Morocco Ale has a fascinating history spanning centuries and what a tale about the taste and thirst for ancient English beers this ancient ale could tell. Centuries ago, beer was safer than water to drink, and ales were brewed in large volumes by abbeys, on family estates and farms, to provide safe drinking for everyone. Ale was also used to pay workers for their toils.
Even in those days Morocco Ale was a very special beer, strong, dark and mysterious. The ancient, secret recipe for “Morocco” is believed to date from Tudor times when Henry VIII and Elizabeth l ruled England. The beer recipe was modernised in the ‘60’s, the 1660’s that is, by the addition of spice to the original recipe. The recipe originates from Levens Hall in the Lake District, the home of the Bagot family. The Goat logo, used on the bottle label, represents the special Bagot Goat, which forms part of the coat of arms of the Bagot family.
The secret recipe for “Morocco” survived the centuries safely hidden in the library of Levens Hall. Legend has it; this recipe was once protected from discovery by burying it in the Gardens of Levens Hall to keep it out of the hands of Roundheads during the English Civil War in the 1660’s.
It was named Morocco Ale by Colonel James Grahame of Levens when he was a courtier to Charles II. The name Morocco was probably associated with the Moors who came to the English Court along with Catherine of Braganza in 1662, when Charles II’s made her his bride. Around this time new and exotic flavours from spices were brought into England in the developing spice trade and were incorporated in to the recipe.
It was the custom, for hundreds of years after brewing each batch of Morocco Ale at Levens Hall, that the ale was “cask conditioned” for 21 years before being sampled by the real ale drinkers of the past. And for over 400 years they drank deeply of Morocco at the great feast held annually at Levens Hall.
This ale was last brewed in the Old Brewhouse at Levens Hall in 1877. The recipe remained unused until 1995 when Daleside Brewery of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, were asked by Levens Hall to brew Morocco Ale again. Daleside Brewery do not include the ancient requirement of 21 years of conditioning when they brew Morocco Ale, but they use the ancient recipe, which delighted real ale drinkers for over 400 years, to make a magnificent ale for the enjoyment of real ale connoisseurs of today.
In addition to producing Morocco in cask, Daleside Brewery makes Morocco Ale available in bottles to outlets throughout the UK and abroad for distribution to discerning drinkers.
Morocco is an award winning ale, having won numerous accolades in regional, national and international competitions. In 2021 and 2022 Morocco was awarded a silver medal by the judging panel at London Beer Competition.