Today marks Britain’s very first National Beer day; Hallelujah, let there be beer!
Dubbed Beer Day Britain, the new event will reoccur each June 15th to celebrate all that is great about beer in the UK.
Interestingly, June the 15th also marks the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, which besides being one the most important documents in history, is also one of the earliest known mentions of that all-important British icon, the pint.
Check out this section, as highlighted in the Beer Day Britain website:
‘Let there be throughout our kingdom a single measure for wine and a single measure for ale and a single measure for corn, namely “the London quarter”‘
So as you can see, while they were busy laying down the foundations for modern democracy, ale was so important to 13th century England they saw fit to establish law and order around its tender. The great British pint was born, and this alone is cause for celebration.
As part of our contribution to today’s festivities, we’ve prepared a list of 4 great British beers to toast the first of many successful Beer Day Britain’s – cheers!
Hook Norton Double Stout
Nestled in the beautiful Cotswolds landscape, Breweries don’t come much more archetypal British than this. Their brewery is one of the finest remaining examples of a Victorian tower brewery; the history of which is complimented by their use of Shire horses to deliver the beers locally.
But it’s not all about the history and fancy Shire Horses; the beers are great too, and their Double Stout is quite possibly one of the finest examples of a classic British Stout available.
The beer itself is bottle conditioned, giving a smooth and full-bodied mouthfeel. Alongside the classic flavours of chocolate and coffee you’d often expect from a stout, the use of black malt also gives this beer a fantastic toast like quality with a dry, bitter finish.
Based on a 100-year-old recipe – Stouts don’t come much more authentic than this.
Meantime – India Pale Ale
As a true strong, and hoppy IPA made with British hops, Meantimes’ take on this classic British style is perhaps the closest you’ll get to tasting the beer that sustained the British Raj in India. Given the huge popularity of new world hops – particularly in the IPA/Pale Ale genre – it’s nice to see someone flying the flag for authentic British hopped beers.
The beer itself is beautifully full bodied, with notes of marmalade and ginger. One to be enjoyed carefully at 7.4%, though.
Fraoch Heather Ale
Since we’re also celebrating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, it seems fitting to include a beer style that resembles the ale of our ancestors in 1215, and for this I have chosen Fraoch Heather Ale.
Ok, I realise that it’s Scottish, and I realise that 1215 England was not in union with Scotland (that didn’t happen until 1707). But it is ‘Beer Day Britain’ and last time I checked, Scotland was still part of Britain, just.
I’ve selected Froach Heather Ale as a nod to beer before hops, when it was truly, ale. You see, before sometime in the 15th century, all beer in Britain was brewed without hops. It was a malt beverage referred to as ale; only when hops were later added did it become ‘beer’.
Before hops, brewers used all kinds of alternatives to flavour beer, including various herbs. Modern day Fraoch Heather Ale does contain a small amount of hops, but the use of Heather to flavour the pint gives you a real impression of what old fashioned ale might have tasted like.
The beer has a light floral aroma, full malt character, and a spicy herbal finish – very unique.
Kernel Brewery’s India Pale Ale Citra
Our 4th and final beer is a much more modern affair; because you see, as the creators of modern democracy and the blueprint for the modern world, it’s important never to stand still. We must celebrate the past while keeping our eyes and minds firmly fixed on the future. For this reason, I have selected The Kernel Brewery’s India Pale Ale Citra as a modern take on a great British beer style.
Brewed with Citra hops, Kernel IPA is packed full of tropical fruit flavours; it embraces the craft beer movement and represents a splendid example of modern IPA’s.
India Pale Ale is one of Britain’s many gifts to the world; the style has travelled across the world, and in Kernels IPA, it has truly come home.