A BEER which started life as a fictional tipple enjoyed by hard-hitting Los Angeles crime investigators has been turned into a real ale by a North Yorkshire brewery.

When the 2011 Christmas episode of NCIS: Los Angeles finished with its characters enjoying a beer called Theakston Christmas Ale, the Masham-based brewery began receiving inquiries about the beer from the US.

But unfortunately the drink did not exist, having been created by the show’s writers.

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In the closing Christmas sequence last year, the manager of the NCIS team was seen hammering a tap into a wooden firkin stating: “This is Theakston Christmas Ale; it has been flown in all the way from Yorkshire in England where they have been brewing beer like this since Charles Dickens time.”

So this year the Yorkshire Dales brewery created the Theakston Christmas Ale, so enjoyed by US crime-fighters, for real ale enthusiasts at home and abroad.

A spokesperson for the brewery explained: “Out of the blue, we had an inquiry from one of the many Theakston enthusiasts in the USA who wrote asking for details of a beer called Theakston Christmas Ale.

“We were puzzled as, at the time, there was no such thing.

“Further inquiries revealed that a reference to this beer had been made in the Christmas episode of a nationally broadcast US TV series called NCIS.”

The company says globally, cask ales have grown in popularity and they are exporting increasing numbers of casks to countries including America, Mexico, China and Australia.