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Castle Rock brews ale for a broadcasting legend

D ennis McCarthy, the London-born broadcaster who came to Nottingham as a wartime refugee and went on to become the city’s best loved radio personality, is to be honoured in the pubs and bars of his adopted city with an ale brewed by Castle Rock in his memory.

In the first Nottinghamian Celebration Ale of 2018, ‘Dennis McCarthy’ was brewed in late December and has gone on sale at pubs across Nottingham, the East Midlands and Yorkshire.  Its arrival coincides with celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of BBC Radio Nottingham, which began making programmes on 94.8VHF and Rediffusion Channel C in Nottingham on 31 January 1967.

Tara and Owen ‘Digger’ McCarthy at Castle Rock Brewery with brewer Dan Mason

Dennis McCarthy was a family man, most proud of his children and of the award of his MBE given in 1991 for services to broadcasting.   Prior to his time on the wireless, he had been a decorator, washing-machine salesman and dog-breeder.  It was an interview he did on spec at Crufts dog show that convinced radio bosses to give him a job on air.   And so, by the mid 1980s, his Sunday morning show, co-presented by daughter Tara and produced by son Digger, attracted one in six of Nottinghamshire’s public.  His weekday afternoon programme was broadcast on BBC Radio Derby, Leicester, Lincolnshire as well as Nottingham.

Tara says: “What a wonderful way to celebrate Dennis’ memory in time for the 50th Anniversary celebrations of Radio Nottingham by a local brewery with an extremely impressive setup.  Dennis would have enjoyed a half of his London Porter, sitting in one of Castle Rock’s many impressive pubs.”

‘Dennis McCarthy’, the ale, will be a 4.3 abv London Porter, a style chosen by Tara to mark her father’s birthplace in the East End of London.

Castle Rock’s Lewis Townsend says it will be an ideal winter warmer.  “Basically this is an English porter; but there are two additions of locally roasted Colombian coffee, one in the hopback and one much later in the brewing process. This has given the beer a wonderful front-end rich coffee aroma as well as a great depth, thanks to the complex malt we’ve used.”

The Nottinghamian Celebration Ales series is Castle Rock’s homage to celebrated native and adopted sons and daughters of Nottingham.  Four ales are brewed each year.