Elizabeth is a crackshot with her recipes from the past

It was while Sir Thomas Ingilby, owner of Ripley Castle, was doing an inventory of the books in his library that he discovered an old book of a former housekeeper, wedged behind some others.

It belonged to Elizabeth Eden, who had been housekeeper at Ripley Castle in the 1600s, and contained some interesting recipes.

"Many of the recipes contained ingredients that we wouldn't use today, but one for 'a good strong beer' caught Sir Thomas' eye," explains Steve Chesnutt, general manager at the Boar's Head on the Ripley Castle Estate.

Sir Thomas approached Daleside Brewery, near Harrogate, and with a few modern-day alterations – including leaving out the eggs contained in the original recipe – a new beer was born.

Crackshot Ale was named in memory of Jane Ingilby, one of Sir Thomas's feisty ancestors. She reportedly stood guard over Oliver Cromwell with a loaded shotgun when he hid at Ripley Castle in 1644.

As well as selling the beer to drink, the chefs at The Boar's Head use it to cook with, and they have come up with a special recipe to celebrate the Great Inns of Britain Best of British Cuisine campaign using British beers, ales and liqueurs. Game and Crackshot Ale casserole also utlises game shot on the Ripley Estate.

The Great Inns of Britain was set up by Sir Thomas and Paul Whitham, also a private inn owner. They wanted to bring together like-minded small privately run hotels and restaurants who share a similar ethos for warm welcome, fine food and excellent wines. They now have 21 member across Britain.

Throughout November at the Michelin-starred Yorke Arms in Ramsgill, head chef Frances Atkins has used locally brewed Black Sheep to create Black Sheep Nidderdale Mutton while The Blue Lion in Wensleyday is serving slow-braised shin of beef with Black Sheep Riggwelter and sauteed beef fillet with wild mushrooms.

For more information visit www.greatinns.co.uk or call 01423 770152 for a brochure.

Crackshot ale game casserole

Serves 4

1 bottle of Crackshot Ale

1kg diced game

pt beef stock

1 large onion

1 carrots

200g chestnut mushrooms

50g butter

Sprig of rosemary/thyme


Finely dice onion and carrots and sweat off in the butter. Season game mix with salt and pepper and add to the onion and carrots. Seal meat until coloured. Add the thyme and rosemary. Pour pint stock and the Crackshot over the meat and simmer for about 2 to 3 hours until tender. Thicken with arrowroot to required consistency then serve with roasted root vegetable and mashed potatoes.