New guide puts North Devon pubs and beer on the map.

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REAL ale fans are being invited to discover some of North Devon’s hidden pub gems with a new guide that’s being launched this week.

The North Devon Real Ale Trail, produced by the Abbotsham-based Country Life Brewery, features 50 pubs around the region – and an incentive to visit them all.

The guide comes complete with a ‘passport’ that Country Life ale drinkers can get stamped in each participating pub.

Ten stamps will be rewarded with a bottle of cask conditioned ale from the brewery; 20 will get you a presentation pack of three ales, while 40 will get you a presentation pack of six.

Those able to collect their final stamp will be able to proudly wear a special ale trail T-shirt featuring a list of all the pubs.

Simon Lacey, master brewer at Country Life Brewery, said: “People are always asking where they can get our beer so it’s nice to have something that locals and tourists can get involved in.

“It helps direct people to the best pubs serving the best beer. And it also helps to keep our beer local; it got to one point recently where we were selling more beer outside North Devon than in North Devon. With the rising fuel prices that’s ridiculous.”

The launch of the ale trail coincides with the launch of a new beer – the ‘offspring’ off multi-award winning brew Golden Pig, which scooped silver in the best bitter class at the Champion Beer of Britain competition, judged at Earls Court last September.

Devonshire Piglett, a light hoppy session beer, will join the brewery’s staple of six ales, which also includes Old Appledore, Country Bumpkin and Pot Wallop.

Country Life, which began life on Lundy Island in 1997, now produces up to 18,000 pints per week at the BIG Sheep theme park.

Ale trail guides and passports can be picked up at the BIG Sheep or participating pubs.

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