North Devon’s longest standing brewery is back on the ale this weekend for a 21st birthday bash – and everyone is invited

Tim Webster and Mark Kilminster celebrate their first brew 21 years ago.Tim Webster and Mark Kilminster celebrate their first brew 21 years ago.

Barnstaple's Barum Brewery is celebrating its 21st birthday today (Tuesday) after some 12.6million pints.

But owner Tim Webster is still ready to party and the brewery at The Reform Inn, Pilton, is holding a mini beer festival with music and games to celebrate with customers this Friday and Saturday (September 29-30).

The first beer to be commercially brewed in Barnstaple for decades came to life on September 26, 1996 and was known as Hard Labour due to the time and effort needed to get the brewery up and running.

It went on to become the flagship Barum Original beer and even today is still a best seller, turning over three times more than the rest of the beers put together.

This weekend will see music with DJ Gentleman Eclectic playing classic drinking songs on Friday alongside a host of local ales and on Saturday there will be traditional pubs games - and beer - throughout the day, with all welcome.

Tim, 50, set up the business with help from the late Mark Kilminster, the then-landlord of The Reform, but he and the pub continue to work closely together to this day.

The brewery is characterised by its unique mascot Lord Basil of Barum, drawn in different poses for each new beer by Fran and Nick Brennan.

Tim, who used to work at a local computer company, said: "I used to come in The Reform and drown my sorrows every evening and got friendly with Mark.

Barum Brewery marked the 50th year of HM Queen's reign with Golden JubileeBarum Brewery marked the 50th year of HM Queen's reign with Golden Jubilee

"I got a bit drunk one night and thought it would be a good idea to start a brewery. My first year it was part time but then I quit my job and concentrated on the brewery full stop.

"Like most brewers I started off making beer at home and mucking about with it. In my time with Barum I have brewed around 35 different beers and lots and lots of recipes, but the original is still by far the best seller."

Tim says some 60,000 pints of Barum beer a year flow through the pumps at The Reform and when Mark passed away in 2001 he continued working with landlady Esther Davies, who took over the lease.

There have been many commemorative ales over the years for different events - Agincourt still comes out every year for St Crispin's Day and the speech from Henry V will be read out in the pub.

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Barum Brwery in 2006Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Barum Brwery in 2006

Tim produced Dark Star for the eclipse of 1999 and Technical Hitch was brewed in tribute to fears over the 'millennium bug' and the Y2K virus.

Tim marked his marriage with a new beer - Ding Dong and Milk Stout and Extra Person Ale were produced for the birth of his two children.

He added: "When I started 21 years ago there was one other brewery in North Devon and at the moment I think there are about 16 - quite a few have come and gone.

"I don't think you would go into it to make money but it keeps the wolf from the door. At the time I didn't know I would be doing ti 21 years later, but it's been fun.

Comic Relief night in 2009 with Tim (right) and the late Dave ButtComic Relief night in 2009 with Tim (right) and the late Dave Butt

"The last big one was the 10th anniversary and we made a 10 per cent beer, but there was no way I was going to make a 21 per cent!

"But this weekend we are reviving some old favourite recipes, together with a couple of guest beers from local breweries."

**** Join Barum Brewery at The Reform Inn, Pilton, this weekend and party like it's 1996 ****