CYCLISTS and beer lovers are snapping up souvenir ales, as Yorkshire's brewers celebrate the arrival of the Tour de France.

Breweries across the region have been producing one-off beers ahead of the Grand Depart on the first weekend in July.

Beer retailer Yorkshire Ales says it has seen huge demand for the special edition bottles.

Copyright restrictions mean breweries have been banned from using certain phrases, including "Tour de France" and "Grand Depart".

Adrian Pettitt, who runs Yorkshire Ales with his wife Vicky, said: "They have to avoid key words, but it is amazing how creative they can be."

Beers include Bicycale by Rudgate Brewery in Tockwith, Maillot Jaune by Great Newsome in East Yorkshire, Hill Hammer by Copper Dragon in Skipton, Hello Velo by Wold Top near Hunmanby and Velo-city by York Brewery.

Mr Pettitt said many people were buying the beers to save for the weekend, although many had also bought bottles as Fathers' Day gifts earlier in the month.

Treboom Brewery at Shipton-by-Beninbrough has created Maillot Blanc, named after the jersey worn by the best-placed rider aged under 26, and has produced a limited-edition run of 500 750ml bottles, with Champagne-style corks and wire-cap cages.

Brewery owners John and Jane Lewis both watched the Tour several times when they lived in Parish, and Jane said: "Seeing the riders race up and down the Champs Elysees is a real spectacle - we can't wait to see it all happening here in Yorkshire."

Their beer uses crushed coriander and lemon peel to create a saison beer, a style that originated in French and Belgian farmhouses.


• IT'S a tough job - but someone has to do it.

Five journalists from The Press put 12 of the commemorative beers to the test to see who could take home the yellow jersey.

The contestants were: On Yer Bike by Brown Cow; Hello Velo by Wold Top; Lanterne Rouge by Wharfebank; King of the Dales by Dark Horse; Bicycale by Rudgate; Stage Winner by Little Valley; Maillot Jaune by Great Newsome; Pedal Power by Daleside; Pedallers Pale Ale by Bobage; Butter Tubs by Yorkshire Dales; Hill Hammer by Copper Dragon; and Marie Jaune by Ilkley.

Five judges tried a (small) measure of each beer and gave it a score out of 10, to give overall scores out of 50. In the end, three beers were tied on 38 points - Lanterne Rouge, Pedal Power and Hill Hammer.

The Lanterne Rouge was a red, spicy, full-bodied beer, the Pedal Power was a light, citrussy pale ale, and the Hill Hammer had a caramel flavour. On a second round of sampling, the Pedal Power was declared our narrow winner.