Say hello to ChattingFood's new beer columnist - Bill Lacy. Kicking off with his first penned piece, read on for five great ideas for your online beer shopping.
Summer is hurtling towards us and we’re already lighting up the barbeques. Time for a few beers! But with so much choice these days, where to start? The days of nipping down the off-licence seems old-fashioned and not everybody fancies going to a specialist shop and wondering what a triple imperial IPA is. But there are some great selections out there that do the work for you. 1. The Bier Company
An online shop specialising in craft beers from across the country, selection boxes feature a range of beers, including some firm favourites, from breweries including Camden Town, Mad Squirrel and Vocation. What really makes them unique are their exclusive own-brand nuts and crisps that perfectly match the beers. Indeed, the company’s former name was Bier Nuts and it specialised in beer snacks that were more than just an afterthought. Founders and best friends Stefan White and Tom Renshaw were inspired by a trip to Bulgaria where they tasted snacks they had never experienced before, and so decided to bring them to the UK. Keep an eye out for the Father’s Day ‘Super Dad’ gift box, complete with 24 beers, snacks, snazzy socks, beer mats and a beer glass, as well as other unique gift boxes. They also offer a subscription service – taking all the fuss away from where the next load of beers will come from. There are a few subscription services out there, but the Bier Company definitely have a USP in this market. RRP Mixed Styles or Lager Edition box: 8 cans of craft beer from 8 different UK craft breweries, 1 x Bier Co Glass, 1 x Pair of Bier Co Socks, selection of 3 snacks from Bier Snacks range: £29.95. https://biercompany.co.uk/ 2. 71 Brewery
Dundee-based 71 Brewery has launched a new India Pale Ale (IPA), Flight Path, the perfect summer beer. But, if you’re like me, you will want the whole gambit of different beers from their range. I particularly enjoyed the Light Wave, a soft, sessionable pale. 71 Brewing was Dundee’s first active brewery for over fifty years and, in addition to their core range, produce small batch seasonal specials. The Brewery is currently on a journey to becoming fully carbon neutral certified by 2025. RRP Multipacks 12xcans: £30-£32. www.71brewing.com 3. Meantime B-side
Greenwich-based Meantime Brewing Co is one of London’s pre-eminent new breweries, with its London Lager and Pale Ale firm favourites across the city. They’ve now launched a new beer: B-Side, a limited edition brew in collaboration with Record Store Day, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the UK’s biggest vinyl event on Saturday 23rd April. All proceeds from the sales will be donated to the official charity partner of Record Store Day, War Child. But it’s not all about just being quirky or promoting a good cause (supporting independent record shops around the world and raising awareness of the rights of children in war). It is actually a cracking beer. So many beers these days are perfectly nice but much-of-a-muchness. Rarely have I had such a distinctive tasting pale – serviceable enough for a summer’s afternoon, but a memorable, unique beer – it’s combination of earthiness and tropical flavours makes this a winner.
RRP £15 for 6 pack or £30 for 12 pack
https://shop.meantimebrewing.com/products/b-sides-can 4. Skinny IPA
With so much choice of beers, even the discerning drinker will be challenged to find something truly new. Step forward Skinny IPA, the next instalment by Skinny Lager, who have mastered the low-calorie but premium beer. Skinny IPA has only 89 calories, making it a whopping 40% lower than similar products. But a high-quality brew at 4%, this is no watery substitute. Even for those who aren’t making conscious lifestyle choice (as well as low in calories it is vegan, gluten free and kosher certified), this is worth seeking out. A clever, innovative, guilt-free beer, Skinny IPA is available on Amazon UK and it wouldn’t surprise me if it becomes established as a market leader in low calorie IPAs.
RRP 6x330m cans £12
www.skinnybrands.com 5. Fourpure
Already established as a key player in the London craft beer scene, with their taproom a must-stop on the famous Bermondsey Beer Mile, Fourpure have rebranded along simple, more inclusive lines – no Captain Neckbeards here but just normal names like ‘Lager’, ‘Session India Pale Ale’, ‘Citrus India Pale Ale’ and the like.
RRP Core Range 12 cans £25.20.