Rule Beertannia! Read About Your Star British Microbreweries Here

on 02/03/11 at 9:32 am


These are boom times for British brewing. Despite the downturn in the economy and the ever-decreasing volumes of beer being drunk in pubs, the small beer scene is getting bigger.

In 2004, there were only 480 microbreweries in the UK while back in 1975 the number of breweries numbered merely 141.

2011 can’t rival 1900 when there were 1,324 breweries in the UK, but there’s no way the turn-of-the-century brewers could compete with the UK’s contemporary’s craft brewing scene in terms of diversity of style, innovation, technical expertise and entrepreneurial derring-do.

the drinks business has consulted an array of industry observers and in-the-know ale imbibers to find out which craft brewers are the ones to watch? Who, in particular, is pushing the envelope of innovation? Which microbreweries are well-placed to go to macro? If and when there’s a shakeout (and there normally is following a boom) then who will still be standing? And, more importantly, who is simply brewing lovely beer?

Alas, space doesn’t allow an exhaustive list but here, in no order other than alphabetical, are a selection of small and medium-sized British microbrewers, from southern England to Scotland, being touted for bright brewing futures.

brewdog.jpg1) BrewDog

It’s almost impossible to ignore BrewDog, its bark bigger than any other British micro. Since its formation in 2006 by James Watt and Martin Dickie, the Aberdeenshire-based operation has established itself as the naughty boy of British brewing.

Masters of mischief-making marketing, it (deliberately) drew the wrath of the Daily Mail and other tut-tutting temperance types by brewing the strongest beer in the world – not once, not twice, but three times in 2010.

Only 12 bottles of the last effort, a 55% Belgian-style ale called “The End of History” were released – each one packaged in various types of taxidermy including a squirrel and a stoat. It also dispatched a dwarf to the House of Commons to campaign for the introduction of the two-third of a pint measure.

While BrewDog’s anarchic and antagonistic approach (one unashamedly aped from the likes of Stone Brewing in the States) has ruffled feathers of some in the brewing industry, it doesn’t take away from the fact that BrewDog also happens to brew some excellent ales and lagers.

Inspired by the American craft brewing scene, BrewDog boasts a big, brash brewing signature but, unlike some Stateside suds, there’s balance to its beer.

Punk IPA, which BrewDog recently started producing in aluminium cans at Daniel Thwaites’ brewery, is an accessible IPA while connoisseurs get awfully excited about its whisky cask-aged imperial stout named Paradox and an imperial stout called Tokyo. 

{Continued: list of star microbreweries}

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