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Real Ale

Since the first Wetherspoon pub opened its doors in London, in 1979, the company has been at the forefront of a revival in cask-conditioned ale.

We support brewers of all sizes, across the UK and Ireland, so that our customers can enjoy a diverse range of real ales.

In addition, we support over 400 breweries, delivering more than 5,000 ales through real-ale festivals twice a year, exhibitions and meet-the-brewer events, to showcase the best of brewing talent.

As Irish drinkers get a taste for the traditional, too, they’ll be able to explore the huge choice on offer at the Wetherspoon pubs in Ireland. We have imported two hand-pulled craft ales to Ireland for your enjoyment, at all times – Abbot Ale and Adnams Ghost Ship.


Abbot Ale (5.0% ABV) is brewed by English brewers Greene King, in Suffolk. Its home is in Bury St Edmunds, where real-ale-brewing can be traced back almost a thousand years.

The famous Domesday Book chronicles ‘cerevisiarii’ or ale brewers as servants of the abbot in the town’s Great Abbey.

The Greene King brewery sits alongside the historic ruins of the abbey; to this day, brewers still draw water from the same chalk wells used by brewing predecessors all those years ago.

Abbot Ale is an irresistible ale, with masses of fruit character, a malty richness and superb hop balance. It is brewed longer to a unique recipe.


Adnams Ghost Ship (4.5% ABV) is a pale ale, with a good assertive pithy bitterness and a malty backbone. It is brewed at Adnams Brewery, in Southwold, also based in Suffolk, England.

Ghost Ship is inspired by one of Adnams’ most haunted pubs, in one of the UK’s most haunted villages – the Bell, at Walberswick.

The shores of Walberswick are littered with eerie wrecks of smugglers’ ships from a bygone era.

Guest Ales

We also pride ourselves on serving a wide range of guest ales at all times.

Our pubs support numerous microbrewers, allowing our customers to sample beers not usually served in the Republic of Ireland.

We also encourage customers to speak to the pub manager, if there is a specific beer they would like served in their local.

Other initiatives include meet-the-brewer sessions in the pubs, as well as tasting notes which give customers information about individual beers.

We support brewers of all sizes, across the UK and Ireland.

What is real ale?

Real ale, or cask-conditioned beer, is beer which still contains live yeast in the container from which it is served.

This means that fermentation continues in the beer, even after it leaves the brewery; this produces natural carbonation in the beer and allows the flavours to continue to develop and improve in the pub’s cellar.

Beers which are not cask conditioned are filtered and/or pasteurised to remove yeast and artificially carbonated.

Real ale is a natural, living product. By its nature, this means that it has a limited shelf life and needs to be looked after with care, in the pub cellar, and kept at a certain temperature, to enable it to mature and bring out its full flavours.

It is brewed using traditional ingredients and left to mature in the cask (container), from which it is served in the pub, through a process called secondary fermentation.

It is this process which makes real ale unique among beers and develops the wonderful tastes and aromas.

In the early 1970s, Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) coined the term ‘real ale’ to make it easy for people to differentiate between the bland processed beers being pushed by the big brewers an the traditional beers whose very existence was under threat.

Many pubs and brewers use the term to describe their beers, but, just to keep you confused, they are also called cask beers, cask-conditioned ales or even real beer! If in doubt, just ask at the bar.

Cask Marque

The opening of our pubs has introduced Cask Marque to Ireland – the independent quality accreditation scheme helping millions of drinkers in the UK to choose a reliable pint.

The team of Cask Marque inspectors, former brewers, sets the standards for cellar management, staff knowledge, skills and the beer in the glass – which is tested for appearance, aroma, temperature and taste.

There are 937 Wetherspoon pubs (99%) accredited by Cask Marque for the quality and consistency of the real ale which they serve.


Beoir, the consumer organisation formed to support and raise awareness of Ireland’s burgeoning craft ale microbrewers, has welcomed the opening of Wetherspoon pubs.

“We wholeheartedly support the increase of choice in the Irish marketplace, and it’s great to see that Irish craft breweries will have another route to market,” says spokesman Andrew Moore.

Look out for the twice-yearly Wetherspoon real-ale festival, every spring and autumn, when the pubs showcase a huge range of real ales from across the globe. The 17-day event will bring together a selection of up to 15 real ales to choose from, some especially brewed for the occasion. Our special third-of-a-pint glasses are also available, helping you to sample many of the fabulous festival brews, with three for the price of a pint.