The future flagship of the Royal Navy, the 65,000-ton aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, isn’t scheduled to complete its first real deployment until 2021, but that hasn’t kept the Brits from ensuring one morale-boosting element is installed and ready for duty.
A new pub, known as the Queen’s Head, was christened last week aboard the Queen Elizabeth and will be available to officers and senior enlisted during the ship’s maiden transit of the Atlantic, a journey that began Aug. 18 and one that features two embarked U.S. F-35B Lightning II aircraft from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.
The Wiltshire-based Wadworth brewery, which created an ale specifically for the ship’s December 2017 commissioning — a beverage appropriately named “Carrier Ale” — was instrumental in bringing the pub to life.
“It has been a long time in the planning, well before the carrier was commissioned last year," brewery CEO Chris Welham said in a Wadworth press release. "The Mess looks really great and will provide a relaxing environment along with some fine beer for the team on board when they have some downtime.”
What’s on the drink menu?
Wadworth brewery will be supplying a range of goods to the thirsty officers and senior enlisted onboard. Among those:
- 6X Ale — the 4.1 percent ABV beer described as “the jewel in Wadworth’s crown" won gold at the recent World Beer Awards.
- Swordfish Ale — a blend of beer and an old Navy rum recipe combines for a flavor-packed, 5 percent ABV ale with a rum aroma.
- Carrier Ale — on the lighter side, a 3.6 percent ABV pale ale brewed specifically for the ship’s commissioning.
Wadworth will donate a portion of proceeds from every bottle of beer sold to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines charity, the pub christening announcement said.
The ceremony was attended by Wadworth and Royal Navy personnel, including the Queen Elizabeth’s commanding officer, Capt. Jerry Kyd, who addressed those in the pub.
More about the Royal Navy’s new prized ship
Aside from housing a pristine new bar, the prize of the Royal Navy is quite the specimen.
- The biggest warship the British Navy has ever produced.
- £3.1 billion (about $4 billion USD) price tag.
- F-35B aircraft will be the primary jet featured onboard.
- 280 meters in length, 57 meters shorter than the United States Navy’s new Gerald R. Ford supercarrier.
- 470 cabins accommodate about 1,600 personnel.
- 155,000 miles of electrical cable throughout the ship.
- Portsmouth, England harbor will be the ship’s home.
Cheers! Maybe a perfectly functioning Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System isn’t the only thing lacking on the supercarrier Gerald R. Ford.
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.