Just in time for “Big Brew”, we present you with Ant Hayes’s original Zymurgy article on Burton Ale. It is reprinted with permission from Zymurgy magazine.
Jeff was the person in the club who knew Ant best. He writes:
Ant Hayes was an honorary AABG member after he and his South African mate Llewellyn van Rensburg visited Ann Arbor before the Cincinnati conference. Many AABGers met them then.
For reasons that no one understands, he tragically took his own life last May.
I got to know Ant in the late 90’s on Homebrew Digest, and then in 2003 (I think), he and the Wort Hog Brewers of Johannesburg, South Africa invited me to Jo’burg to administer the first BJCP exam outside of North America and to speak to the club. They showed me a great time. Ant moved the next year to the UK. He visited here twice and spoke at the Cincinnati and Minneapolis conferences, where he was a popular speaker. I visited him in the UK as well, and counted him as a close friend.
At Minneapolis he spoke on Burton ale, an extinct ale which fits into the old ale category. He explained that “gone for a Burton” is a British euphemism for someone who has died. It may have originated when a RAF pilot didn’t return during the Battle of Britain, or perhaps earlier. That is why he named his recipe “Absent Friends,” but when Llew phoned me last May (while I was brewing) with the tragic news, we both wondered about the name.
Ant said that a Burton should be a comforting beer, and I hope that brewers will find it to be so. In November, AABG will host/judge an AHA Club Only competition for old ales in honor of Ant called the Ant Hayes Memorial Competition.
I greatly miss Ant.