Gympie digger’s memory honoured in special beer

Nick Wiseman and Don Birt, father of the late Corporal Ashley Birt, share a beer in his honour at the Royal Hotel yesterday. A special beer brewed in his honour called Birty’s Bitter, made its commercial debut yesterday.
Nick Wiseman and Don Birt, father of the late Corporal Ashley Birt, share a beer in his honour at the Royal Hotel yesterday. A special beer brewed in his honour called Birty’s Bitter, made its commercial debut yesterday. Craig Warhurst

AN EASYGOING beer brewed for an easygoing bloke is now on tap at Gympie's Royal Hotel, just in time for Anzac Day.

Gympie digger, Cpl Ashley Birt, was killed in action while on operations in Afghanistan on October 29, 2011.

Yesterday, fellow serviceman, Nick Wiseman, unveiled Birty's Bitter to the Gympie public to honour his fallen mate.

A group of Birty's mates and his dad, Don, were on hand to see the keg cracked and to taste the fine drop.

Ashley Birt
Ashley Birt

Nick said he met Ashley while studying in Sydney during 2008.

He got to know him during training and at social and sporting events.

It was during this time he found Ashley was also a good friend of his cousin in Gympie.

After the course, the pair lost contact due to work commitments, and the next time Nick heard the name Ashley Birt was three years later, when his death was announced.

It was the first soldier killed in action Nick had known and the news hit home.

"After a few months, I decided to make a beer in his honour, to remember him in my own way," Nick said.

"I'm a keen home brewer and have been since 2007, being a hobby which means a lot to me this was my way to remember a mate but also to honour the memory of a soldier who did his job for his country."

Nick said the beer was crafted to be easy drinking and low in alcohol.

"It allows me to enjoy a few in his honour," Nick said.

"Being an easygoing beer I thought it was perfect to dedicate it to an easygoing bloke."

Nick also designed the artwork for the label which includes a map of Afghanistan and the silhouette of an Australian soldier ready for combat

Ashley's father Don was lost for words but said he was very proud a beer had been made in his son's honour.

Ashley's friends said it was very cool and a good way to remember a top bloke.

The beer will be on tap at the Royal Hotel today.

MATE’S BEER: Dean and Jess Walker, Mitch Hilcoat and Kaden Dickfos share a beer for mate Ashley Birt.
MATE’S BEER: Dean and Jess Walker, Mitch Hilcoat and Kaden Dickfos share a beer for mate Ashley Birt. Craig Warhurst
Gympie Times

Topics:  anzac day ashley birt beer editors picks royal hotel

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