a cheeky champion gets a new name, all in the name of taste

David and Rachael Holliday of Moon Gazer Ale in Norfolk have been in the headlines recently, having changed the name of one of their champion ales. 

Here at Moon Gazer Ale, we have become well known and loved for the use of hare names for our beers. Beers such as Jigfoot, Pintail, and Nibbler seemingly developing their own characters, taken as they are from a centuries old middle English poem called The Names of the Hare by Seamus Heaney. 

However, having celebrated one of our ale family being crowned Champion Beer of Norfolk, we became aware that its name wasn’t sitting entirely comfortably with some people. White Face has been our popular golden IPA for a few years now – its popularity growing to the point that the local Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) named it the Champion Cask Beer of Norfolk 2023. 

This was a great accolade and has seen more and more of the beer brewed – but with it becoming ever more present in pubs across Norfolk and Suffolk, feedback to the name has also become more apparent. Some people did not know the connection to the hare name, and the white mountain hare –sadly, in some cases, giving rise to the feeling that there was an undercurrent of racism. This is, of course, a complete misunderstanding, but the fact it created that impression was of genuine concern to us.

To add to this, Mrs Moon Gazer and I were recently sitting in a pub beer garden and overheard a man showing his pint to his beer buddy and proclaiming: “Now, this beer is totally lush.” There was a short pause before he continued: “Name’s a bit racist though.” Again, this made us stop and reflect. 

Beer should do one simple thing – that is to bring pleasure. So, if the beer, or more accurately its name, was moving away from that, however small, for us, it was time for a change. Cheeky Jack was born as the new name for White Face and our new champion! Its name is a play on the American name for a hare – Jack Rabbit. 

So, what makes this award-winning IPA a Norfolk champion? 

This five per cent strength, hoppy golden ale is brewed using Norfolk malted Maris Otter extra pale, and that gives it a light, golden colour, and a sweet, biscuit malt base. We also sprinkle in some wheat and a malt called Cara just to add to the complexity and mouth feel – but the Maris Otter is the star of the malts in this beer.

Starring alongside the Norfolk malt is a cocktail of US, New Zealand, and UK hops. We use seven hops in total, all with similar fruit tones, to create a balanced, yet complex beer – and one that we think is easy drinking and sessionable – no need for in-your-face hops here! We wanted to create a rich, satisfying blend of mango, orange, pineapple, and peach flavours, but one that also lets the malt come through as well.

Not too dry, not too sweet –  just right.

We have also brewed the beer to be gluten free, keeping in all the flavour but removing the gluten element, in the same way that we do for our Pintail beer. 

So, please do embrace the new name, embrace the beer, and the next time that you are at the bar – order a cheeky Norfolk pint! 


Discover our full range: moongazerale.co.uk

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