Celebrate Craft Beer Going Mainstream With The 16 Best Brews

In order to calculate UK inflation, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) tracks the prices of over 700 goods and services, otherwise known as the 'inflation basket' or 'shopping basket'. This basket is updated each year to reflect the spending habits of the British public.

They've just released their annual review and it makes for very interesting reading. Thanks to better navigation apps on smartphones, sat navs are out. White emulsion paint, cut flowers and frozen pizzas have also faced the chop.

But the more interesting bit is what's made it in: E-cigarettes, music streaming services like Spotify, sweet potatoes and... craft beer.

That's right - craft beer has finally made it into the mainstream. More people buying it, more shops and supermarkets and making room for it and we think it's bloody brilliant.

If you still haven't joined the revolution, check out the winners of the FHM Craft Beer Awards and fill your own shopping basket with hoppy brilliance:

_ GOLD __ : _ Beavertown Neck Oil (4.3%)

Posho beer snobs say this is crammed with ripe citrus, juicy aromas and a pale malt backbone. We say this is the easy-drinking beer so delicious it may cause you to shed a tiny tear.

_ SILVER: _ Harbour IPA (5.2%)

Cornwall’s surfing buddies Rhys Powell and Eddie Lofthouse may only have started in 2012 but have made a big entrance with this bottled nectar.

_ BRONZE: _ Black Isle Goldeneye (5.6%)

Fresh from the Highlands, this quenched our thirst in big, hoppy style. And because it’s 100% organic, we felt pretty good about it, too.



_ GOLD: _ BrewDog Tokyo* (16.5%)

It’s rich, it’s smoky it’s fruity, and it’s more dangerous than a wolf with machine guns for paws. Tokyo* is everything you want from a punchy bottle of big beer.

_ SILVER: _ Marble Manchester Dubbel (8.5%)

It may be a bit of a mission to seek this special and hard-to-find dark ale out, but once you've poured it out for you and your mates, that warm fuzzy hug of booziness will be more than just a reward.

_ BRONZE: _ Harviestoun Ola Dubh (8%)

Pronounced ‘ola-doo’ and meaning ‘black oil’ in Gaelic, it’s the aging in whisky casks that makes this one to be savored. Ideally, with a log fire and a faithful old pooch at your feet.



_ GOLD: _ Wild Beer Ninkasi (9%)

Somerset’s Wild Beer are the Dr. Frankensteins of brewing, ballsy enough to use everything from tea to veg to flowers, but brainy enough to make each offering bloody spectacular. We’re particularly mind-bended by this apple juice plus wild yeast plus champagne beer.

SILVER:  Siren Whisky Sour (10.2%)

Siren took their deliciously wacky Limoncello beer, threw it into bourbon barrels and came out with a whisky sour hit so classy, it deserves a cameo in Mad Men.

BRONZE: Meantime x Chase Botanical Beer (5.7%)

These top London brewers teamed up with Hereford’s Chase distillery to craft the first beer using gin botanicals. It’s a gin beer. Of course it’s amazing.



GOLD: Siren Craft Brew (4.5%)

You don’t have to look further than master brewer Ryan Witter-Merithew’s arms to realize how serious he is about his beer. Inked into him is a portrait of King Gambrius, the unofficial patron saint of beer, complete with a hefty beard as bushy as his own. He and Berkshire’s Siren Craft Brew have only been bottling since 2013, but hot damn, they know what they’re doing. Acquaint yourself with their Undercurrent pale ale as soon as possible.



_ GOLD: _ Anchor Steam (4.8%)

No surprises to see Anchor Steam on the podium: these Americans have been at the top of their hops game for 118 years now. This is a classic, and still a benchmark for how a knockout craft beer should taste.

_ SILVER: _ Brewer’s & Union  (5%)

Unfiltered Lager Unfiltered, unpasteurized and unrelentingly tasty, Brewers & Union hail from Germany’s Bavarian district and produce a lager that we seriously think may be the best thing on Earth. There. We said it.

_ BRONZE: _ Mikeller Stateside (6.9%)

Denmark’s top two craft breweries, Evil Twin and Mikeller, are owned by identical twins who can’t stand each other. We’re Team Mikeller with this bitter but fresh IPA.



_ GOLD: _ Beavertown Gamma Ray (5.4%)

Skulls and lazers and space ships and illuminati references all on one will make this one of the coolest pieces of design you’ll ever find on your fridge shelf.

_ SILVER: _ Brixton Brewery (6.5%)

Not only are Brixton's labels an upliftingly colourful massage on the eyeballs, but head brewer Dominic is a Sierra Nevada alumni, so you're sure of greatness inside out.

_ BRONZE: _ Wild Card Queen Of Diamonds (5%)

Nottingham pals William John Harris and Andrew Birkby’s brews are so distinctive, tying their ace playing card labels to each bottleneck, you’d have to be head down in a gutter not to recognize them.



Belleville Brewery

For standing up to the big evil booze corporations, taking them on in the courts...and winning.


For bringing the punk spirit of craft brewing to the masses and never apologising for their madness.


For their legendary hero status amongst brewers, inspiring many to give it a shot.

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