With the craft beer industry seeing a spike in sales since lockdown, Sam Wylie-Harris rounds up some brilliant brews.
We may not be able to enjoy a hand-pulled pint down the local right now, but there couldn’t be a better time to tap into the craft beer scene, especially when you consider the fine array of lagers and artisan brews out there.
“Craft beer is a growing industry, with around 2,000 independent craft breweries operating across the UK, producing a dazzling array of IPAs, pale ales and lagers,” says Terry Francis, co-founder of craft beer and natural wine supplier Rebellious Goods.
“What the Covid-19 lockdown has done is bring craft beer to the masses, as millions of people are housebound, abiding by strict social distancing rules and looking to try something new to stop boredom setting in.
“When the bars and restaurants shut, we expected to see craft beer orders drop off, but actually the opposite has been the case. Not only have orders from regulars increased, but we’ve seen a refreshing surge in orders from first time craft beer drinkers.
“The network of independent beer suppliers such as Rebellious Goods, have adapted quickly to the new norm and delivering quality beers to our doorsteps quickly.
“Once the virus has been eradicated, the craft beer industry could well come out the other side with a new legion of fans.”
Smash Maibock (£3.60, 33cl, 6.3% abv, Rebellious Goods)
Brewed by Braybrooke Beer Company on a farm in Market Harborough. The Smash was brewed in December alongside the brewery’s core range. It’s a high-alcohol lager that’s incredibly smooth and intense in flavour. The brewery had a single aim, to make the best lager there is, and has done a pretty good job in achieving that aim.
Lost in Control (£6, 44cl, 8.2% abv, Rebellious Goods)
A collaboration of two London breweries, Pressure Drop and Howling Hops. It’s a juicy, tropical pale ale bursting with flavour. Dry-hopped with no fewer than four different hops, the result is an intense, yet smooth drinking fruit basket. Expect your taste buds to tingle with a blend of mango and coconut, while the addition of oats softens the intensity, and helps masquerade the high alcohol content.
Baubles of Vanity (£5.10, 44cl, 5.2%, Rebellious Goods)
A complex, well-rounded west coast pale ale, brewed in the ruins of an old Norfolk priory. Soft fruit and peach come to the fore, followed by a dry pine needle finish. Staying true to the style, the zesty, citrus aromas are well balanced with an underlying sweet and bitter note.
Tiny Rebel Shake Down Mango Vermont IPA (£2.20, 33cl, 4.5% abv, Sainsbury’s)
A deliciously fruity and hop forward, with mango adding a twist to the Vermont Session IPA.
Yeastie Boys Digital IPA (£2.40, 33cl, 5.7%, Sainsbury’s)
Features clean malt and a medley of citrus and tropical hop notes. A delicious, classic IPA, expect a bold and bitter finish. A sessionable pale ale to bring your taste
buds one step closer to the seaside.
Camden-on-Sea (12 x 33cl cans, 4.6% abv, £22.99, Adnams)
Southwold-based brewer Adnams has joined forces with London mates Camden Town, home of Hell’s Lager, and the result of their brewing bonanza is Camden-on-Sea. It’s an India pale lager combining the flavours of their best-selling Ghost Ship Pale Ale with Hell’s Lager, a light and crisp drink combined with a distinct citrusy hoppy bite. “Collaborating gives us the chance to work with breweries we respect and admire to create something new,” says Fergus Fitzgerald, head brewer at Ad- nams.
Detour Pale Ale (12 x 33cl cans, 4.5% abv, £22.24, West Berkshire Brewery)
Cited as being full of tropical fruit flavours with citrus notes, and a mellow crisp bitter after taste to quench the thirst. Time for a beer!
Sainsbury’s boost to craft ale
Sainsbury’s have teamed up with craft beer experts Beer Hawk to help encourage hop heads to try exciting new flavour profiles from innovative breweries, such as Tiny Rebel in South Wales, and as far afield as Yeastie Boys, a cult classic brewery based in New Zealand.
“Cementing Sainsbury’s as the destination for distinctive, exciting drinks, our innovative partnership with Beer Hawk enables us to bring the best and brightest stars of the craft beer market to our customers,” says Jack Banks, beer buyer for Sainsbury’s.
“The first rotation of beers have surpassed expectations, as our customers continue to explore the breadth of our craft beer range. We can’t wait to hear what they think of our next rotation in September as we continue to look for interesting beers that tap into key trends and flavours.”