Black Sheep Brewery

Black Sheep look on the bright side of life with release of ‘Flying Circus’ beer to mark 50 years of Monty Python



Black Sheep Brewery has unveiled ‘something completely different’ to mark the 50th anniversary of Monty Python – a special seasonal cask beer named in honour of the legendary comedy troupe.

The beer, ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’, is available throughout September and October to coincide with two months of celebrations of five decades of hilarious sketches and cult movie classics.

Brewed in Masham, North Yorkshire using a blend of pale ale malt and crystal rye along with hops of First Gold, Galena and Amarillo, the 4.5% ABV beer has been developed as part of Black Sheep’s exclusive brewing collaboration with the Pythons and completes a trio of Black Sheep beers inspired by John, Michael, Eric, Graham and the two Terrys.

And, as this is a very special occasion, Black Sheep is also re-releasing ‘Brian’, the beer named after the 1979 film, for two months to ensure that, along with its year-round hit, ‘Monty Python’s Holy Grail’, all three cask beers will be available in pubs across the UK this autumn.

The beers are part of a raft of Monty Python anniversary celebrations, which includes a BBC takeover and release of never before seen archive footage as well as a British Film Institute season in London where visitors will be able to enjoy bottles of Black Sheep’s ‘Flying Circus’ and ‘Holy Grail’ throughout September.

In addition to offering customers a flavour of Monty Python, Black Sheep is also helping pubs spark laughter and hilarity by developing a seven-round Python-themed quiz, including a picture round featuring some of the TV show’s and movies’ best-known and perhaps more obscure characters!

Pub goers will also be encouraged to wear Python-themed fancy dress for the quiz nights and send photos to Black Sheep with the best picture winning a unique signed Monty Python plaque.

Rob Theakston, Managing Director at Black Sheep Brewery, said: “While the parrot may be dead, Monty Python is alive and kicking and it's fantastic to be able to support the 50th anniversary with the release of our commemorative ‘Flying Circus’ beer.

“We’re very proud of our long and exclusive relationship with the Pythons and having all three of the beers we developed with them available together for the first time is a great way to mark this momentous occasion.

Rob added: “Discussing classic comedy sketches and catchphrases are a staple of pub conversations and they’ll be dominated this autumn by the sound of the lumberjack song, ‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink’ and of course, ‘he’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy’! Together with our commemorative quiz, the pub will be the place to celebrate all things Monty Python!”

For details of all the other Monty Python 50th anniversary events and special releases, and to buy exclusive anniversary merchandise, visit



For further information contact Jamie Collis 01325 363436


Editors’ Notes:

The Black Sheep Brewery is one of British brewing’s most famous stories and has grown from humble beginnings to become a multi-award-winning company, with its beers enjoyed around the world.

Black Sheep has grown to become one of Yorkshire’s most recognised brands, which was unveiled as the official beer of the Tour de Yorkshire and is the official brewery of Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC).

In the past 12 months, Black Sheep has won a number of prestigious awards, including:

  • The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) National Independent Beer Awards 2018 – Glug M’Glug – Small Pack Gold Champion in the Porters, Stouts, Old Ales, Strong Milds & Strong Brown Ales category

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) Beer Champion 2017

World Beer Awards – Milk Stout – UK Winner

World Beer Awards – Pathmaker – Gold Award

World Beer Awards – Black Sheep Ale – Silver Award

World Beer Awards – Guzzler– Bronze Award

World Beer Awards – Pineapple Milkshake IPA - Bronze Award

Based in Masham, in the heart of North Yorkshire, Black Sheep brewed its first beer in 1992 after being built up by Paul Theakston, whose family had brewed in the area for six generations.

In a world of ever-increasing bland, mass-produced beer, Paul saw an opportunity to return to what his family had done best since 1827, making real beer in the time-honoured fashion.

An old maltings building, once part of Lightfoot's Brewery, became the Brewery’s home. This landmark building, which stands high over the banks of the Ure, had fallen in to disrepair as years of neglect as a semi-redundant grainstore had taken its toll. Paul assembled a small team around him to fight the rats and build a traditional country brewery.

The Visitor Centre, at the site of the iconic brewery, has grown to become an award-winning attraction for visitors to Yorkshire, with tens of thousands of people flocking to Masham each year.

In 2018, Black Sheep announced the purchase of York Brewery, which included the acquisition of four pubs in the business and key cask brands, including Guzzler and Yorkshire Terrier.

The outlets bought by Black Sheep, as part of the deal, are as follows:

Last Drop Inn, York

Mr Foley’s Tap House, Leeds

The Tap Room, York

The Three Legged Mare, York

The addition of York Brewery complements the strong, iconic Black Sheep brand and its existing award-winning beers and brands.

The Black Sheep name derived from Masham’s association with sheep, but ‘Sheep Brewery’ didn’t quite sound right, so with a little creativity from Paul’s wife, the Black Sheep Brewery was born - a name that sat well with the area, spoke volumes about the business’ maverick attitude to the multi-nationals seeking to dominate the brewing industry and captured the essence of the family struggle that led to its birth.

Black Sheep’s beers are full of character derived from the best possible brewing materials, plenty of time and patience in the brewing and its very special Yorkshire Square fermenters.

Black Sheep Best Bitter is now one of the best-selling cask session beers in the UK and many of its creative brews, over the course of its 25-year history, have collected numerous awards – ranging from Black Sheep’s traditional ales to its up and coming craft beers.

2017 marked the launch of Black Sheep Brewery’s first lager, 54 Degrees North, created in homage to its hometown of Masham, which sits on 54’ 13’ 24” N; 1’ 39’ 20” W longitude and latitude lines, as the company embarks on an adventurous new chapter in its distinguished history.

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Twitter: @BlackSheepBeer

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Black Sheep Managing Director Rob Theakston (left) and Marketing Director Jo Theakston (right) dressed as knights from the Holy Grail film celebrate the 50th anniversary of Monty Python with the special ‘Flying Circus’ cask beer
Black Sheep Managing Director Rob Theakston (left) and Marketing Director Jo Theakston (right) dressed as knights from the Holy Grail film celebrate the 50th anniversary of Monty Python with the special ‘Flying Circus’ cask beer
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