Did you know there are fewer Trappist breweries in the world than there are breeding giant pandas in captivity?
When we get visitors to the warehouse we’re often asked which beers are our favourite. It’s such a hard question to answer and I never take for granted how lucky I am to have access to all of this amazing stock.
With so many great brewers that I admire it is impossible to choose a favourite but there are those I come back to time and time again. I like the ethos of all our brewers, we wouldn’t partner with them otherwise, and they’ve all got great stories to tell.
What I do find though is there are just some beers I gravitate towards and it’s a bit of a seasonal thing so I’ve highlighted my current go to beers. Maybe it’s because the sun is shining but these are the ones that I’ve been most excited about when we’ve had a beer delivery in. I’m just loving all the fruit at the moment and I didn’t realise how much of a theme that was til I selected these.
So, I’ll stop rambling and in no particular order:
Shindigger Brewing; Everythings’ Peachy
A gorgeously fruity, peach infused session IPA. At just 4.2% this is perfect. I’m not a big drinker of DIPA’s and strong beers, especially on a school night. Often, I don’t want anything too complicated and this along with my next fits the bill.
I’m a big fan of all of Shindigger’s brews and I love the fact that when they’ve perfected a recipe they then brew it on a larger scale in a local brewery with capacity. This is a great way to support other breweries and makes economic scale. Until I had Best of British Beer you don’t realise that few breweries brew every single day so there’s often some capacity.
First Chop Jam, Mango Pale
Another Manchester brewery. There are some amazing beers coming out of Manchester at the moment. We’ve been fans of Rik’s work for many years and just like Shindigger, I think I like every single one of his brews and that’s not something you can say about many.
He’s much better at brewing beer than coffee ( he’ll know what I mean! ) This pale ale with added mango is just yummy. Gluten Free and Vegan too.
Salopian Brewery & Polly’s Brew Co: Marches
Ignoring what I said earlier about loving uncomplicated, session IPA’s. This is a complex, multi layered tropical IPA, brewed with fresh grapefruit, mango and pineapple. There s so much going on and I love it. Totally blown away by it. Limited edition and sold quickly. We have a handful of cans left and I’ve hidden them!
using the finest malts, hops, water, and yeast - it’s the people at Little Valley
brewery that are the most vital
ingredient of all. When Wim van der Spek - a qualified master brewer - crossed paths in Nepal with Sue Cooper - a community development practitioner - they discovered that although they were taking different routes, their journeys were very similar.
Wim had reached the end of a seven month cycling trip from Holland to Kathmandu. Meanwhile, Sue was to soon cycle home to England after working for two years with an NGO. Since they first met they have followed a path that has lead to the creation of Little Valley Brewery; considering Wim used to run a beer appreciation club back in his school days, you could say this was fate.
Situated high on the hillside above the beautiful town of Hebden Bridge, Little Valley has developed an enviable reputation for the quality, variety and authenticity of their beers.
Their green credentials are first class and any spent grain from the brewing process is sent to local farmers as cattle feed.
As keen cyclists, Sue and Wim were delighted when the Tour de France went right past their brewery in 2014. They even produced a special beer to commemorate this event and their ‘Stage Winner’ has gone on to be a firm favourite within the two wheel community.
If, like us you like to avoid the crowds in the pub at Father's Day, then why not plan a special day at home. We always do this and then go out for lunch the weekend after so we're still supporting our local pub.
Here are our top tips for enjoying a chilled Father's Day at home. To be fair, it's pretty similar to most of our Sundays. It's just Dad gets to choose his favourite food.
- Make some edible gifts.
[caption id="attachment_594" align="alignright" width="150"] Homemade Beery Fudge![/caption]
This is always a great activity to do with the kids before Father's Day.
Microwave fudge ( recipe below) is our favourite as it not only tastes great but you get to lick the condensed milk spoon afterwards! We made ours with Titanic Chocolate and Vanilla stout and it was delicious.
2. Go for a walk
Just like Christmas Day, you're probably having a big lunch so we always go for a decent walk to build up an appetite. The National Trust website has a list of the best walks with a pub at the end so even if you're not having lunch out, we find a Sunday is always improved with a quick pint at a quality pub.
3. A special lunch
What constitutes a treat is different for everyone and the weather will dictate what you do to some extent. Who wants a roast dinner when it's 25 degrees outside? We tend to play it by ear and keep it simple. Our Beery mac n cheese (recipe below) is always a winner as it can be done in advance, popped in the oven and served with a nice big salad. Think about what Dad really enjoys to eat and make a special version of it. We sometimes pop along to our local farm shop and splurge on a posh ploughmans with quality pork pies, artisan cheeses and delicious rustic breads. All washed own with some cracking ales of course. Which leads me on to...
4. A case of fine ales
With the plethora of quality, independent craft beers on the market there is no need to subject Dad to some bland, mass market beer. We recommend choosing a case of his favourite style from our curated collections or going for a Taster Pack which has 12 different styles. We find that if you're having beer with food, you might want to change the styles as you move through the courses or if you've got a few people round you can cater for all their preferences. Making you the host with the most!
5. Introduce an element of competition
We're pretty competitive and enjoy a pub quiz so often our Sundays often include a few beers and a pub quiz. The Daily Telegraph on a Saturday has an excellent pub quiz that we save and do as a family. They are quite difficult so if we get 15/20 we're delighted. If quizzing isn't dad's thing, maybe get out the old board games.
So, that's our perfect Father's Day at home with a shameless plug for a case of our beers!
Microwave Beer Fudge
Line a 20cm tin with baking parchment
Combine 400g caster sugar with 397g can of condensed milk and 140g salted butter in a large heatproof bowl.
Heat on high for 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.
Add 2 tbsp of Chocolate and Vanilla stout, whisk in and heat for another 2 minutes.
Pour into the baking tin, allow to set for 1 hour. Cut into pieces and pop in a pretty box or tin.
Beery Mac n Cheese
2 cloves of garlic
250ml pale ale
300g cheese- we used a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar.
Melt butter, fry garlic and add milk and pale ale. Bring to a gentle bubble.
Add pasta and stir occasionally until cooked
Throw in the cheese and spinach, stir til melted and then pop in the oven until nicely browned on top.
essence of what the brewery are trying to achieve.
Shindigger was born in
Manchester in 2012, when
University pals Paul and George thought they’d try to generate some much needed funds by selling home brew to their mates. After some initial early success, the guys invested in some brewing equipment and before long, it had taken over their
kitchen. The first seeds of Shindigger had been sown.
Armed with a small loan from the government and shed loads of ideas and
ambitions, Paul and George were soon
delivering kegs around the city from the back of their battered hatchback.
Fast forward to 2019 and the two mates have seriously outgrown their kitchen and the hatchback has long since been scrapped. Shindigger now brew 80,000 pints per month and their beers are enjoyed all over Britain; from
Brighton to Aberdeen.
The company operates on a ‘
shadow brewing’ concept, meaning that recipes are developed on the high tech kit at Shindigger HQ, then produced in big batches in one of three partner breweries across the North West. This not only cuts down on buying expensive equipment, it also utilises ‘
downtime’ in breweries.
We’re big fans of the Shindigger ethos and we feel their beers are great examples of the current trend towards a naturally hazy, hop forward style of brewing.
My first memory of subscription schemes was in 1974 when mum won a year’s supply of comics for me and Sara, my big sister. Sara understandably went for Twinkle (the picture paper specially for little girls) while I couldn’t decide between ‘Shoot’ or The Beano. Imagine my disappointment when mum told me she’d chosen for me and I was going to get 52 editions of World of Wonder magazine to broaden my horizons!
I’m not 100% sure if this salutary tale inspired me to launch the original Best of British Beer subscription scheme in 2011 with a really simple philosophy – to give our customers the ultimate flexibility on their choice of beers and delivery options.
We’re an established craft beer retailer who caters for a variety of beer drinkers. At one end of the scale we work with ‘go ahead’ brewers like Wiper & True, Mobberley Brewhouse and Thornbridge. While a bigger part of our customer base don’t drink on the crest of the craft beer wave, preferring a 4.2% Best Bitter to an off the scale Triple Hopped Raspberry Gose. This is the rationale behind the choices in our beer clubs; we know we can be cool, but our customers don’t necessarily appreciate flashiness.
We normally send 500ml bottles, occasionally we’ll use a 330ml bottle or can if we think the beer deserves to be included. We only ever use independent British breweries. We haven't got anything against European or American beers, in fact we love a beery trip to Brussels, it's just we know a lot about British Beer and not so expert at the rest.
To date we’ve partnered with over 400 different producers from Orkney to the Isle of Wight and everywhere in between. We’re constantly scouring the country for new and exciting brews that our customers want to try, we never feature the same beer twice and we’ve sent out well over 1,500 different bottles.
Our ‘Beer for a Year’ subscription has proven really popular as a beer gift because we give the flexibility of choosing which day the beer arrives. This means that birthdays, anniversaries, Valentines, Christmas or Father’s Day can all be sorted at the click of a button and we also include a free gift card with every delivery.
We offer a variety of different craft beer clubs and give the recipient the opportunity to personalise their beer selections. You can choose to receive the standard mixed case which features a huge variety of styles and strengths. If stouts and porters are your thing, we’ve got that covered, or if you prefer golden or IPAs, you’re sorted too. Some customers even change their preferences during their subscription as their tastes change with the seasons. Even our payment methods are flexible with upfront or pay as you go packages.
Whether you opt for a 6 or 12 bottle plan, you will receive a copy of our ‘On the Hop’ brochure with tasting notes, a pub quiz and a feature on a particular brewery. The first box has a card explaining the beer club, when the next cases will arrive and how to gt in touch with us to change anything.
When you join the scheme you also get a branded Best of British Beer glass as a welcome gift.
humble beginnings with crisp, clean, 4.5% Renegade Lager leading the way and innovative craft specials launching monthly in cask, keg, bottle and can.
Since 1995 the expansion has exceeded every expectation and the business is now based in 68,000 square feet of converted dairy barns set deep in the rolling Berkshire countryside.
Their focus is on creating a thriving business with a passion for beer, whilst striving to build a sustainable future. Surrounding the brewery is a superb natural wildlife habitat created by the recent expansion of their reedbed drainage system and they donate the spent grains for animal feed. The family friendly Taproom and Kitchen serves the full range of WBB beers and you can enjoy a meal while watching the action in the
brewhouse. It’s a stunning set up that is well worth a visit ifyou’re in the area.
The trophy cabinet is testament to their brewing ability and is bulging with CAMRA and SIBA awards including a National Gold. WBB are proud to be anchored by their founder’s principals, with a mix of old and new permeating everything they do.
Cwrw Eryri/Snowdonia Ale is a fine golden pale ale brewed using pale and crystal malts and a blend of aromatic hops to produce a refreshing and full flavour. The perfect thirst-quencher after a hard day's walking in the glorious mountains of Snowdonia.
Ochr Dywyll y Mws/Dark Side of the Moose is a delicious dark ale brewed using a delicate blend of dark crystal malt, roasted barley and Bramling Cross hops the 'Dark Side' exhibits a rich malty flavour balanced with fruity bitterness.
They pride themselves on sourcing water locally from the Welsh mountains and using natural ingredients in their brews. Purple Moose put a lot back into their home with a brewery shop in Porthmadog that sells Welsh products, putting on local events, supporting Welsh breweries and even putting in funds to renovate a railway wagon to carry Purple Moose booze along the Welsh Highland Heritage railway to recreate historical deliveries and to visit local beer and food events.
We also have in stock a couple of beers from the seasonal/craft selection:
Calon Lân/Calon Lân – An amber coloured bitter specially brewed each year for the Rugby Six Nations. Offers a floral aroma with a pleasant fruity hop finish.
Chocolate Moose – A smooth, rich stout with lingering chocolate and vanilla flavours, followed up with a nicely balanced subtle bitterness.
Purple Moose also feature in our Welsh Pride Collection, a 12 bottle case of beers from the finest Welsh breweries
bottled versions for both local and home consumption. With an emphasis on provenance, the environment and sustainability, Dan’s beers are
always left unfiltered, so they are suitable for vegans.
Spent hops go to help grow vegetables at a local allotment and grains to the local dairy herd to munch on. It seemed obvious to name the brewery and beers after local iconic landmarks, the most famous of which is the concrete cows. The poor beasts have been vandalised, painted like skeletons and zebras, been kidnapped (a ransom note sent) and acquired pink pyjama bottoms. They’ve even been listed as one of the ‘one hundred most influential open air sculptures’ and mockingly (but fondly we hope) referred to by the actor Russell Crowe.
Small scale inhouse canning started recently after success in a national competition and the business still remains a lifestyle passion for Dan. The latest twist in the brewery
history is that Dan can no longer drink his own beers due to a serious gluten intolerance. This means that if you want to take over the official brewery tasting job, you’ll need to join a long queue … watch out for the gluten free range in future!!
We’ve featured their Pail Ale in our March selection. A beer to enjoy in the early
season sunshine with a clear golden body and light head.
When I was growing up (admittedly it was a while ago) there was very little choice in any sort of beers, never mind a whole range of gluten free varieties. Fast forward 40 years and our warehouse shelves are full of coeliac friendly beers ranging from low ABV pale ales to full bodied stouts. While most breweries have considered, or are producing at least one Gluten Free product, others have gone ‘full on’ gluten free.
The craft beer scene in Manchester is really thriving at the moment and two of the finest
[caption id="attachment_571" align="alignleft" width="170"] Gluten Free Beer 12 pack[/caption]
exponents have firmly placed their flag in the gluten free camp. Brightside and Wildside in Heywood have a constantly rotating array of bottles and cans including a fantastic Helles lager and a brilliant raspberry ripple. You don’t need me to tell what the former tastes like, but the latter is like liquid ice cream!
Just 17 miles round the M60, First Chop Brewing have already outgrown two buildings in a matter of just six years. The brainchild of former chef Rik Garner, the output, whether in cask, keg or can is certified gluten free. While all their beers are excellent, the stand out brew for me is POP; a 5.4% IPA which has an army of fans on Ratebeer.com. Both feature regularly in our mixed case of 12 Gluten Free beers
It is estimated that over 8 million people in Britain today are watching their gluten intake because they are coeliac sufferers or those simply making a lifestyle or dietary choice and this figure is growing fast. We’ve put together a great taster pack of GF beers featuring First Chop, Wildside and a host of other award winning regional brewers.