Summer is here, and so are great opportunities to try something new in the beer world. Here are four that have recently caught our beer columnist Bill Lacy's eye:
Everybody has heard of Beavertown – one of the first new wave craft breweries, and set up by the son of Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. Beavertown beer is everywhere. Chances are you’ve had a pint of two of Gamma Ray or Neck Oil. Perhaps less likely, you’ve visited the new taproom in Tottenham – the stuff of dreams. Or sampled one of the lesser-spotted beers, such as Critical Mass, its first gluten-free IPA, or Tropigamma. As its name suggests, Tropigamma is a summery version of Gamma Ray, or “Gamma Ray with the addition of palm trees, a beach hat and loooads of sun”, as Beavertown put it. A firm feature of summers past and so popular, that it’s been released again. A super-tropical, session-worthy IPA, with a real-fruit pulp character that enhances the flavours of guava, mango, mandarin and beach.
(RRP eight cans and a glass for £22 at https://beavertownbrewery.co.uk
2. Macknade Kentish Beer Experience
A wonderful concept, Mackande’s Kentish Experience selects the best of Kentish beers and sends them to your door. Established in 1847, Macknade is a food hall, delicatessen and café based in Faversham. The recently launched Kentish Experience, is a perfectly handpicked selection of ales from the Garden of England, a blend of old and new breweries, showcasing Shepherd Neame, Time and Tide, Romney Marsh, Wantsum, Mad Cat and Curious Brewery, with beer snacks included. The joy of receiving and opening these beautiful Kentish bottles has certainly made my summer already – and the good news is that Mackande offer a subscription service, so you can experience the joy all over again. The box also comes with an elegant little booklet to make beer notes.
(Subscription is £38 for nine beers). www.macknade.com
3. L.A Brewery
L.A is not Los Angeles, but Louise Avery, who followed her dream to create a range from her love of foraging. She has produced some clever, complex non-alcoholic drinks that still deliver on flavour. Citrus Hops is a gently citrus and light sparkling light drink, while Tropical Ginger is less like a non-alcoholic beer and more a ginger ale, but the best ginger ale you’ve ever had, with clever yuzu flavour going on. These are perfect for summer days. Ideal for those looking not to drink or to cut down but these are not the only reasons you should try these wonderful sparkling drinks as they are superb in their own right.
The range is available to purchase from the LA Brewery website, as well as Amazon and Ocado. (RRP £30 for 12x 330ml bottles).
4. London Craft Beer Festival
It’s beer festival time, and where better to go than the capital’s premium craft beer event: the London Craft Beer Festival at the iconic Tobacco Dock, Wapping. The two-day festival, on Friday 12th and Saturday 13thAugust, celebrating its 10th year, and features an extraordinary range of the finest beer from around the the world – over 100 different breweries and over 1,000 different beers. With unlimited beers included in the ticket, even the expert will find it hard to get through the entire day without tasting a new beer. The food line up is pretty impressive too, with offerings from some of London’s best restaurants and chefs, including Fallow, Tacos Padre and Barcelona’s Bar Brutal, with live music and events to complete this jamboree of beer and entertainment. An unmissable event for the craft beer fan. I’m going – how about you?
Tickets are £57.50 for each five-hour session (unlimited beers).