MARSTON’S Brewery has created a special bottled ale for the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire and is donating 2,000 bottles to help raise funds to ensure that it remains a free-entry site.

Armistice Ale 2012, a 3.6% abv Burton pale ale, is on sale until the end of the year at the year-round centre for remembrance in Alrewas, between Burton and Lichfield.

The beer will be on sale in the restaurant and shop, both of which will see thousands of visitors during the Armistice commemoration period in November.

The Arboretum, which is part of The Royal British Legion family of charities, first opened to the public in 2001 and now welcomes around 300,000 visitors and holds more than 200 special events each year.

It is open daily except for Christmas Day and, while admission is free, donations are vital to help it to continue to grow and improve.

Charles Bagot Jewitt, chief executive for the National Memorial Arboretum, said: “Many of our visitors have a personal reason for wanting to explore this special place and to remember loved ones or comrades.

“As well as paying their respects, some also want the opportunity to raise a glass in tribute to their family, friends and colleagues. The creation of this new ale is a wonderful gesture by Marston's as through buying it, people will be contributing directly to its future.”

Des Gallagher, head of brands marketing for Marston’s Brewery, said: “We’re very proud to support such a commendable memorial for current and ex-service people at this poignant time of the year.

“Earlier this year, we found the brewery’s own roll of honour from the First World War, which is now on display in our visitor centre.

“This, combined with the National Memorial Arboretum being on our doorstep, started the germ of an idea and I’m pleased to say that it became Armistice Ale 2012.

“I hope that it serves as a fitting tribute to our armed forces by raising a glass in celebration of the comradeship of those who have served their country and to the memory of those who are not forgotten.”