The world of beer evolves and revolves, with ancient styles revived to great acclaim from the drinking public.

Last year the Dark Star Brewery in Sussex produced a batch of Prize Old Ale, based on a 17th century style known as Stock Ale, and it proved to be an overnight sensation.

The entire run of 3,500 bottles sold out within 48 hours and as a result a new vintage was launched this month to similar applause from drinkers.

PoA, as it’s known for short, was first brewed in the 1920s by George Gale, based in Horndean in Hampshire.

The brewer was called William Mears and he based PoA on Stock Ales that were a blend of a well-matured beer and a fresh, young beer.

The aged version was stored in oak vessels for a year or more where natural yeasts and bacteria trapped in the wood attacked and ate the malt sugars in the beer.

The result was a beer with a pronounced acidic aroma and palate. At nine per cent it was also rich and fruity with spicy notes from English Fuggles and Goldings hops.

The blended beer was bottled with a small amount of fresh yeast to encourage a slow further fermentation, meaning the beer could be laid down for several years.

In 2005 Gale’s was bought by the major London brewer Fuller’s in Chiswick. It closed the Horndean plant a year later but before the shutters came down Fuller’s head brewer John Keeling, who loved PoA, had one final batch of the beer brewed there.

The beer was transferred to Chiswick where John aged it and then blended it with a fresh beer. He made just two batches of PoA and he ran into trouble with his marketing colleagues who, he says, “hated the beer”.

Some 50 barrels of the beer lay in a tank at Chiswick until a young brewer called Henry Kirk discovered it and was entranced by its aroma and flavour.

In 2019 Fuller’s was bought by the giant Japanese brewer Asahi and Henry was transferred to its Dark Star subsidiary in Sussex.

He successfully moved the vat of PoA to Dark Star and brewed a new batch to blend with it. The launch of the beer was delayed by Covid and it wasn’t released until the autumn of 2022 when it proved to be the fastest-selling beer ever brewed at Dark Star.

It was also one of the last beers brewed there as Asahi closed the plant and moved all the beers to another subsidiary, Meantime in Greenwich.

In July head brewer Sven Hartmann produced a new batch of the beer that he blended with aged beer in August.

The blend was then allowed to mature for three months before it was bottled. It’s unfiltered and the natural yeast will enable the beer to age further.

It’s brewed with pale and black malts, a touch of wheat and brewing sugar and hopped with Fuggles and Goldings. The original Gale’s yeast is still used.

The 9 per cent beer is immensely complex. It’s dark russet in colour and has a slightly musty aroma from wild yeasts that brewers call “horse blanket”.

There are notes of raisins and sultanas on the aroma and palate with further touches of wholemeal biscuits, liquorice, butterscotch, bitter chocolate and espresso coffee, with spices and pepper from the hops. The finish is acidic, fruity and finally dry.

It can be bought online at £7 a bottle or £80 for 12 bottles from

It can also be found on draught in two London pubs, the Harp in Covent Garden and the Old Mitre in Holborn.

It might be best to order a half of this potent brew as you raise a toast to historic English beer.