WITH one of the world’s largest sporting events about to pass by its door, a brewery is marking the occasion in appropriate style.

The Black Sheep Brewery at Maham has launched a special celebratory beer - which is expected to be its biggest seasonal ale ever – in honour of the Tour de France.

Velo –French for bike – has been launched to mark Le Grand Depart Yorkshire, and the sport of cycling, with which the brewery has a history of engagement.

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Some of the world’s leading cyclists will pass directly through the shadow of the brewery as it plays host to Le Grand Party, the biggest event in Masham’s history, on July 5.

And sales of Velo, will also raise funds in support of Mike Hughes, York’s very own Marie Curie Power Peloton rider, who was on hand to help launch the new beer.

The Power Peloton will see amateur cyclists ride the stage one route on the day of the race itself, raising valuable funds for charity.

Velo was developed and tested in Black Sheep’s microbrewery, then scaled up in the brewery’s full plant. It is described as a 4.2 per cent ABV “freewheeling” fresh pale ale brewed with cascade hops and a subtle hint of orange and coriander.

Its drinkers will also have a chance to win prizes including a Giant Defy mountain bike donated by Ripon cycle shop Moonglu.

About 20,000 people are expected to descend upon the town of Masham as Black Sheep Brewery joins with other local businesses to put on a special celebration.

That will include partnering with the neighbouring Theakston’s brewery on a number of joint cask ale bars, for the first time since Black Sheep founder Paul Theakston left the family firm.

Black Sheep’s marketing director Jo Theakston said: “These are exciting times in Yorkshire. We are having the biggest party Masham has ever seen and the yellow pump clip of Velo will be prominent throughout that celebration and across pubs throughout the summer.

“The phenomenal interest from the pub trade so far gives us huge confidence that this will be the most successful seasonal ale ever from Black Sheep.”

Mike Hughes said: “It is exciting enough to be riding the stage one route with people lining the streets for such a major event, but to be working with Black Sheep Brewery and Velo to raise money for such a great cause makes it all the more special.”

He can be sponsored at justgiving.com/mjdhughes