In this week’s Show ‘n’ Tell our Account Exec, and Leeds Beer Festival volunteer, Josh, talked about craft beer, where he thinks this growing industry is going in 2017, and which British breweries are leading the way…
Craft beer has been around as long as Belgians have been making beer, however the UK Craft Beer scene has blown up ever since Brewdog rose to prominence in 2009. Now Brewdog have become an international beast – bringing craft beer to a new audience by being stocked in supermarkets and opening bars across the world. Their rise to Wetherspoons fame, has led the way for smaller UK brewers to innovate and bring the new era of UK beer to the market.
Why craft beer?
It is quite clear that UK drinking habits amongst professional men and women have changed considerably since the smoking ban and recession. Now, more than ever, professionals are drinking at home more often and are opting for quality over quantity. The vast array of craft beer styles provides each individual with a personal journey of taste and discovery – perfect to tweet about or post on Instagram. Craft beer is also being as progressive in its branding and label design as it is in the beers – who really wants to be seen in a pub drinking a pint of Carlsberg?
For the past couple years, brewers from all around the world have been influencing the styles that UK brewers have been out putting.
Three words to summarise one major trend is: hops, Hops and HOPS. Hops are found in all beers, but American breweries for a long time have been making very hop forward beers such as IPAs – using Citra and Mosaic hops (to name a few), producing juicy, strong but drinkable beers.
Image: lucarollini Instagram
A particular trend that is coming out of the North West coast of America is IPAs and Double IPA’s which are very hazy, very juicy (also known as ‘Juice bombs’ on the Instagram accounts of beer nerds). Treehouse and Trillium are two New England brewers that are leading the way with this style, delivering beers that are above 7% and packaged in 500ml ‘big boy’ cans – perfect to showcase amazing label design.
Image: lucarollini Instagram
Scandinavia is becoming a hot bed for breweries that are pushing the boundaries of what flavours are found in beers. Breweries such as OO, Mikkeller, and Omnipollo are renowned for making beers that have lip-smacking flavours like lemon meringue pie and vanilla shake.
New Zealand has become another unlikely place to find some of the best tasting beers around. The Kiwi’s edge-of-the-world environment is producing some unique breeds of hops that breweries such as Yeastie Boyz and 8 Wired are turning into liquid gold.
Image: beer_farts Instagram
Leading UK Breweries
UK breweries are certainly holding their own when it comes to leading beers and most breweries are now exporting their product world-wide. Below are four breweries that are leading the way in this new wave of beer making.
Cloudwater – Manchester
- Seasonal beers
- Technical brewing geniuses
- Only 2 years old
- Release a new DIPA every couple of months, slightly altering the recipe each time
Magic Rock – Huddersfield
- Their amazing core range can be found in most bars and restaurants around the UK
- Their experimentation with small batch beers sold in big boy cans are grabbing online acclaim
- They also have one of the best brewery tap rooms in the UK!
Northern Monk – Leeds
- A diverse range of core and seasonal beers
- Their patron’s project seamlessly fuses together the world of art and beer
Beavertown – North London
- Some of the best branding and label design in the UK Craft Beer scene
- Particularly great at making provocative flavours to match their branding
… Finally, a special shout out to Verdant (Falmouth), Mad Hatter (Liverpool) and Four Pure (London) for killing it too!