Our top brewery tips for 2017
23 January 2017, By Jonny Garrett
Stop reading this and count to 10. By the time you do, the UK craft beer scene will have got a little bit more exciting. Craft beer is moving so fast that by the time you’ve tried their whole core range, they’ve already doubled capacity, gone into can and sold a share to AB InBev.
Ok that might be slightly exaggerated, but it’s fair to say that some of the breweries below will likely be craft-household names before the year is out. Some will still be absurdly hard to get hold of while some might be in Tesco, but they will all have changed completely by Christmas.
Picking five of this year’s hottest breweries is no easy task, but Tryanuary is a great excuse to try a few new ones and see what the future holds in store. We had over 1,500 already and literally hundreds opened during 2016 - we could have included Villages, North, Affinity, Breakwater... so many, so little time.
Most of the breweries we have chosen are a cut above the rest for their own unique reasons, but for some the beer was just so damn good we had to include them in the list. We urge you to seek all five out, whatever it takes. We’ll be doing the same, and some will appear on the site from time to time very soon. To start with though, they will be going in our beer discovery club. Join here!
For more information, check out the video at the bottom from the Craft Beer Channel, which includes three of these beauties!
Founded right by Cheltenham station, like many breweries DEYA started as a homebrew adventure that got out of hand. Such people are usually hopheads, obsessed with detail and processes, and so are DEYA. They make East Coast inspired hazy juicebombs, where the tropical fruit just leaps out of the glass. Their Steady Rollin’ Man blew us away when we first tried it – all mango and peach but absurdly light. Until recently all these amazing flavours were made using a dry yeast, so once they have their own strain (which they might by now) things are really going to get fruity.
They don’t need the hype – most beer bloggers were fit to burst by the time the first beers cam out – but you can’t ignore the mark that Lost and Grounded have already made. Even if it’s just for restarting the conversation about lager as a relevant craft beer style, they have had a great launch and are now full steam ahead in their giant brewery. It’s taken them a while to dial in the recipes, but their special hoppy lager Running with Sceptres is a juicy, dank bomb of a beer, while Hophand Fallacy – a cross between a wit and a saison – has been wooing non-beer drinkers all over the country. Watch out for their specials (lots of Belgian inspired goodies to come) but get a six-pack of Kellerpils in the fridge because it’s just about the best lager in Britain.
Based in Falmouth, about as far from the rest of the UK as you can get, Verdant has done a fantastic job of making noise around the country. The slick canned branding certainly helps, but the beer inside is remarkable for such a young brewery. Again all about the hop, their IPA, DIPA and special IPA Roy, I Want a Hilux were some of the best hopbombs we tasted all year and the American pale ale, Headband is a stunner too.
Little Earth are unlike any brewery in the country, in many ways the world. They focus on yeast-forward beers, using local microflora and time as the main ingredients to make challenging but rewarding wild beers. That means their beers are unique to them, and even every batch is unique because the temperatures and bacteria vary as the beer ages. We’ve had some incredible beers from them, the highlight being a bretted 10.5% stock ale that had all the depth of a lambic, with some sweetness and sherry notes from strong ale recipe.
Well, they promised us hops when we asked for samples, and that is what we got. Odyssey make bold, bitter, West Coast-inspired beers that a huge on the grapefruit and pine and less on the tropics that have become so popular of late. It’s a refreshing change to crack a bottle and not smell pudding, and these beers are born to go with burgers, wings and BBQ. It might be because they are old men of the craft beer scene, founding waaaaay back in 2008, or it may be because they remember how IPAs used to taste. We love the new stuff, but we’ve always got time for a hop onslaught.