If beer were music, then most stuff coming out of the taps in your local pub is bland, inoffensive pop created for the mass market. That’s right: most beer is basically Maroon 5. It’s time to broaden your horizon.
Britain is full of independent microbreweries, producing ultra-tasty local beer. Trust us – cross these off your beer bucket list and you’ll never look at a pint of fizzy lager again.
HELLS LAGER, Camden Town Brewery (4.6%)
Situated under railway arches and staffed by a motley crew of skaters, hellraisers and old friends, Camden Town is one of the best-loved booze brewers in the capital.
IMPERIAL, Dark Star (10.5%)
You like your beer strong? Then Dark Star are your guys. They started up in Brighton in 1994 with almost no equipment, brewing under a pub, and became a business almost by accident.
SCARLET FEVER, Wild Beer (4.8%)
Created by two mates in 2012, Wild Beer already have a rep for producing odd (they like to chuck around ingredients like toffee and apricots) but delicious craft beer.
TABLE BEER, The Kernel (3.3%)
A south London brewery so cool it doesn’t care about being cool. “We don’t have any written ethos as we have no perspective on whether or not anything makes us special,” says top man Evin O’Riordain.
QUEBOID, Hardknott (8%)
Starting off in an inn at the foot of the steepest road in England, this microbrewery is proudly independent. “We don’t have to kowtow to marketing execs, CEOs or committees,” says co-founder Dave Bailey.
MAGIC 8-BALL, Magic Rock Brewing (7%)
The brainchild of brothers Richard and Jonny Burhouse, Magic Rock has already picked up some big indie awards for its weird and wonderful booze creations.
FUBAR, Tiny Rebel (4.4%)
Billing itself as South Wales’ only micro-brewery, Tiny Rebel offers strong beers and cool labels. They’ve ?even done a brew called the Hadouken. Bonus points for the Street Fighter reference.
KILL YOUR DARLINGS, Thornbridge (5%)
In 2005, a bunch of friends started brewing beer in a shed in the grounds of a stately home. Eight years later, and Thornbridge is one of the biggest names in craft beer.
HOPPINESS, Moor Beer (6.7%)
Moor Beer is owned and run by Californian Justin Hawke, who dug it out of a muddy Somerset hole in 2007. “Everything is larger than life about us,” he says. “That’s why we use the 660ml bottles.”
DOBBER, Marble Brewery (5.9%)
Marble started up as a way to help finance an ailing Manchester pub and became a huge hit. “The beer, the work and the laughs make it all worthwhile,” says project coordinator Harriet Carr.
WEIRD WHISKY MAC, Offbeat Brewery (6.1%)
Offbeat Brewery has – in just three short years – become a big boozy success. Founder and ex-IT geek Michelle Kelsall runs the whole thing with just two mates.
RED ROCKER, Cromarty (5%)
“We want to make beer as awesome and flavourful as we can,” says Craig Middleton, who heads the family firm. “We built the shed and constructed our own gadgets to make the beer even better.”
INDEPENDENCE, Bristol Beer Factory (4.6%)
The mad scientists of the West Country craft-beer scene, Bristol have some weird stuff up their sleeve. “We’re at our best when we’re creating,” says team member Sam Burrows. Champagne beer? We’re game if you are.
BARISTA, Summer Wine Brewery (4.8%)
The brainchild of twentysomethings James (astrophysicist) and Andy (trainee Royal Marine), SWB is all about bold experimentation (as demonstrated by this espresso stout).
HACKNEY GOLD, Redchurch Brewery (5.5%)
“We don’t tolerate bland, flavourless beer,” warns top man Gary Ward. If you’re around east London, check out their bar, where they frequently test their new concoctions.
SUBLIME CHAOS, Anarchy Brew Co. (7%)
Anarchy Brew Co. is run by five close friends. “We called ourselves Anarchy because we mean to break the rules when it comes to brewing,” says boss Dawn Miles. “And we like punk music.”
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