Well, we all know it was good. Great, perhaps. But not quite this great.
Recent government figures released this week report that a brand-new brewery is opening in Britain every other day, leading David Cameron (whose favourite pint is a Sharp’s Doom Bar) and his band of merry men to call our fair isle a ‘Brewing powerhouse’. Hell yes, we’ll raise a glass to that.
What’s more, after years of misery for the British pub (which saw local boozers closing down at blitzkrieg rate of 31 a week last year), it’s belly-warming to know that the UK alcohol sector is now responsible for almost one million jobs.
In celebration of homegrown golden suds seeming more golden than ever this week, we give you the 21 best British craft breweries to fill your fridge with, all in the name of, y’know, growing the British economy…*hic*
Written by Chris Sayer, follow him on Twitter: @ChrisSayer00
Beavertown first entered London’s livers as a part of ace BBQ joint Duke’s Brew and Que in Dalston, brewing beers that perfectly matched the meaty menu. Now, you’d be hard-pressed to find a quality watering hole in the capital that doesn’t have its deliciously arty cans in the chiller.
As if we could talk about craft beer without mentioning these Scottish punks. Their hops are now served in BrewDog bars as far afield as super cool Gothenburg, scorching hot Sao Paulo, futuristic Tokyo and, um, Glasgow.
In the last (or first, depending on how you look at it) county of the UK, Cornish buds Eddie Lofthouse and Rhys Powell have been churning out the fresh stuff since 2011. So fresh, in fact, that the spring water they use in each brew comes right off the hillside next to brewery.
Come out from your Netflix coma this weekend and instead roll up to Walthamstow’s Wild Card tap bar, which will sort your belly out with brewery-fresh bottles and grub from resident street food vendors.
It fills us with boyish joy when we see the words ‘Schiehallion Lager’ glowing from a beer tap. Like, actual jump-up-and-down air-punching joy.
Screw the beer taps, this lot have around 30 beer tanks installed in pubs around London, so that you can experience their brewery-fresh good stuff without the trek to Greenwich. God knows how nobody’s gone full-blown Barney Gumble on those bad boys…
Simple label. Simple name. Leg-shakingly good pale ales. East London Brewing are not messing around.
Last year these guys took a silver medal back to their Berkshire motherland from RateBeer’s Top New Brewer In The World awards. And when you try their Undercurrent IPA, you’ll know why.
Wild Beer Co.
Time to come out of your IPA comfort zone. Somerset’s ground-breaking-slash-bonkers brewery has made beers that taste like peanuts, and one that’s even been likened to delicious horse sweat. OK, that one might be for big-time hopheads, but you’d be mad not to give their bottles a try.
Tucked up in Scottish highlands, this 100 per cent organic brewery make beer “as nature intended”. If the Goldeneye Pale Ale doesn’t give you a warm fuzzy feeling, then your new environmental warrior status will.
Oakham Citra. Probably the most celebrated pale ale in Britain.
Enter your iPhone calendar. Find August 29 2015. Delete everything. Yep, even that. Enter in ‘Camden Town Tank Party’. Wait for the day to come around, and put on your drinking pants. You’ve got 10,000 pints of epic North London lager to get through.
The original London hipster beer.
It’s the story that needs a Hollywood adaptation – a group of dads from Wandsworth meet at their kids’ school, decide to brew incredible beer, get threatened by the biggest beer company on the planet with a cease and desist, agree to fight back…and win.
If you manage to stumble across one of Weird Beard’s Sorachi Faceplant beers, please buy it. Buy them all. Then Duct tape them to your body and never let them out of your sight.
You’ve not completed your summer goals tick-list until you’ve struck off ‘Visit Crate’s Hackney Wick brewery to drink beer and eat pizza by the Thames'.
Wu Gang Chops The Tree. Don’t ask what it means. Just crack one open.
This Cornish brewery really crept up on us. One minute we’ve never crossed paths, and the next, we’re six Graffiti IPAs down and feeling like kings.
The Five Points
Oh, another brewery from Hackney? Oh, another blindingly good bottle of beer that we could intravenously drip into our mouths for the rest of our lives? Good.
Ask any brewer worth his weight in hops who their brewery hero is, and odds are they’ll say this Derbyshire lot. They’re ten years old, making them the great-great-great granddads of the craft beer boom and an inspiration to many.