It won’t have escaped your notice that Britain is currently going through a craft beer revolution.
America is the biggest influencer of this boom as our beer-bellied cousins in the US went through this explosion of popularity in the 1990s.
Here is a top five list of the best who have brought their excellent beers to the UK.
5. Brooklyn Brewery
Brooklyn Lager is the best way to introduce a friend to craft beer. It can be found in most bars, bottle shops and supermarkets but still maintains a very high level of quality. If you haven’t seen this lager you must have been living under a rock – or near a shop that only stocks Coors Light. Thankfully Brooklyn are not just a one trick pony; they offer great wider range of IPA, brown beer and chocolate stout. The one downside is now that Brooklyn are massive they are too reliant on their successful beers rather than experimenting with new brews.
Best Beer: Brooklyn Lager is obvious but check out Brooklyn IPA.
Founders is for those who like stronger tasting beers. Whilst they can provide lovely easy drinking beers their talents truly lie in making beers for people who love blue cheese, strong coffee and whisky just for breakfast. They also have a refreshingly relaxed approach when it comes to designing their bottles. Instead of any trendy graphic design, Founders instead look like they are dated by 1980s standards, and Breakfast Stout (pictured) looks downright creepy – but those who care only about looks are missing out.
Best Beer: Founders Breakfast Stout
3. Sierra Nevada
Sierra Nevada is a craft beer brewery with a pale ale that’s world famous for its quality. With 35 years’ experience, they were one of the first micro-breweries in the US and have a great core range core range of Porter, Torpedo Extra IPA and Kellerwies Hefeweizen. On top of this they still experiment in making the occasional new release and four seasonal beers which come to the UK every year.
Best Beer: Their Pale Ale is great but when Flipside is being sold in Autumn don’t miss out.
2. Rogue Ales
Unlike the US giants like Brooklyn and Sierra Nevada, Rogue Ales don’t have a single beer as their calling card. Rogue instead make a damn fine range covering every type of beer imaginable, varying from mild pale ales, double chocolate stouts to an odd bacon and maple donut ale (pictured). But Rogue are on the expansion path with their Amber Ale available in Wetherspoons along with their vast range in bottle shops and craft beer bars across the country.
Best Beer: Rogue Hazelnut Brown and Dead Guy
Lagunitas is the fifth biggest brewery in the US, even though it started later than its competitors in the mid-1990s. When initially exporting to the UK, Lagunitas focused on pushing their IPA – and it is a phenomenal beer. It’s very fruity, making it easy to swig whilst having a deceitfully high alcohol content of 6.2%. Now that the IPA has built a profile with bottles available at all Wetherspoons bars, they’re starting to export the rest of their excellent range of easy drinking yet strong beers. Just be careful you don’t drink too much of it.
Best Beer: Lagunitas IPA is fantastic but if you see Lagunitas Maximus (8.2%, buy it!