A NEW ale will be unveiled at the Denbigh Beer Festival – but the name has caused controversy.
Local brewery Bragdy Dinbych will launch potent 7.2 per cent ale Y Mental (The Mental) at the festival, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
But the name, which the brewers admit sounds “non-PC”, has been labelled inappropriate by some.
It comes from the nickname of a local landmark, the North Wales Hospital in Denbigh, known historically by locals as “Y Mental” for its origins as a Victorian asylum.
The building opened as an asylum in 1848 and closed as a psychiatric hospital in 1995.
Brewer Alyn Ashworth said the dark ale, created by accident when his hand slipped making a Christmas beer, came out twice as strong as intended.
“Some people had a taste and then somebody local suggested the name, and it’s stuck,” he said.
"The name may sound a bit non-PC these days but local people used to refer to the hospital as The Mental or Y Mental and still do. It is not meant to be offensive, it is a term of endearment."
But Cllr Raymond Bartley, who worked at the North Wales Hospital for 40 years, becoming senior nursing officer, disagreed.
Now the chairman of Denbighshire County Council, said he has received calls from ex-staff, former patients and other community members who all felt the name was inappropriate.
He said: “I agree years ago in the 40s and 50s it was known as ‘the mental’, ‘the asylum’ or ‘the big house’. But as treatment became more progressive we tried to get rid of the old stigma and it became known as Denbigh Hospital or North Wales Hospital.
“It’s a new era now. The word ‘mental’ has gone out of use and with it the stigma.
“All the good work that was done by everyone, for a beer to be named after it as ‘The Mental’ is not on.
“For people who’ve had treatment there it’s not a good thing, and I disagree with it.
“But I do hope the new brew is a success and I hope the festival is a success, it’s just unfortunate that this name has been chosen,” he said.
The beer will be launched at festival on September 28 at the town hall from 12.30pm to 10.30pm.
The event is organised by the Denbigh Round Table to raise money for local charities, and sponsored by Denbigh-based window, door and conservatory company Artisan.
Over 30 different beers will be on sale, alongside a range of ciders and the revived Wrexham Lager.
There will also be live music from Baba Yaga band and ska outfit Gypsy Wine Cartel, who have been booked for Glastonbury 2014.
Other breweries featured at the festival include Heavy Industry (Henllan), Buzzard Brewery, North Wales Brewery, Sandstone Brewery, Facers, Spitting Feathers, Great Orme Brewery, Purple Moose, Cwrw Llyn, and Gwynt Ciders.
Round Table member and Denbigh Beer Festival organiser Gareth Luke Jones said:
“There’s a buzz about it every year, but particularly this year. It’s our 10th anniversary, so it’s something special to look forward to. It’s become a firm fixture in Denbigh’s calendar.”