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Banksy beer in celebration of Cheltenham street art

PUBLISHED: 15:32 02 May 2014 | UPDATED: 15:32 02 May 2014

GCAleQ beer commemorates the new street art in Cheltenham purported to be the work of Banksy

GCAleQ beer commemorates the new street art in Cheltenham purported to be the work of Banksy


Specialist Cheltenham beer and cider shop, Favourite Beers, has teamed up with Cotswold Lion Brewery to produce a bottled beer to celebrate the new artwork thought to be the work of Banksy which has appeared over the road from their premises on Hewlett Road in Cheltenham. The new beer is called ‘GCAleQ’ and is available in bottles at Favourite Beers.

The beer is a dark and mysterious 5% abv beer with the full tasting notes being a closely guarded secret – so secret in fact that they have been encrypted, with the resulting cipher text available from the Cotswold Lion website (hard copies can be picked up from Favourite Beers). The first person to decrypt the tasting notes will win 20 litres of Cotswold Lion beer.

The choice of Cotswold Lion Brewery is apt as they are located in the village of Coberley, the location of a farmhouse once owned by Frederick Winterbotham, the Royal Air Force MI6 officer credited with distributing the cracked German enigma (ULTRA) codes during the Second World War. It is rumoured that the farmhouse was used to train MI6 spies during the war.

Owner of Favourite Beers, Leigh Norwood said: “Since the artwork appeared over the road on Sunday April 13 there has been a real buzz about the area, so much so that we really though it should be commemorated in some way. We have teamed up with Cotswold Lion Brewery in the past to produce a beer featuring our shop dog ‘Ruby’, so I contacted them and they loved the idea of a commemorative beer.”

Favourite Beers opened in October 2010 and have established themselves as an award-winning destination shop for beer and cider in the South West. The Banksy beer joins a range of over 700 beers available at the shop, including an ever-changing selection of UK beers, Belgian ales, German beers and the new craft beers coming out of the USA.

The Cotswold Lion brewery has been operating at Dowmans Farm in Coberley for two years. Their brewing process is carried out by hand and monitored by human observation - a process unchanged for hundreds of years.

The idea of encrypting the tasting notes came from Cotswold Lion brewer Jon Kemp. Jon said: “It just seemed a bit of fun and the logical thing to do. Apart from now being the home of a fine ‘Banksy’, Cheltenham is also the home of GCHQ. Without them, the ‘Banksy’ wouldn’t be here. Both Leigh and I also have connections with the world of Cryptography. Leigh worked as a Software Engineer for several years at GCHQ while my work at what was Smiths Aerospace saw me being responsible for defining a set of standards and procedures for ensuring the integrity, confidentiality and availability of protectively marked data in Military Avionic Systems for the MoD.”

The code should be breakable by anyone who has an understanding of cryptography and our friends at Hubble Road should be able to crack it fairly quickly.

For more information on Favourite Beers, visit:
Or for Cotswold Lion Brewery, visit:


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