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Monthly Beer Club: April 2019. Focus on West Berkshire Brewery

West Berkshire Brewery (WBB) was founded by husband and wife Dave and Helen Maggs in a brickwork’s shed nearly 35 years ago. The second ever brew they produced remains their best seller to this day and Good Old Boy, a 4% Best Bitter has become a local legend in its own right. The range has developed dramatically since those
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.

Brewery of the Week: Purple Moose Brewery

A "40-Barrel" micro-brewery based in the small town of Porthmadog, North Wales. The Purple Moose Brewery have been brewing away since mid-2005. Starting with a one-off special pale ale called "No.1". Nowadays they have a core selection including the multi award-winning Snowdonia Ale and Dark Side of the Moose.

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

Monthly Beer Club: March 2019. Focus on Concrete Cow brewery

Born on 24th July 2007 Concrete Cow was the brainchild of Dan Bonner,ex home brewer. Early days saw the creation of traditional cask real ale and
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.

Gluten Free Beer doesn't mean taste free

Gluten is a protein that occurs naturally in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. As a pretty major ingredient of beer, you’d need to either start without gluten or take the gluten out during the brewing process to be certified as a Gluten Free beer. The rules are pretty clear on what constitutes a product as gluten free; anything that has a lower gluten content than 20 parts per million (ppm).
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


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.

Monthly Beer Club: February 2019: Lacons Brewery & Pub Quiz

A trophy cabinet probably wouldn’t be the first thing you’d think of when designing a brewery, but for Lacons that’s been an essential part of their planning. Their visitor centre has a selection of the 52 cups, certificates and medals on display representing the demand for their beers.

Established as a brewery in 1760, the business was bought, then subsequently closed in the mid-60s, but brewing returned to the east Norfolk coast again just over 5 years ago. Working closely with the Lacon family, the new owners revised the iconic falcon logo and even started using the yeast from the original beer that had been held in deep freeze.

The current Lacons team are just as fastidious about producing a quality pint as their predecessors were 250 years ago. The brewing methods and equipment may be state of the art now, but tradition still plays a part in what they do. The beer range currently stands at 27 different varieties, offering a fantastic choice of styles for both the traditional drinker and the craft beer enthusiast alike. The malted barley is bought from a local specialist supplier and hops are sourced from around the world.

Encore, the flagship beer has been crowned “World’s Best Bitter under 4.5%” on two separate occasions at the World Beer Awards, as well as receiving Overall Cask Champion at the International Brewing Awards (the Oscars of Beer!) and category Bronze at the World Beer Cup.

Monthly Beer Club: December 2018: Focus on Tynt Meadow and Pub Quiz

Did you know there are fewer Trappist breweries in the world than there are breeding giant pandas in captivity? To be specific, there are 43 times more pregnant pandas than monks brewing beer.

While the first Trappist brewery was established over 400 years ago, Tynt Meadow, the sole English producer has only been making beer a matter of months. Situated in rural Leicestershire, the monastery’s motto is ‘Ora et labora’ – pray and work. In order to maintain the historic buildings and provide money for living, the monks have branched out into brewing.
The criteria to become a Trappist producer is very strict guaranteeing quality and authenticity. All produce must be made within the confines of the monastery by the monks, it must be secondary to the monastic way of life and any profit is given to charity.

It isn’t just the beer that is authentic, the bottle label draws on a 12th Century Cistercian script, developed by Brother Anselm Baker. A quill was also used to draw the brewery’s logo of the lancet windows, characteristic of the church.
The beer is only brewed with English malt and hops and is a deep mahogany colour with a nose of dark chocolate and soft fruits. The ideal partner to strong cheese and crusty bread. As you read this, the beer is going through its second fermentation in the bottle.
You might think that monks live solitary lives, but the brothers at Tynt Meadow are always happy to welcome guests -Their door is always open, the heart even more so.

Craft Beer Cans for Festivals



Ever thought about adding craft beer cans to your festival essentials list? It’s that time of year where you bash the mud off last year’s wellies, air out your tent and give your sleeping bag a shake— whether you’re heading to Glastonbury, V Festival or Bestival this summer, the festival season is upon us!

Now, everyone is always thinking of creative ways to smuggle alcohol into campsites with restrictions on glass going in and out of the sites. Gone are the days of seizing a crate of lager for a tenner and lugging it three miles from the supposed ‘drop off’ point to your rough and ready temporary home. Instead, we find ourselves pouring glass bottles carefully into plastics whilst trying not to spill a drop of that ever important festival juice.

But don’t forget the rules between different festivals on alcohol consumption are ever-changing. I’ve always been under the impression that you can take in whatever you can carry or what you feel is deemed ‘appropriate’— a wheelbarrow full of cans is acceptable, right? But no, make sure you check the specifics; for some festivals, you’re limited to just 8 cans per person! Which isn’t a lot over a whole weekend of live music, UV paint and a makeshift bed under a canvas shelter.

So imagine this…it’s raining (of course it would be in British summertime), you’ve lost your mates (which is bound to happen at least once) and you’re craving a nice beer (I can’t promise you it’ll be cold). Which of your favourite breweries is going to be your hero? Here’s just five of our brewery partners that will be your best friend this festival season.

Allendale Brewery


Some might say that Allendale Brewery is based in a very remote location but it’s as well-connected as any with a vision that bursts with enthusiasm. If you’re going to grab a case of craft beer cans for your next festival consider Allendale. Their brew ‘Wayfarer’ is a pale ale with a thirst-quenching peachy taste— why not pick an award-winning brew for an amazing time?

The Brew Foundation


The Brew Foundation is a father and son venture based in Sheffield. At the Brew Foundation, their goal is to ensure that each beer they make leaves people wanting another pint of it— so it’s definitely a must if you’ll be throwing a crate in the tent for the weekend. We’d recommend ‘Hop and Glory’ for a hoppy and tropical IPA that is incredibly moreish.



Mobberley Brewhouse

Taking on Parklife this year? Then Mobberley is the perfect choice for this one as it’s based not far from the infamous music. To make your day extra special why not buy your own share in Referendum Brewery which gives you an opportunity to create your own brew just for you festival day out? Or if you’re wanting just a couple beers to make you a little wobbly check out Mobberley’s ‘Batch 1000’ which weighs in at 10% ABV (note: if you want to remember seeing Liam Gallagher then don’t have too many of these!)

Williams Bros. Brewing 

This Scottish brewery prides themselves on supplying beer that reflects its exceptional historical origins! So if you’re looking to take make a little history at your next festival why not take a beer with you which encompasses years of tradition. We’d recommend the IPA hybrid ‘Caesar Augustus’ which adopts the crisp and refreshing taste of a fine lager.

 

So if you’re heading towards a weekend of musical fun this summer why not round off the experience with some sensational craft beer cans? At Best of British Beer, we sell a number of festival-friendly beers available in slabs— perfect for carrying into camp. Or if you feel like a bit more variety, anything from our Can range will fit the bill

 

 

A Craft Beer for the Royal Wedding


 

May 19th is a huge day for everyone; it’s a day to have a craft beer or two and watch on in awe, hoping to celebrate— it’s the FA cup final! But no, this isn’t what I’m referring to of course. We’ve been blessed with another royal wedding!

Royal fans with a taste for British beer will be able to celebrate Prince Harry and fiancée Meghan Markle's wedding day with a special pale ale brewed in Windsor where the couple get married in just one week’s time. The couple are due to wed on May 19th at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle and the ceremony is billed to be much more intimate than Prince William’s wedding at Westminster Abbey in 2011.

Harry and Meghan are a couple who are embracing what it means to be royal in the twenty-first century! This is why they’re becoming one of the most loved pairs in Britain and across the commonwealth. They’ve already broken royal wedding tradition through their choice of bridesmaids, wedding escort and even their flavour of cake!

In this modern age, we’re able to collectively shrug our shoulders at the foundations that make the ‘perfect royal couple’, because after all there is no such thing as ‘perfect’. We never believed that Prince Harry known for his roguish, bad boy behaviour would ever settle down. His beautiful bride Meghan may be divorced, mixed-race and American but she brings to Britain a breath of fresh air that is needed to revitalise the ancient institutions surrounding the monarchy. The couple who both represent different paths allow the Royal family to replicate a realistic image of modern British families, in a union which will be viewed worldwide.

But how can the British public celebrate this highly anticipated event? Windsor and Eton brewery, just a stone’s throw away from Windsor Castle have just the thing. The brewery is thrilled to once again play a part in the Royal nuptials, with ‘Harry and Meghan’s Windsor Knot’ being a craft ale which acts as the sequel to the limited edition beer made for Prince Harry’s older brother William’s wedding to Kate Middleton.

Windsor and Eton Breweryhave put a lot of thought into creating a flawless ale which reflects the personalities of both parties. The Windsor Knot embodies elements of the British and American craft beer scene. It was inspired by the couple’s first public appearance together at the Invictus Games in Toronto last year. They’ve decided to marry British hops called Invicta in recognition of Prince Harry’s role in creating the Invictus Games, with some impeccable American West Coast hops to represent Meghan’s American nationality. This beer is finished off with champagne yeast giving it that extra special, bubbly feel.

The brewery has even considered the bottle design of this pale ale by incorporating the Union Jack alongside the Stars and Stripes of the US flag. They’ve even presented the interlocking male and female symbols on the label to reflect that the marriage is one of strength and empowerment. Both the pair openly support causes that they feel deeply about such as; environment, equal rights and rehabilitation of injured service men and women.

I suppose we’re all a little bit gutted that the wedding falls on a Saturday— I’m sure we’d have all loved another bank holiday. But you can still celebrate in style with a taste of British craft beer.

Harry and Meghan’s Windsor Knot is available in 330 ml of 4.5% ABV and also in cask at 4%, so with subdued strengths like that nobody will be getting royally wasted, either.  Check out our website to get your hands on something special, don’t just settle for a commemorative tea towel or coffee mug.

Women in Beer Brewing

Ever thought about who's behind the scenes of beer brewing? With it being the centenary year since women finally gained the vote we’re asking ourselves, is it still a man’s world? Well, we don’t think so! Beer has often been considered ‘a man’s drink’— its men that kick back with a nice cold beer after a hard days labour, whilst the women sit by and sip wine delicately in the corner. But it’s the twenty-first century and times are changing with just over 25% of the beer drinking population being made up of women. But have you ever considered who’s working behind the scenes, brewing the beers that you love so much?

 

Women have been active in brewing since ancient times; in many cultures, they appear as deities, goddesses and protectors of brewing. In Medieval England, women brewers known as ‘brewsters’, alongside alewives completely ran the ale trade. They provided not only to their husbands and other male relatives but to inns, public houses and businesses nationwide; making them true entrepreneurs.

 

However, in the last hundred years, the pub has been seen as a refuge for men to ‘get away from the wife’, with slogans such as ‘Saturday’s are for the boys’ becoming common tongue. We could say that industrialisation is to blame for the influx of sexism in beer brewing, the introduction of heavy machinery and bulkier operations dictated that brewing was for men and this pushed women off the bar stools and out into the cold.

 

In recent years the British beer brewing scene has dramatically changed, largely due to the arrival of microbreweries and their culture of quirky beers available across the UK. The return of local breweries has made it possible for women to once again move out of the kitchen and into the brewery, defying the typical stereotype that beer is for men. Check out some of the top female run UK breweries below and prepare to be inspired.

Montgomery

 

Monty’s brewery has had an exciting journey! It started out as a small, family-run startup and is now an established brewery exporting beer worldwide. In June 2008 owners Pam and Russ Honeyman were having a quiet pint when they pondered the question ‘shall we build a brewery?’ They’ve never looked back, Pam attended university and came back with what was to be an award-winning recipe! Their brewery is largely run by a dedicated team of female brewers— that’s pretty great for the world of women’s brewing.



Boss Brewery, Swansea

 

The name ‘Boss’ originates from the fact that there aren’t that many female brewers, even though brewing was originally dominatedby women. Owner Sara John created Boss Brewery with her partner Roy Alkin and she wanted to change opinion surrounding women in beer brewing. Their slogan ‘breaking the brewing boundaries #LIKEABOSS’ stands perfectly as a motto for diversity.


 

                                               Stray Cat Brewing, Stone




Sarah Bradford has brewing in her blood as her parents own Lymestone Brewery in Stone. As a young twenty-three year old she wants to walk her own path by creating innovative new beers. She didn’t want to feel creatively restrained by the brews already existing at Lymestone so decided to go her own way. Sarah is an inspiration for female brewers and feels that her gender shouldn’t restrict her love for all things beer.

 

 

                                              Wild Card Brewery, London



Head brewer at Wild Card, Jaega Wise is a strong campaigner for eradicating sexism within the brewing industry. She spoke at a Brewers Congress in London and urged organisations such as CAMRA to help change gender prejudice in beer brewing. Wise feels that there are three practical ways to improve the status of women in the beer industry in 2018, including; banning sexist beer labels, stricter advertising standards and a call for more information about female brewers.

 

So if you’re captivated by the women making a stand for gender equality in brewing, then why not try out some of their brews? Here, at Best of British Beer we’re huge advocates of women in brewing— so head to our website and land yourselves a bottle of revolutionary beer.

A Craft Brewery in Focus: Mobberley Manchester

We’re incredibly fascinated by the work of James Roberts one of the country’s youngest craft brewery owners. James started out fresh from finishing his degree at Bangor University as a novice in the brewing scene— he taught himself the basics and has grown from strength to strength. James set his sights on cracking the brewery scene with his innovative and investigational range of craft beers and he’s achieved his goal and then some.

Mobberley Brewhouse is known for its dangerously good beers which are often incredibly hoppy. They take modern beer styles and extend the limitations of brewing. Their double IPA ‘Pipe Dream’ is infamous for being one of the hoppiest beers produced in the UK. Not only has James focused on hops, his Brewhouse is enamoured by the infusion of fruit in beer. This is something which has become increasingly popular over the last decade, they took the risky initiative before fruit beer was determined trendy. All this combined makes Mobberley’s reach impressively extensive; they provide cask and keg ales to pubs, bars and restaurants in the North West and Nationwide.

Mobberley are particularly excited about their brand new ‘White Label’ range! They’re producing seasonal and experimental limited edition brews which all have their own individual charm and purpose. Whether it’s to pack a punch by manipulating alcohol strengths or to tantalise the senses by introducing astonishing new flavourings, these British beers are ones to watch.

Head brewer at the craft brewery, James, said: ‘I drank cask beer in pubs around Manchester before craft beer became popular. When I started to see more American beer coming through I thought that these guys were on to something, and this inspired my experimentation with dry hopping and heavy hop usage’

Mobberley is celebrating their one-thousandth brew since their creation as a craft brewery in 2011. They think that’s pretty incredible and we’d have to agree! So what better way to celebrate such a momentous occasion that with an extra special batch. This one will really knock your socks off as the Imperial IPA weighs in at 10% ABV. But what do you expect from a beer of such strength? Our directors had the privilege of sampling this brew and couldn’t believe the taste; this ale is relatively light, but it soon sneaks up on you when you end up feeling a tad wobbly on your feet.

This year there’s another celebration that James’s looking forward to which will definitely involve toasting with a few beers or many. But how would a beer lover and brewery enthusiast celebrate the day he says ‘I do’?  The answer, of course, being— with his very own limited edition beer. White Label brew ‘Save the Date’ takes its alcohol strength of 5.8% from the date of the wedding.

In the future, this Manchester brewery, buried in the humble heart of the Cheshire countryside is looking to expand from their already thriving brewery, shop and taproom into the bar industry. They’ve recently purchased two bars in the area and are hoping to spread the name of Mobberley Brewhouse nationwide— they want Mobberley to be a place where all can feel enamoured by Craft Beer.

We love Mobberley which is why we’ve chosen them to nurture our latest brain child; Referendum Brewery. We want to makes sure our customers can get the full British beer experience, so what better way than for them to have influence in every step of the brewing process? They’ll start out by choosing the ingredients we throw into the beer, then deciding on alcohol strength, and finally choosing the name and label design. We think this collaboration is pretty fantastic, and we’re proud to have such a good relationship with Mobberley.

Want to try out Mobberley Brewhouse’s finest? Then why not head to our website to pick up a selection of the fantastic beers we have to offer from this remarkable craft brewery. Or if you’re feeling adventurous why not pick up your very own share  featuring a brew by Mobberley, which is designed by you.