There was once a time when craft beer conjured up images of dads in sheds with foul-tasting home brews! But today, beer brewing is a multi-million pound market that is growing at a fast pace.
Over the past five years, the UK has seen a boom in small breweries growing by 64%, as the appetite for unique and local beer has captured a whole new audience. Of course this is nothing new in craft brewing countries like America and Germany, that have long since enjoyed microbrew beer.
With hundreds of beers to choose from and more than 2,000 breweries in the UK today, there has never been so many great options to choose from.
Neil Walker, Society of Independent Brewers, said: “This growth has been in direct response to increasing demand from beer drinkers, who are demanding better quality, better flavour and more choice – all things which independent craft breweries can offer.”
So, when it comes to sampling top craft beer where to start? Here are eight pointers for inspiration, all the way from the Scottish coast to the Cornish cliffs:
BrewDog, Dead Pony Club
There’s no end to the list of beers on offer at BrewDog, as guests of the recent London Craft Beer Festival can confirm. Inspired by US-style pale ales, it uses US hops to give it a citrus aroma and zesty kick. At 3.8%, it’s a lower range strength to enjoy from this Scottish brewing company.
Camden Hells Lager England
Over the past ten years, London’s Camden Town brewery has produced over 20 million pints of brew, making it one of the fastest growing craft breweries in the country. One of its most popular artisanal beers is Hells Lager, now available in Waitrose. At 4,6% and a clean, crisp and dry finish, Hells Lager pays homage to German beer styles.
Toast Pale Ale, Yorkshire
At 5% volume, this Pale Ale is a full and enjoyable brew, what’s not to love about this well-balanced pale ale, with hints of caramel and citrus. If you enjoy a traditional British Pale Ale beer, this is known to be a real crowd-pleaser. It’s also doing its best for the environment, made using recycled bread. We’ll drink to that!
Northern Monk Eternal
Ⓒ Tom Joy Photo
Putting Leeds firmly on the microbrewery map, this award-winning craft beer recently received a medal at the World Beer Cup. Described as ‘sweet tropical fruit’ layered over delicate pale melts it’s light, refreshing, moreish and at 4.1%, it’s the perfect drink to fill your beer growler!
Siren Craft Brew Calypso
With a nod to a Berliner-style sour beer, you might be surprised to know that Siren Craft Brew is actually based in Wokingham! This tart light-bodied local beer is thirst-quenching and at 4%, it goes down easily.
Pig & Porter Neither Nor
Pig & Porter are known for their fun and quirky beer names. And as this one suggests, Neither Nor is a hybrid brew, bringing all the best of lagers and pale craft ales together. If you like plenty of hops with an original twist, this 5% volume Tunbridge Wells brew is for you.
Five Points – Railway Porter
The full five points definitely go to this sophisticated dark beer, brewed in East Kent. If you’re looking for a luxurious tipple with rich chocolate tones and caramel aromas, this 4.8% beer is the one for you.
Magik Best Bitter
From humble beginnings starting as a homemade beer, Keltek Brewery has gone on to become an international and award-winning brand. This Cornish company is home to Magik Bitter, a delicious hand brewed bitter bursting with hop and malt flavours and a slight bitterness.