Thursday 14 June 2012

On Top of its Game

This post is brief. If there is a brewery in the UK more on top of its game than Hawkshead, name it.


This follows on from last night's "Meet the Brewer". It was a reminder - as if one was needed.


beersiveknown said...


Red Willow?

Magic Rock?

Tandleman said...

I admire Buxton and Magic Rock, have found Red Willow underwhelming and while these may be good breweries are they more on top of their game, which was the question?

beersiveknown said...

Everything Magic Rock has prduced has been met with universal admiration and (for what ratebeer is worth) are rated highly within their style categories

likewise all beers Buxton have produced since james has taken over have been great (though allegedly some bottling issues)

Red Willow too (IMO) doesn't have any duffers in their portfolio

All three have brewers that know what they are doing, they're well branded and well thought of.

I've not had anything bad from hawkshead to disprove your contention however.

Its all opinion at the end of the day!

Tandleman said...

Indeed it is and you make a good case for Buxton and MR. Not surprised about Buxton as way back in April last year I tipped them for good things

MR are tremendous too.

Still feel that Red Willow have a step up to make though.

Thanks Steve.

beersiveknown said...

You've probably drunk more of theirs than me!

I also think Bristol Beer Factory are up there too, certainly top of their game in the South West (entire south outside London?) but not quite UK yet

Stuart Ross said...

I don't want be top of my game yet, still to much to improve on.

Phil said...

At the moment I'm very tempted to nominate Acorn; let's see how they shape up over the year.

Red Willow are, I think, the proverbial gnat's crotchet away from greatness - again, 2012 will tell. Their beers do tend towards the sweet end of the scale, which may have made a hopmonster such as yourself less appreciative of their qualities.

Are Thornbridge last year's thing?

Bailey said...

Christ, we're out of the loop... never had anything from Hawkshead, Red Willow or (as far as I can recall) Buxton.

Tandleman said...

Thornbridge are great apart from wrecking Jaipur.

MR have much room for improvement. (See Stuart)

Still don't "get" Red Willow. Didn't like any of the 3 beers at Oldham Beer Fest and I studied them er.. studiously, while looking after them.

Acorn: Great porters and stouts. Less so on others. A lot less.

Bailey: Probably the poorest part of the country for choice and really good breweries. But you know that.

Neville Grundy said...

Liverpool Organic Brewery.

GeordieManc said...

Think I'd put Magic Rock and RedWillow ahead of Hawkshead in terms of beer quality, although have ordered all three for Chorlton Beer Festival.

Not really fair to compare the overall size of the game as Hawkshead are so much better established.
Got to remember that Red Willow are just around their first birthday.

Don't really rate most Thornbridge these days - had a very bland Lord Marples just two days ago. I'd put Buxton, Marble, Pictish, Acorn, Liverpool Organic... above Thornbridge.

Phil said...

Forgot about Liverpool Organic - they're definitely one to watch. Perhaps another one that's slightly stronger on the dark beers.

Dunham Massey anyone? Not the easiest beers to get outside about a five-mile radius of the brewery, but rarely disappointing and sometimes superb.

Pictish are certainly on top of their (dry, golden, single-hop) game, but it's a rather specialised game that hardly anyone else plays.

SWB anyone?

Acorn bitters have never really impressed me; Legend (which was very good) is supposed to be a dark bitter, but if I was blind-tasting it I'd call it a porter. But Lightness is a terrific light mild.

I've tasted a few Buxton beers; to my mind they do one thing very, very well, and put it out at varying strengths under about six different names (Marble have been guilty of this in the past). That prickly, aniseedy hop attack is pretty impressive when you first taste Axe Edge, less so when you hit it for the fifth time.

As for Red Willow, I've had two beers of theirs that were interesting & characterful but not quite brilliant, and three that were well into "brilliant" territory. I think they're well on their way, to the point where I'll always order one of theirs if I see it on a bar. Nothing dry and hoppy, though.

Zak Avery said...

It depends what "the game" is, doesn't it? Magic Rock sprung fully formed and hit the ground running, and while they admit to being a work in progress, have very quickly dominated their field. (DISCLOSURE: Stuart is a mate who I've brewed beer and had lots of fun with). Hawkshead have grown steadily, refined their range of beers, moved with the times, and have brewed some amazing beers of late (although Brodie's Prime has always been a great beer, and hugely underrated in my opinion). They are further along the arc towards greatness, for sure, but they have been around for longer.

Is "the game" just about the beer?

Paul Bailey said...

All you northerners are conveniently forgetting Dark Star, surely another brewery that's way on top of its game; particularly down here in the so-called, "soft south".

ps. I do like Hawkshead beers though!

Phil said...

+1 on Dark Star. I think my list of the ten best brewers in the world in space... well, in Britain... would go

Red Willow, Dark Star, Magic Rock, Conwy, Hawkshead, Dunham Massey, Acorn, SWB, Marble, Liverpool Organic

or something like that. But I'm aware that most of them are from the northwest.

OTOH, sometimes a pint of something unpretentious like Harvey's Best is the perfect beer. (I meant to blog about my evening on guest beers in Brighton recently - Dark Star and a couple of other breweries kept popping up, but there was no Harvey's to be had anywhere. Perhaps I would have had better luck in Hove.)

John Clarke said...

RedWillow underwhelming? Bollocks - you've obviously been drinking too much Lees and it's curdled your tastebuds. Everyone I know (apart from you and Gazza) really rates RedWillow. Let's face it Tanders, you are just plain wrong on this one.

Anonymous said...

what about
and the in a head to head with Hawkshead i think Fyne would win it on a penalty shoot-out.
cheers john

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

The moral is get a Kiwi Brewer

-Buxton (sort of, JK is a ping pong pom)
-Thornbridge when you all loved them.

And keep them. No Kiwi's left at Thornbridge and you are all less keen. :-)

Tandleman said...

JC: I said underwhelming, not bad. I was very disappointed with all three at Oldham. One didn't clear and tasted awful and the other two were just ordinary to my mind. They didn't sell out either, though only a touch was left in each. My other tries have made me wonder what the fuss is all about. I'll keep trying though.

Others: Dark Star are good, but no Hawkshead. Dunham Massey - great on milds. SWB - Some great stuff. Marble? Far too variable in cask form at least, though when on form, damn good. Liverpool Organic? Tasty beers but can suffer from being too thin. Conwy? Don't know them but will look out for them and same for Ascot, though like Arbor, I have tried them, just not enough to know more.

Kieran: Seems a point on the available evidence

Zak: I suppose it means on top form, doing what it says on the tin etc. Is it all about the beer? Brewers are all nice guys, so yes it probably is, though if a case can be made for including something else, we are all ears.

GeordieManc said...

Dark Star certainly in with a good shout although while a recent Cappuccino was spectactular I was extremely disapointed with Festivale.

Much as I support my local brewery, Dunham Massey just aren't there - a good range of good enough beer including a couple of very good ones, but nothing spectacular. They also fall down on the wider "game" - not good enough on the marketing and distribution.

Amazed to see Phil put Conwy on the list - really? Had so much rubbish from them I tend to avoid!

One from down south that not sure I've had enough to rate, but know others that do is Windsor & Eton.

And not on top of game now but one to watch out for the future, Tiny Rebel from South Wales.

Phil said...

Dark Star are right up there for me, just for producing three such good & varied beers as Revelation, DS Original and Espresso.

I really rate Conwy. Our host would probably hate them, though - their core style is darkish malty bitter.

Marble, variability... yeah. I support my local brewer, but... yeah.

Fair comment on Dunham Massey - they get points from me because when they're good, they're really good. Also for covering a wide range of styles - some better than others, admittedly.

Which brings up another issue. Some brewers mentioned here perhaps get points knocked off for having a core style and not being so strong outside it; nothing pale'n'hoppy from Red Willow, for instance. (Acorn: porters. Conwy: dark bitter. Dunham: milds.) But are we less critical of brewers whose core style is more fashionable? (SWB: hop-monsters. Buxton: hop-monsters. Pictish: hop-monsters...)

Maxwell Power said...

I think I prefer what Arbor are doing more than BBF in Bristol.

The Kernel make some of the best beers I've had recently, all in bottle though. I've struggled to find keg in London and I'm not even sure they cask?

Tandleman said...

I think being able to be great across the range is what I was getting at. Hawkshead from pale and hoppy to porters and stouts, do it all well, though I do believe the new stout isn't as good as the Organic it replaced.

So I think it is right to knock points off either because the reast of the range isn't as good as the core, or, even, if there isn't a rest of the range.

Tandleman said...

I've has Kernel on cask, but their skill lies in bottles I'd say. If that's their game, a good argument could be made for saying they are on top of it.

Anonymous said...

Hawkshead NZPA is one of the greats but one swallow does not make a summer.

Magic Rock
Dark Star
Red Willow

All outclass them in most departments.

Ed said...

I like Hawkshead but they're not even my favourite brewery in Cumbria.

CAMRGB said...

Arbor Ales, Durham Brewery, Windsor & Eton.

Anonymous said...

All crap.

Only Brewdog have anything worth drinking in the UK.


Erlangernick said...

Mallinsons. Have yet to be not amazed, though my sample size is admittedly small...unfortunately.

Magic Rock seem to have a house character which reminds me of packets of sour cream & onion crisps. More so in the couple of bottles I've tried, less so in the cask or keg stuff I had at that new Thornbridge place in Sheffield a couple of months back. Nottingham yeast?

But Hawkshead Windy Pale and that one half of the 3.5% pale, hoppy Buxton treat I found the morning of my departure on my last Manc visit...desert island beers. And the Mallinson's mild. And her various other <4% pale, hoppy ones.

Josh said...

Kernel, Brodies, Magic Rock, SummerWine.

Hawkshead is good, but not as good as those.

Pete Drinks said...

Another vote for Windsor & Eton. Tempting to say Hardknott too, although they maybe don't have the width of range you mentioned.

As for Kernel? I'd love their beer if the bottles weren't half sediment.

Tandleman said...

twDwg: Condemned out of your own keyboard.

Josh: Why?

Ed: What is?

Nick: Well done. You have grasped the concept which for a septic must have been difficult. Beat most of the Limeys too.

CAMRGB: Care to elaborate?

Anon. No name = no courage. Ignored.

Mozart said...

Brodies are brilliant, Magic Rock too. Thornbridge might just pull something amazing out of the bag tomorrow when I try Pond Hopper (the collaboration with Odell)

The Camden Town Brewery make great beer but they also have this street food market thing on Fridays at the brewery. If their game is great beer and good food in one convenient location then they are up there.

Mozart said...

Now I've looked at the website I remember Hawkshead from a trip to the lakes. After walking all day in the snow that was one welcome pint!

TIW said...

Taylors - consistently brilliant and unmoved by fads.

Magic Rock - Stunning. Everything a new brewery should be, and deserving of hype.

Kernel - excellent if you don't get a bottle bomb.

Phil said...

So we should be looking for a really pale pale ale from Red Willow and a big chewy porter from Buxton - and something that's not a hop-bomb from Magic Rock.

On reflection, I still think Dark Star are up there with Hawkshead - with Red Willow, Magic Rock & SWB coming up close behind.

GeordieManc said...

Tandle - can't remember which RW's you had at Oldham. Seem to recall having one of them but can't recall which. Some of the Faithless range don't work but that's what Faithless is - single brew experimentation.

Would agree on Brodies - very good, if tending to concentrate on the low ABV end.

Hardknott good but as Pete said, tends to be the same core beers. If Hardknott are being mentioned then would have to add Kirkstall - not great experimentalists but their handfull of core beers are excellent.

Mallinsons - I like Tara's beers, but by her own admission she's a pale & golden specialist (despite the fact that both her mild and stout are excellent). Touch of Pictish - so many different brews that it's inevitable that some come up lacking.

Surprised about the Magic Rock hop bomb comment - Dark Arts is their must try beer for me.

Other than problems with Thornbridge that I've already mentioned, the only other one that loads are mentioning that would disagree with is SWB. When they are good they are very good but despite trying to go with popular opinion and like them all, I've had to conclude that to my tastes only 50% of their beers are good.

To be fair to Anonymous - I've been finding blogger has been giving me problems in not accepting comments under my Google account, so I've made a few as anonymous recently (have now tracked it down to having to specifically go to the blogger sign in page first for it to pick up the relevant cookie).

Adam said...

Apart from Hawkshead, Buxton & Magic Rock I'd suggest:-

Fyne - Davaar & Lismore series are great IPAs, Rune another low abv pale'n'hoppy beer, and the Stout is Sublime ;-)

Ilkley - Jubilee & Siberia are great new beers to go with their range

Windsor & Eton - Still to try Kohinoor & Treetops, but the rest are great

And for an 'olde-fashioned' brewery I think Twaites are now doing some excellent beers (Logan's Run, Triple C) - not super cutting edge stuff, but interesting & tasty

Dan Brown said...

Oakham. They churn out beer after beer of the highest quality, and have been doing so for ages.

dave u said...

Arbor. 'normal' beers almost without exception excellent, and producing some of the best 'out there' beers in the country

with you on red willow - certainly not bad, but never seem to be owt special...

Mark, said...

Top of their game?

Dean Pugh
Zak Avery
Tom Fozard
Gregg Irwin
David Bishop
Rob Derbyshire

Six home brewers who have not once disappointed me with a beer they've given me.

And they don't shirk on diversity either.

Sat In A Pub said...

Oh dear. On first reading this post I thought; that’s a nice straightforward post that is uncontroversial. If anything, a little dull as there’s not much room to comment. It’s not like as if people are just going to reel off their favourite brewers, is it? But bless my barnacles, it seems to have degenerated into “my brewery is better than your brewery.” Well, if you can’t beat them...

But first, an interlude. First things first: blogging etiquette. Tandleman’s post-Tandleman’s rules. But perhaps he should have been more specific?

From what he has said, I take it to mean a brewery that is offering recognised (i.e. more than you and your cat think it’s all good) quality across a range of beers.

I’m also assuming (he may correct me) that to reach this level of consensus amongst the general drinker, there has to be a certain degree of availability. On those counts, Hawkshead is a clear winner and I concur with his opinion.

Of course, there are several other excellent breweries, but let’s clear the runners and riders a little.

Dunham Massey? I think not. They don’t produce a range of beers by any stretch of the imagination and quality is variable. And before anyone says my cat and I always find it great, I feel obliged to mention that I have even been on a brewery visit and the beer was poor then.

Red Willow: It is very tempting to agree with JC and say Tanders aged palate has been ruined by years of Lees abuse. However, I was in Mr Clarke’s company only this week when he received a negative report about them. And it’s not the only one. I’m afraid the jury is still out on them for many people.

Kernel: Brilliant but bottle specialists. You can go all round London and not see any on draught, so a lot of people have never tried them. The same lack of distribution will rule out many other fine breweries-Brodies etc.

TIW: Taylors? I’m afraid there’s plenty of people would disagree with you there. I know that recent tastings have shown up increasing levels of diacetyl.

I rate Brodies, Summer Wine, Acorn, and Windsor & Eton and, of course, Pictish. And let's not forget the mighty Oakham. but, taking everything into account, I’d say the current leaders are Hawkshead, Buxton and Magic Rock.

neil said...

What about Durham. Had some amazing bottles from them; White Stout, St Cuthberts, whatever the imperial stout is called.

beermunster said...

Their beers are probably not as widely available as some of the English breweries, but I would say Fyne Ales are absolutely worth a mention.

Most people have probably tried Jarl, but but they are brewing some other mighty fine beers as well.

Cooking Lager said...

With all these comments it's clear which blogger is on top of their game ;)

Tandleman said...

Mark: Home brew is all shite. That's a fact is it not?

Tyson: I thought there would be more er... thought in this. As you say, what you and your cat like isn't the point. I think a little objectivity is called for. If you start by saying "I haven't had any recently but.. or "I've only tried one or two and I quite like them"... or "this is my favourite" or the like, then you have clearly missed the point.

Unless of course you have pretty well thought out arguments why.

Dubbel said...

Both Buxton and Magic Rock have seriously impressed me with every beer of theirs I have tried. Not an easy feat considering the wide variety of styles.

I do have an appreciation for Hawkshead too. Their Five Hop and NZPA are both terrific but my exposure to the rest of the range is limited.

Anyone who has had Oakham's Green Devil will know that they are still cooking on gas, as they have been consistantly for the last 8-10 years or more.

Ed said...

When in the lake district I prefer Cumbrain Legendary Ales to Hawkshead. Langdale for pale and Grasmoor for dark.

bornagainst said...

Another vote for Liverpool Organic Brewery.

(and a sneaky vote for the also local George Wright Brewery, who never seem to disappoint)

Anonymous said...

Oakham's Green Devil... wow...

Professor Pie-Tin said...

Sorry to break up the bloggerati dick-waving contest but I'd like to put in a small shout for the Salisbury-based Hop Back Brewery.
Its Summer Lightning is one of the great beers of Britain but it also produces consistently good beer across its entire range.
I'm getting dizzy just thinking about a pint of cool GFB while writing this.

Phil said...

I think this thread is interesting because it is making people think on their feet a bit & revise opinions as they go along.

I think we're zeroing in on three main criteria - range, quality/consistency and profile/visibility/availability - and on that basis I have to say that BrewD- chiz chiz curses curses wot am i saing...

Ahem. On that basis, I think our host has actually got a point; Hawkshead have got strengths on all three fronts.

I may be under-rating Magic Rock, though - everything I've had of theirs has been a hop-bomb (and a very good one), but I realise I haven't had that many of theirs, so I'll retract that comment.

Buxton, though - I was at a Meet the Brewer event of theirs and tried everything I could, and they all had a very strong family likeness. I really don't think they've got the range.

Oakham is a tougher call - nobody could say they all taste the same. But they are rather heavily focused on a core pale'n'hoppy style, and I think that loses them points.

SWB - perhaps still in the rough-edged Marble league.

So it's Hawkshead from Dark Star, with Magic Rock close behind and Red Willow coming up on the outside. Possibly.

Anonymous said...

For consistency alone Salopian and Redemption are great.

landells said...

Tandleman, you should organise a UK Brewery Championship:

Take the top 6 (or so) mentioned breweries from this post... or choose some other selection criteria

Choose a few beer styles - all breweries must supply one beer in each style... and maybe have a "wild card" beer style

Rent some space for the Championship Beer Festival

People turn up, drink the beer then vote on the beer and brewery they believe to be the best

It might not end the arguments/disagreements/discussion but it would certainly be a great couple of days of drinking

Birkonian said...

I'm not long back from 12 nights in Cartmel where I drank Hawkshead every day including 2 trips to the Beer Hall. The beers are superb and the new draught beers such as USPA are as good as any in the country. Also, has anyone else tried the bottled version of Windermere Pale Ale at 6%? Magnificent!

Sat In A Pub said...


Buxton: Are you really telling me that their beer made with rye tastes like their Russian Imperial Stout?

Phil said...

Are you really telling me that their beer made with rye tastes like their Russian Imperial Stout?

Since I haven't had either of them, no! I have had about five different Buxton beers, which tasted far more similar than the descriptions would have led me to believe.

Sat In A Pub said...


That's my point really. It sounds like you've only had a certain section of their core range.

David M - All Gates Brewery said...

As Professor Pie-Tin says there is a lot of bloggerati dick-waving going on here. At the end of the day it's personal choice, but as a brewery owner the top five breweries in the UK that I would like for us to try and emulate at the present time, for all round performance, Beer/Marketing/Advertising/Social marketing etc. i.e. On top of their game - In order 1. Dark Star 2. Magic Rock 3. Hawkshead 4. Fyne Ales 5. Tempest

John Clarke said...

David is right. Personally, I think that closer to home, Phoenix have been at the top of the game for so long that everyone forgets they are there. Totally reliable beers, a whole range of styles and always professionally executed - that's what it's about isn't it?

Sat In A Pub said...

Of course, David is too modest to mention his own little outfit-AllGates-which isn't too shabby:)

Graham said...

I know they are not a trendy new micro available only in Port St but what about Thwaites. They have a core range that has stood the test of time plus the more recent Wainwrights which everyone likes (surely?)and has cornered the Golden ale market in many areas of the NW. To this they have added their bold and almost universally excellent "craft" range which is helping to spread new beer styles to a wider audience in both cask and bottles.

Hawkshead are tremendous though. Had a pint of the standard Hawkshead Bitter the other night and even this had something extra.

Tandleman said...

David - Allgates. Professor Tie Pie makes a good point, though I'd hardly call it dick waving - rather, a complete inability by most to consider the actual point. It isn't just about what you - or your cat likes (copyright Tyson) - but there you go. He is falling into the same trap over over Hop Back though.

Phoenix is a good case of being on top of your game as John Clarke says.

I know nothing about Tempest whatever, so am very tempted on that basis to regard this is not qualifying. If they were THAT on top of their game, I'd like to think I'd know something about them, but I've never even seem them anywhere. Perhaps they are just on top of their game in Kelso? Not a bad list otherwise - but to my mind, the batting order is skewiff.

Good fun this.

Tandleman said...

Graham is grasping the point. I see Thwaites on a continual improvement curve, but his point about "something extra" is a good one. Do that across the whole range - and it has to be a very broad range indeed - and that's what "on top of their game" means to me.

Tandleman said...

landells - your idea, so go right ahead. Just a small credit to me in the programme will be fine.

Phil said...

It sounds like you've only had a certain section of their core range.

At the risk of repeating myself, I had beers which were presented as being very different from one another, not just variations on a theme of hoppy bitter (which was what they actually were). If they're doing a more genuinely varied range these days, good for them.

Anonymous said...

You can't look beyond Greene King, Charles Wells and whoever makes Doombar now.

David M All Gates Brewery said...

Peter - John Clarke & yourself are right about Phoenix being on top of their game; but only so far as their beer is concerned. Their website is poor, and they have no social presence; so fall on at least two counts. Tempest - look out for them, their beer is very very good - and Gavin is slowly getting his act together with a website to come soon. His only problem is he can't produce enough of the stuff for us to see it south of the border other than for the very occasional festival.

Hop Back - well behind all others detailed. Greene King & Charles Wells!!!! And not sure whether Anon. means Sharps or Molson Coors. But can see why he/she chose to remain Anon.

As you say - good fun.

John Clarke said...

I take your point about Phoenix's online etc prescence. I guess that Tony Allen would say that since he currently struggles to keep up with demand he really doesn't need any.

Presonally I think any brewery should first and foremnost be judged by its beer with media and social presences a very long way behind. A bit like an extension of the old maxim about bottled beer - the flashier the bottle, the duller the contents.

David M All Gates Brewery said...

John - Point taken re online presence etc. Many Micro's are in the same position - they sell out every week - as do we - so you think; what's the point of spending hard earned pennies on websites/advertising/social media etc.

The point is that by 2015 it has been estimated that over half of visits to particular pubs or drinking of particular beers will be a direct result of Social Media!

I think it was Robert Collier who said “Playing safe is probably the most unsafe thing in the world. You cannot stand still. You must go forward.” But I agree whole heartedly every brewery must first & foremost be judged on its beers above all else but with a nod to the other elements too.

Anonymous said...

Phoenix are good but not as good as they have been. Arizona has certainly declined.

Pictish are rather good and now do a good Stout.

Hawkeshead are good, but as you pointed out Bodies Prime isn't Organic Stout.

For me Dark Star are the best.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

@Tandleman - sorry, when you invited readers to name a brewery in the UK which they thought was at the top of its game I thought you meant a brewery that consistently produces a good range of beer that doesn't compromise on taste and quality.
Silly me, of course you wanted a more esoteric explanation than that.
Must try harder next time.

Anonymous said...

critch, liverpool organic,

cant really argue with the forerunners here darkstar, swb, magic rock,marble, hawkshead are absolutely great cant agree with tandlemans comments about redwillow, ive had lots of the core range now in cask and bottle and everyone has hit the spot. i think tobys a fantastic brewer easily up there with the rest, and wheres hardknott?? daves beer is fantastic! brodies is excellent too

theyll be a lot more excellent breweries out there but ive not tried 'em or my swiss cheese like memory has left em out

Tandleman said...

PTP. Sorry if I've hurt your feelings. I think my explanation to Graham was what I consider my invitation meant. See also Tyson's comments.

It's all opinion of course, but I'd hardly think of Hop Back as innovative and pushing the envelope. If I'd said "solid" maybe.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

@Tandleman - ah,pushing the envelope.It's years since I heard that one - has it only just arrived 'oop North.
Next you'll me telling me you like breweres with blue skies thinking.
Do CAMRA ever recognise keg brewers " at the top of their game ? "

Graham said...

Further to my suggestion of Thwaites, they are tapping into new markets with their use of social media - they seem to have someone whose job it is to tweet and retweet comments about them on twitter. Easier for a bigger brewery I suppose but it amazes me how many breweries have a poor or non-existent website or don't use free publicity like social media even occasionally. Lots of licensees are looking for new beers but have never heard of many excellent local breweries.

(And Thwaites's craft range pump clips are rather lovely.)

Anonymous said...

Stonehouse brewery don't do a huge range and their beer is hard to find more than 30 miles from the brewery but boy its good. Their bottles are also very very tasty for proper bottle conditioned beer if a wee bit lively occasionally. A thoroughly admirable brewery.

On a far larger and basically unfair comparison level Fullers are excellent and improving too. Their beers consistently keep very very well. Partly down to their excellent cellar training for their own tied pubs.

Anonymous said...

Can we have a weekly chart on a sunday night , maybe with Dave Lee Travis doing the run down, If Brewdog got no.1 we could leave it blank like they did with God save The Queen in 77. I would like some sort of beer off on MTV between Sparkled and non Sparkled beer just to add some fun.

T_i_B said...

I'd agree that Acorn are right up there in terms of consistent excellence.

I may get shot down in flames for this but I also rate Raw Brewery of Chesterfield quite a bit.

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