockers, miners and dreamers. What happened in Spain should have served as a warning to the rest of the world; dark times were upon us.
This being the 80th anniversary of La Guerra, the International Brigade Memorial Trust and HOPE not hate have come together to commission something they hope will serve a valuable and timely reminder to the history of the men and women of the International Brigade – an ale of all things, made by Blackhill Brewery , a microbrewery in County Durham. Blackhill’s real ales are named after Durham coal mining seams. Owner Chris Graham was inspired by working as a coal miner for twelve years.
‘Life is a rollercoaster at the moment. We were asked to produce a commemorative ale for the Spanish Civil War, which we readily agreed to; lo and behold, Brigadista Ale was brewed. A tiny idea has grown huge, and we are overjoyed to be part of something so massive. We do supply locally and do swaps, but don’t often go far afield, so the orders from London and Reading made us think, then came emails from Ireland, the Channel Islands and Spain, which proved to be more of a logistical challenge. Just as we got our heads around the fact that we finally had a website, we had to learn all about blogging. With Twitter brought into the equation; Wow! so many followers in such a short time. Brigadista Ale is brewed to commemorate and educate. And to be enjoyed.’ Chris Graham
Monies raised from the sale of the Brigadista Ale and its associated products will go towards keeping alive the memory of those volunteers, facing great hardships, who went to Spain and confronted fascism.