MUSICIANS have added the glug of beer to their summer soundtrack as they celebrate a special occasion.

Abbey Brass and Abingdon Concert Band have marked their 40th anniversaries by bringing in barrels of their very own craft ale.

The Nag's Head pub in Abingdon is selling the Hornblower brew on tap and by the bottle, and is also offering special commemorative glasses to mark the musical milestone.

Band members sampled an array of flavour combinations from Milton based microbrewery LoveBeer, favouring an English pale ale and inviting people to put forward names suggestions.

Abbey Brass chairman Keith Merriman said: "We wanted to do something to celebrate the anniversary – it's a big milestone.

"Beer was an obvious joint interest across both bands.

"We started toying around with ideas and had a tasting event where we looked at which hops we liked the best.

"We ran a public competition to name the beer, which was actually won by one of our trombone players."

The bands are both based in Abingdon but are not thought to be historically connected, despite having been set up in the same year.

They played a joint anniversary concert last week and are set to do the same on July 15 at St Helen and St Katharine School.

Mr Merriman, who lives in Wootton near Abingdon, said the beer and concerts mark the beginning of a new fundraising drive to help the bands move under one roof.

He said: "Abbey Brass band currently have an ancient mobile building in Abbey Meadows and Abingdon Concert Band rehearses at Dunmore Primary School.

"We are working together to develop somewhere both organisations can use.

"We are in the process of getting architects to look at the options – ideally we would like to keep our current site but there is a covenant on the land so we are limited in terms of what we can do.

"It's a cracking location."

The 39-year-old tuba player has been involved with the band for 11 years, alongside his day job as a product manager for a phone company.

He said: "It's just about being able to perform music together. The social side is strong.

"Playing an instrument is a skill you can keep up for life – you might move around but generally you can find a musical group to play with.

"The teaching side in Abbey Brass is also a big thing – for children to learn to read music and play in a period of months is really valuable."

Abbey Brass has about 70 active members, some of whom will play at the Nag's Head garden on Saturday.

For details about the 40th anniversary concerts visit and