And now for something that little bit different...

Don’t meet one for ages, then two come along at once. Except it wasn’t buses this time. But Beckys. The first, Becky Whinnerah, is brewster at Art Brew, an innovative micro- – almost nano- – brewery in Dorset. The second is Becky Newman, landlady of the award-winning BrickLayers Arms, a gem of a pub tucked away down a small residential street off Putney High Street, within a stone’s throw of the Thames.

Sophie surrounded by a brace of Beckys

And the reason we are all there is peering out of the glass – Sophie’s Rustic Ale, brewed by Britain’s first female beer sommelier, Sophie Atherton, with Becky at ArtBrew.

"I’d never even made a home brew, Sophie tells me. “I met Becky when I interviewed her for a Devon magazine.” 

“I thought it would be fun to do a brew with Sophie," says a smiling Becky. Mother of three – the youngest was in arms at the beer launch – isn’t afraid of doing something unusual. “We’re known as the Dorset Beer Anarchists,” she says. Which is lucky, because anyone who knows Sophie will know that “bland” just isn’t in her vocabulary. A lover of dark beers, Sophie went off-piste here with a Saison-style beer – with marigolds!

“I was looking into what the crops were in Dorset as I was researching my beers,” says Sophie, "and I found a record from Victorian times that there were Marigolds.”

So off she went to Becky’s five-barrel plant in a barn – apparently an ex-piggery – it somehow seems fitting that the spent grains get fed to the former local inhabitants.

And what of the beer? It’s a moreish, fruity, 4.7% number, with a burnished copper appearance, hints of honey on the nose, and a light tang on the finish. This one will long since have disappeared, but look out for Art Brew’s other entertaining brews.

Sophie is seen here flanked by Art Brew's Becky on the left, and Bricklayers Arms Becky on the right

Cask Ale WeekWhat's next?

Catch up with Sophie at one of her tasting masterclasses around the country. Fresh back from honeymooning in New York – where she just happened to catch up with Brooklyn Brewery’s dapper brewing maestro, Garrett Oliver, you will find her at the North Pole on Saturday 6 October for a special Meet the Brewer event for Cask Ale Week.

Keep in touch with the action via twitter:

@CaskAleWeek    @SophWrites    @ArtBrew   @BrickyBecky