Wed 01 Feb 2017

New Craft Beers For 2017

By

Being given the opportunity to take over beer-buying duties for The Society was something that I grabbed with both hands.

In my opinion, the world of beer is every bit as varied as the world of wine, with just as many stories to tell and discoveries to be made. I hope to build a range here that reflects this. Craft beer has skyrocketed over the last few years, providing an exciting platform for so many brilliant small breweries to make their statement to the world.

And as The Wine Society is made up of people who take an interest in what they drink and who care about quality and provenance, it makes perfect sense to shine a light on these delicious artisanal brews.

Jaega Wise, head brewer at Wild Card brewery in Walthamstow

Jaega Wise, head brewer at Wild Card Brewery in Walthamstow

I’ve started expanding our range to make your Society a place to discover exceptional beers as well as wines, and would like to invite our members to join me on a trip of discovery.

Starting this year, we’ll be stocking some of the most interesting, daring and delicious beers from some of the best breweries in the UK and beyond.

Also new for 2017 is the option of being able to purchase bottles of beer individually, rather than just via a mixed case, so you can stock up on more of what you like best.

A truly good beer is something which you can enjoy in a similar way to a glass of wine. It should have layers of flavour, depth and complexity. And the great news is that exploring the world of beer won’t cost the earth. Since beer may cost £2 or £3 a pop (although some are much more and some less), you have the opportunity to taste a number of different styles for a much smaller outlay than it would cost you to sample an equivalent number of wines. You can really leave your comfort zone and try things you never would have thought you would like. What’s the worst that can happen? A £2.75 miss, against the possibility of discovering a thrilling new favourite with every last drop cherished!

Gipsy Hill Brewing Company: (left to right) founders Charlie and Sam, and head brewer Simon

Gipsy Hill Brewing Company: (left to right) founders Charlie and Sam, and head brewer Simon

There are no rules with craft beer, no constraints to what people might try to make. It truly is fascinating and exciting to follow. Like buying the wines of Burgundy, sometimes the best way to explore is to find a producer whose beers you like and keep an eye on them for new releases (but unlike Burgundy, if you decide to branch out, then the financial risk is minimal!).

I’m also fascinated to hear about some of your favourite beers too!

Is there is a brewery you’re a particular fan of? A drop which has stuck with you forever? Do leave a comment and let us know.

2017 is sure to be a crafty vintage at The Wine Society…

Freddy Bulmer
Society Buyer

Browse the latest craft beer arrivals here.

Comments

  1. Rob Burgeman says:

    What a great idea to follow some good craft beers. St Austell Brewery in Cornwall is mainstream in some of its products – Tribute etc. – but does a fabulous range of limited edition craft ales in its Small Batch Beer range. Wheat Beers, Belgian style lagers, flavoured porters are in the current batch, but we have had lemon flavoured beers and beers with samphire in the past. Really interesting stuff!

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Rob,

      Thank you very much for the suggestion. I haven’t yet branched out to Cornwall just yet but I am keen to scour the whole of the UK for good beer, so I will be sure to investigate!
      Many thanks,

      Freddy

  2. Mike Green says:

    I am a big fan of the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

    I first tried it in a bar in the middle of Death Valley California and every time I taste it it take me right back there.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Mike,

      Ah! Sierra Nevada are arguably one of the world’s best, if only because of the part that they have played in what we now know as “craft beer”. Good call indeed.

      Freddy

  3. Dominic Rice says:

    Beer: the Nogne O brewery in Norway (https://www.nogne-o.com/) – a bit expensive (especially in Norway!) but fantastic flavour. Local delicatessen to me sells 2 of them, adn one can find one or two of them occasionally in M&S or Waitrose; but they produce at least a dozen or so different ones (saw an impressive display fo their full botteld range behind a bar in Norway recently – unforutnately could not sample them all). Seems to have been a craft beer boom in Norway over last few years – as elsewhere.

    Alos: Emmanuales here in Sheffield.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Dominic,

      Thanks for the tip. There is some truly superb beer being made in that part of the world. When we do it so well here in the UK it’s easy to forget that there is amazing beer to be explored from elsewhere and for me, Norway and Denmark too are doing some really exciting things.

      I must admit I haven’t come across Emmanuales before, so I shall investigate!

      Very best,

      Freddy

  4. Colin Brown says:

    Tempest Brewery in the Scottish Borders, and 6 degrees North in Laurencekirk. Both excellent!

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Colin,

      Ah yes, Tempest and 6 degrees North are both doing some exciting things at the moment! It’s great that there is such good craft beer in the UK outside of London, which is something so many people forget, unfortunately. Hopefully we will be able to shine a spotlight on some of the most exciting breweries in the whole of the UK over the coming months/years.

      Thanks for the recommendation!

      Best wishes,

      Freddy

  5. Ben Emmerson says:

    Hi Freddy, you should check out the tiny rebel brewing company in Wales – their Clwb Tropicana is outstanding! Ben

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Ben,

      Thanks for the tip-off! I have tasted a couple of their beers in the past and found them to be excellent. Their Cwtch is a favourite of mine, as it is, I am sure, to many other beer-lovers and not surprisingly so, since it’s earned them a few awards I believe! They are an excellent and diverse brewery and exactly the sort which I hope to be able to work with at some point down the line.

      Thanks again,

      Freddy

  6. Jamie Anderson says:

    There is a micro brewery in Newcastle called Northern Alchemy and they do really interesting/unusual things. Worth a look.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Jamie,

      Thanks very much indeed for the recommendation. I haven’t tried the beers from Northern Alchemy but do hope to do so before too long! Quality beer brewing seems to be booming in the north and it’s every bit as exciting as what’s going on in London and elsewhere, so I will certainly be investigating.

      Cheers!

      Freddy

  7. Richard Morris says:

    Best bottled beer I’ve drunk recently was Ilkley Dinner Ale.

    http://www.ilkleybrewery.co.uk/our-beers/item/dinner-ale

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for the suggestion! From May onwards, along with a “craft beer” selection I am also hoping to offer a “Real Ales Mixed Case” which can offer an experience as close to that when you go into a really good real ale pub and delve into what they have on the guest hand-pulls – an opportunity to explore top quality real ale, in the comfort of your own home! This Dinner Ale from Ilkley Brewery is exactly the type of beer you can expect to find in this selection, so I would recommend giving the case a go later on in the year when it appears.

      Very best wishes,

      Freddy

  8. Anne Cowper says:

    I hope you’ll be considering some Welsh beers. My local, Gower Brewery, is going from strength to strength & there’s a lot more down here in Southwest Wales.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Anne,

      Thank you for your message. I will indeed certainly be considering some Welsh beers! I am on the hunt for really delicious beer and will go to wherever that hunt takes me! I will look up Gower Brewery, so thank you for the suggestion.

      All the best,

      Freddy

  9. Ross Gemmell says:

    It’s great to see the Society branching out into craft beer.

    Over Christmas I was given a mixed case of beers from Lost Industry in Sheffield, which I’ve really enjoyed so they’d be worth investigating.

    Their Converter pale ale was excellent and they do a very interesting line of Belgian style sour beers.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Ross,

      It seems that it’s all going on in the north with craft beer, which is really exciting. As someone who grew up in Yorkshire I plan on scouring the area for top-class brews and will ensure I taste Lost Industry’s beers before too long, so thank you for recommending them.

      There are some extraordinarily good sour beers available, my personal favourite at the moment being Sur Amarillo by To Øl in Denmark, so I will have to taste your suggestion too.

      Thanks very much and happy drinking!

      Freddy

  10. David Withnell says:

    As a big fan of craft beer I look to those that are based on the “Bermondsey Beer Mile” as the leaders in the UK. Try Fourpure, Partizan, Brew by Numbers, The Kernal and Anspach & Hobday.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi David,

      A man after my own heart! Some really excellent breweries there and exactly the sort of breweries which are so exciting to follow at the moment. They each seem to push each other too, meaning that they are always progressing and making amazing beers. I must admit though that I am yet to taste anything from A&H, so I will ensure I do before too long!

      So many beers to get through! it’s a tough job… (but somebody has to do it!)

      Very best,

      Freddy

  11. Bob Crabb says:

    Dear Freddy

    I can recommend Tractor Shed Brewery in Workington. A great range of tasty beers.

    https://www.tractor-shed.co.uk/

    Bob Crabb

  12. Brian Simmons says:

    Delighted to see more attention being given to beer.

    My delight is finding traditional recipes for 80 shilling or ‘heavy’ beers plus of course the odd barley wine.

    Enjoy your research!

    Brian Simmons

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Dear Brian,

      Thank you for the kind comment.
      Yes the odd barley wine can indeed be great. Often a good way to end the night!

      Very best,

      Freddy

  13. Lorin Davies says:

    This is a great step for The Society, and the beers listed here by the members sound really intriguing, I also think that it would be nice to pick according to style and theme – I often have wine tastings of a particular varietal or region with friends and it would be great to do similar with beers.

    As for my recommendation – Cheddar Ales, Potholer. A fantastic somerset brewery and a beautifully balanced traditional pint!

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Lorin,

      Thanks for the comment, I’m really pleased to see that you and other members are as enthusiastic about good beer as I am!
      To get the ball rolling, I hope to be offering a mixed case of craft beers in each list but when things eventually take off I hope to be able to offer more choice online too.

      I will look into the beer which you mentioned.

      Thanks again,

      Freddy

  14. Can I recommend the XT brewery at Long Crendon? They do an excellent range of “mainstream” draught beers under the XT label, and then a range of off-piste specials under their “Animal” label – not every one to my taste, frankly, but there’s no denying the skill and care that goes into what they do. Always something interesting going on…
    (PS I have no personal involvement, other than as a customer!)

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Peter,

      You most certainly can! Anyone who’s products are made with real skill and care are well worth looking into. I’m a fan of interesting beers, even if they are sometimes a little weird and wonderful!

      Very best,

      Freddy

      • Andy Mayes says:

        I’d second Peter’s remarks about the XT brewery and I know at least three Wine Society members who would be really interested in your view of them (and they will probably buy through the society if they are available!)

  15. Iain MacG says:

    In Scotland, in addition to previous suggestions, have a look at Cairngorm, Loch Lomond (SIBA award winders and their Southern Summit is one of the finest pale ales you will taste!), Fallen, Alechemy and Cromarty.
    Also many good ones worth looking at in Cumbria.

    Shout if you’re doing research in Glasgow…!

    PS Leeds isn’t north 😉

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Iain,

      That is funny what you say about Leeds not being North! For someone who grew up in North Yorkshire, I always considered Leeds to be South too. Perhaps I’m going soft since moving to Hertfordshire!

      Always nice to be recommended particular places North of the border. Being based so close to London at The Wine Society, as you can imagine it would be easy to get stuck in a bubble of London breweries, so a tip off from the (proper) north is much appreciated!

      All the best,

      Freddy

  16. Hugh says:

    As a Coeliac I mourn the day I stopped being able to drink real ales, but I think this move is great. Please can you also do some Gluten free beers (Nene Valley springs to mind – proper artisanal beer and mostly GF), as well as maybe a few artisan ciders. Also not sure if this is your remit, but what about spirits. You should really be expanding the Gin selection if nothing else.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Hugh,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes that’s surely a struggle to deal with for a lover of real ales! Although I am committed to buying on the grounds of quality of taste first and foremost, I will be sure to keep an eye out for beers which tick the GF box too! A little offering of cider is on the cards for a little closer to the summer time too, which is also exciting stuff.

      Spirits isn’t me I’m afraid, however I will pass your message on to my colleague, Sarah Knowles MW, who has taken on the buying of spirits since Mark Buckenham’s retirement at the start of the year. I can assure you that she is on the case though, so do keep an eye out for developments.

      All the best,

      Freddy

      • Tony Wallbank says:

        Hi Freddy,

        I second what Hugh says. I used to love a real ale, now too few GF ones available since I’ve been diagnosed Coeliac. I was in heaven when, in Maine last year, found a whole rack of GF beers from across the world in the craft beer store in Portland. I bought one of each of them.

  17. Will Denne says:

    With the whole of the U.K. to play in and we end up with 5 out of 8 being in London? Surely this is not reflective of the industry? I only have to go into my local Spar (in the middle of Mid Wales) to find 25+ craft/local ales from Nationwide – with the majority NOT from London.
    Could do better perhaps?

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Will,

      Thank you for your comment.
      I am more than aware of the superb beers available outside of London (I had an excellent porter from Scotland’s Fallen Brewing co and a delicious wheat beer from Denmark’s To Øl just yesterday) but for us as a business it was important that we start off small and modest with our first offering, as we had absolutely no idea how well a selection of beers would go down! It would be a disaster to source beers from further afield and have to purchase a vast amount of each for them to just sit in our warehouse and go bad. Because of that, we have started out with a few breweries from whom we can work with smaller quantities and still be able to offer delicious and fresh brews.
      Now that things seem to be going extremely well, a little closer to summer/autumn, you will start to see all sorts of interesting beers from some of the most exciting breweries throughout the UK. As things grow more, we may branch out further afield.
      This is only the beginning!

      Very many thanks,

      Freddy

  18. Chris Paris says:

    Check out the Walled City Brewery in Derry. I like their ‘Kicks’ named after the local band The Unddrtones hit ‘Teensge Kicks’. Best, Chris

  19. Antony Willman says:

    Some breweries local to us are well worth investigating. Three Castles (Pewsey), Shed Ales (Pewsey – may be too small for bottled but they have opened a micropub which is well worth a visit), Stonehenge Ales (run by Stig, a Dane!) and Ramsbury which is pretty well known. If you are in the area, pop into the Ship in Upavon for a beer and/or the Red Lion at East Chisenbury for some Michelin cuisine (and they have 3 real ales on).

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Antony,

      Thanks for the message. That sounds like a cracking day out if nothing else! Good to hear that there is what sounds like a cracking brewing scene near you and should I be in the area, I will be more than happy to do some “investigating”!

      Happy drinking!

      Freddy

  20. A great idea, love it. Please try The Humpty Dumpty Brewery in Reepham, Norfolk and the Two Rivers Brewery at Denver near Downham Market in West Norfolk. I shall follow this development with great interest and enthusiasm.

    Best wishes,

    John

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi John,

      Thank you for your comment and it’s great to see your enthusiasm for good beer! Do keep an eye on future developments coming this summer and onwards.

      All the very best,

      Freddy

  21. Chris says:

    Hi Freddy,
    Pleased to hear of this new venture. If you can source any Alaskan beers that would be great. Alaska Brewery of Juneau do a lovely Alaskan White and an Amber. Broken Tooth Brewing of Anchorage and their linked Moose’s Tooth Pizzeria would be well worth a field trip if you can swing it!

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Chris,

      I’ve always wanted to go to Alaska!
      At the moment, I am going to keep things focussed on UK beers, just while we build things up and get it all ticking over nicely. This is just because we can more easily ensure freshness and also while we are getting used to required stock levels for beers, we can easily get a top-up delivery from a more local brewery (hence why most of the beers on offer now are from London, not far from The Society’s HQ).
      However, when things start to really get off the ground, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t branch out to places further afield, so when that time hopefully comes, I will drop some heavy hints about a trip to Alaska 😉

      Very best,

      Freddy

  22. Ian Surman says:

    Woodfordes Brewery in Norfolk produce some very good beers and I especially like their Nelsons Revenge.

    regards

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Ian,

      Thanks for the tip, I hadn’t heard of them before so will look them up to see what’s what!

      All the best,

      Freddy

  23. Donald says:

    Don’t know if it counts as a “craft beer” but I am very fond of Chapel Down’s Curious Brew. (Good value at Majestic!)

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Donald,

      Thanks for the comment. I have tried the Curious Brew before and it is a good, sturdy beer. As you quite rightly say though, it is indeed good value in Majestic, so we will leave them to it.

      If you like Curious Brew, you should try the Brick Lane Lager in our current little selection. Let me know what you think of it!

      Very many thanks,

      Freddy

  24. Ian Surman says:

    Woodfordes Brewery in Norfolk make some very good beers and I especially like their Nelsons Revenge. Heaps of flavour and very smooth.

    regards

  25. Paul says:

    The (relatively) new Stannary Brewery in Tavistock, Devon does some excellent craft beers. They also open their tap room up for tastings (& purchases) most Thursday evenings and other special occasions (like watching 6 Nations rugby, for example). Good beers, some adventurous recipes and a great bunch of enthusiastic brewers.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Paul,

      6 Nations on the TV and a good beer in hand is my idea of heaven (a decent pork pie doesn’t go amiss too)!
      I will look them up as the adventurous recipes sound interesting.

      Many thanks

      Freddy

  26. John Dryburgh says:

    If you could get hold of Harpoon IPA and some of the other beers (particularly their Stout/Porter) they do – even their cider – I’d buy a LOT of it from you 🙂

    Based in Boston – http://www.harpoonbrewery.com/

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi John,

      Thanks for the comment.
      Eventually we may well look at a few beers from the USA but we need to get the ball rolling properly first to see what the potential is. Some of the best craft beer comes from the USA but the tricky thing at the moment is ensuring we sell beers as fresh as possible, so we are starting small and more local for now.
      Who knows what the future holds though!

      All the best,

      Freddy

  27. Paul says:

    If ever you find your way to Italy, there’s an interesting Anglo-Irish brewery that has recently been launched in Bassano Romano, just north of Rome. It’s called the Hilltop Brewery and is already beginning to pick up awards in Italy where it appears sales of craft beers are booming: http://hilltopbrewery.it/home-en/
    Good luck with the new venture!

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks very much. As a lover of all things Italian, it is good to see that they are making some really interesting beer at the moment. Puglia has a particularly fantastic micro brew scene but it looks like Lazio is doing interesting things too!

      Very best,

      Freddy

  28. Nigel Waller says:

    You have to try Bedlam’s range. Delicious. Fabio is the head brewer and a real character.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Thanks Nigel. It’s always nice to find a real character who’s personality comes through in the product.

      Very many thanks,

      Freddy

  29. John Robins says:

    Interesting. Each to his own I know but real English ale floats my boat. Not keen on sweet gassy lagers.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your comment.
      It really comes down the quality of the particular beer for me. Overly gassy and tasteless lagers aren’t any fun but when it’s done properly a good lager can be superb. I too do like a good glass of top quality ale though!
      Hopefully we will have a nice little selection of traditional beers as well as more crafty numbers coming your way this summer.

      Very best,

      Freddy

  30. Donald Carmichael says:

    Purity Brewers Mag
    D Goose ale is as good as it gets from a pale beer.

  31. John Malone says:

    Scotland is the place to look for the best new beer. Tempest, Fallen, Fierce, 6DN, Swannay, Campervan, West and especially Pilot are brewing some of the best and most interesting beers around. Harviestoun and Traquair make some great dark beers and Fyne and Williams both have great ranges.

    From England, Lost and Grounded are always worth watching. It would also be great to see some of the hard to find Irish breweries like Galway Bay, Trouble Brewing and Mescan.

    Good luck with the new range

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi John,

      Totally agree, Scotland is doing some brilliant beer at the moment. I had a particularly good smoked porter and a salted caramel stout (much nicer than it sounds!) from Fallen just last night. Harviestoun are a fantastic brewery who manage to strike a good balance between interesting, tasty beers and consistently good quality.
      We have something a little special coming from Harviestoun later in the year, so watch this space.

      Lost and Grounded are great and making interesting beers already, with quality coming first over whacky recipes which is good for a young brewery.

      Very many thanks,

      Freddy

  32. Dan C says:

    Hi Freddy, you can’t go wrong with real ales and craft ranges from Oakham, fantastic quality across their range. Similarly, the Herts local Red Squirrel brewery is amazing, definitely worth a visit!

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Dan,

      Thanks for the tip. I have seen Oakham around and had one or two of theirs. I know Red Squirrel but haven’t tasted their beer, which is bad of me since they are only down the road! Must do something about that really…

      Thanks very much,

      Freddy

  33. Paul Temple says:

    Hi Freddy,

    A particular favourite of mine (following Iain MacG’s point) is the Hawkshead Brewery at Staveley, near Kendal in Cumbria. Their Lakeland Gold is a lovely crisp, sharp lager, and Windermere Pale Ale has lots of flavour. They do a quite unusual Red Ale too.

    It’s annoying how a few beers trade on the Lake District brand, but when you examine the labels closely, you see that the appear to be brewed in Slough (or somewhere…). Hawkshead is the genuine article, though, and they have a great beer hall at their place in Staveley.

    I appreciate these aren’t craft beers, but I’ve often thought that the Society should get a good Czech or Slovak brewery to produce a nice lager for it – the equivalent of its Exhibition wines.

    Best wishes

    Paul

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Paul,

      Thank you. All though I have only had one or two of theirs, the Hawkshead beers do seem to be good quality. It’s nice that they embody the same “terroir” approach that you find with good wine, in that they really speak of where they are from.

      It would be great to get a little own-label offering together, who knows what the future may hold!

      All the very best,

      Freddy

  34. Graham Howard says:

    Although a long time member of the Wine Society for the wine, I’ve never been adverse to good beer. Consequently, all good wishes to you in your quest.
    From the North Norfolk coast I thoroughly recommend you check out The Norfolk Brewhouse – an outstanding micro-brewery with a fine reputation and plans for the future. The future is enhanced by the multi award-winning Bruce Ash, a fully qualified sommelier as well as ace brew chap, has spent 29 years at Norfolk’s longest established brewery – Woodefordes, joining The Norfolk Brewhouse team.
    See
    http://www.norfolkbrewhouse.co.uk/brewery-blog/2017/02/brewing-up-plans-as-new-brewer-arrives.html

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Graham,

      Thank you for the well wishes.
      I will be sure to look into Norfolk Brewhouse as it’s interesting to hear about a sommelier being involved in the brewing. I would be fascinated to see if he has applied any sort of wine-approach to the brewing!

      All good stuff!

      Best wishes,

      Freddy

  35. Bob says:

    It’s great to hear the society is branching out into beer too. We are living in a golden age of brewing just now and finding beers of quality and flavour is becoming easier. I’ll throw in recommendation for the Thornbridge Brewery who are really trying some innovative things and producing good quality beers. I love their Jaipur Pale Ale, packed with flavour and at 5.9% one to be savoured. And how about finding some flavoursome low alcohol ones for drivers too? Brew Dog Nanny State is packed with hops and pretty good for a 0.5% beer – there must be others?

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      HI Bob,

      You’re right about it being a golden age of brewing. We have the best of quality and experimentation at the moment, meaning that there is so much good beer out there!
      With regards to the low/non-alcohol offering, we have a superb one available on our website from Mikkeller in Denmark. It is even lower in alcohol than Nanny State at 0.3% rather than 0.5% and its even more delicious (in my opinion anyway!).

      http://www.thewinesociety.com/shop/ProductDetail.aspx?pd=BE981

      Low/non-alcoholic beers are tricky and I have to be honest, I would rather not list any than list ones which don’t taste delicious. Thankfully this was a great discovery and is a good beer first and foremost!

      Very best,

      Freddy

  36. Chris M says:

    Some great suggestions so far. Can I add the interestingly named Wiper and True outfit? Their Quintet IPA is excellent. tempest always good, and also Moor. Do enjoy the research!

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Chris,

      Wiper and True are great, I have had a few of their beers in the past and they have all been enjoyable.
      The research is thoroughly enjoyable, I can assure you!

      Very best wishes,

      Freddy

  37. Mick Knight says:

    I went to visit my daughter in Perth Western Australia 2 years ago and was surprised by the number of craft beers there. Little Creatures brewery does several good beers but the one I really remember was Hop Hog by the Feral brewing company.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Mick,

      Thanks for the comment. Australia and New Zealand both have a thriving craft beer scene. Much like wine we now have this amazing ability with craft beers to go to a completely different part of the world and make these wonderful little discoveries!

      Very best,

      Freddy

  38. Mark says:

    Great news, excited to see the list! If you can get some Pliny the Elder from the Russian River Brewing Company, that would make my year! Mark

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Mark,

      Ah yes, Pliny the Elder is a legendary beer. I haven’t yet had the chance to taste it but I shall do my best to do so one of these days!

      Cheers!

      Freddy

  39. Luke says:

    Berlin’s Stone Brewery’s ‘Go to IPA’ is absolutely superb. FourPure, XT, Beavertown also great, obvs. Not ‘craft’ as such but if you can do a deal with the guy at Uley Brewey to get some of his medicine in bottles/cans (Bitter/Pig’s Ear), I’ll forgo new shoes for my kids to have that in the house.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Luke, it sounds like you have your priorities in order, which is great. Kids shoes are overrated anyway – I’ve never heard of someone outgrowing a good bottle of beer before!

      FourPure are cracking and keep an eye out for a very special Beavertown offering coming this way in May. Regardless of what people think of their whacky packaging, their beers are just superb which is what matters.

      Also, if anyone questions why the kids don’t have shoes, I would advise against saying “it’s because I had to buy beer” because I’m not sure how well that will go down…

      Here’s to good beer!

      Freddy

  40. Jack says:

    I’ve tried some great beers from a small brewery in Cotesbach near rugby. I think they grown their own hops as well.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Jack,

      That’s interesting, thank you.
      We are offering a good beer in a May mixed case from Hogs Back Brewery who also grow their own hops. It’s great to be able to work with these people because you know that they have complete control of every step of the process.

      Very many thanks,

      Freddy

  41. David Wallace says:

    There a lot of craft breweries in Hertfordshire. The Paradigm brewery in Sarratt do a watercress ale using watercress from local beds. And its very tasty. My favourite though is Sidepocket from Tring Brewery. Check it out!

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Thanks David.
      I have been in touch with Tring recently, so I look forward to hopefully tasting that one at some point!

      Many thanks,

      Freddy

  42. Ross Keogh says:

    Freddy, great to hear more beers will be come available. One to try is called POGO by the Wild Beer Co. extremely unusual beer and a must for the summer. R

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Ross,

      Thanks very much! Wild Beer Co. are excellent, although I have only had two or three of theirs. I am working on a summer offering shortly so will keep that one in mind!

      Cheers

      Freddy

  43. michael says:

    Will you be stocking Meantime

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Michael,

      I don’t have any plans to for the foreseeable.
      As much as possible I am keen to steer clear of beers which are widely available in the supermarkets, as there are so many interesting independent breweries in the UK now so it would be great to shine a light on the little guys as much as possible.

      Many thanks,

      Freddy

  44. West Coat IPA's says:

    I recently returned from a family visit to Washington State, U.S.A. Our son introduced me to the IPA’s they are brewing out there! WOW! Since returning, I have been searching out similar flavours. In terms of imports, I rate Lagunitas, easily available. I have a bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale set aside to try and note one of the correspondents in this thread rates it. In terms of UK brews, I very much like the “Treason West Coast IPA” from the Windsor & Eton brewery. I have also seen the Thornbridge “Jaipur” as being well reviewed so I’m going to try that too.

    I tried “Brew Dog Punk IPA” (Scotland) but found this disappointing.

    Great to see recommendations from all over the UK and next step to look at what the Wine Society has on offer! I am hoping that we can buy in mixed dozens or half dozens as I am not confident enough to buy 12 of one kind yet!

    Best,

    Jerry

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Jerry,

      Thanks for the message.
      I was lucky enough to go to Washington State last summer and discovered the thriving brewing scene. They are (I believe) the world’s leading growers of hops, so it makes sense for them to be producing some incredibly good IPA! I’m pleased it sounds like you picked up the IPA bug!
      We are looking to offer some beers from Beavertown in May and they do some of the best IPA in the UK in my opinion. A couple are IPA with a twist (black IPA of Rye IPA for example) and a couple are just straight-up juicy and delicious IPAs so it sounds like they would be worth trying based on your love of WA IPA.

      You can indeed buy these beers individually so if you don’t fancy the mixed case, you could add a bottle of each to your next wine order!

      Very best,

      Freddy

  45. Peter Allen says:

    May I suggest:
    The Titanic brewery at Burton (wide range of unusual beers)
    Fuller’s at Chiswick for their 1845
    Windor & Eton brewery’s Black IPA (a misnomer if ever there was one! – but very good with food).
    I’d always understood the distinction between Ale and Beer was that beer was stabilised with hops, but ale wasn’t?

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Peter,

      Good to hear you are also a fan of Black IPA. I agree, a rather misleading name if ever there was one, but such is the joy of beer!

      I believe that historically ale was indeed made without the use of hops but then IPA rather put a stop to that rule. Now, the most simple way of thinking about it is that both lager and ales are beers; however, the difference between lager and ale is to do with the types of yeast used in the brewing process and the fact that lager is cool fermented (or “lagered”) which isn’t the case for ales.

      There’s a top class black IPA coming this way in May, so do be sure to pick up a can!

      Very best wishes,

      Freddy

      • Peter Allen says:

        Erratum: I should have typed ‘Windsor & Eton’ of course – and I should probably have mentioned also that it is organic.

        I would add Widdrington’s brewery also for some good beers.

  46. KR says:

    Great news that you’ll be stocking more craft beer in the future.

    I’ll always love wine, but in the last couple of years I think that craft beer has offered much better value for money than a lot of wine.

    I’ve had some exceptional drinks from Cloudwater, Buxton, Burning Sky, O/O, Omnipollo, The Kernel and loads more.

    Would be good if the society could offer some offerings from those – and maybe some classic Belgian beers too? Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle etc

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      You’ve just listed many of my absolute favourite breweries there! (I picked myself up a 75cl bottle of Cloudwater’s Aardberg imperial BA stout yesterday afternoon, so can’t wait to crack that open soon)

      I obviously come from a wine background and that will always be what we focus on here (unsurprisingly) but I too agree that the amount of superb beer on offer now is so exciting and is perhaps a little more accessible than wine when it comes to taking a punt on something a little risky. As I mentioned in the blog post, you can spend only a couple of pounds and try something new in the beer world. Good luck doing that with wine! (the BA Impy I picked up was £15 on the other hand! Blimey!)

      Very best,

      Freddy

  47. Richard Miles says:

    My favourite tipple (actually I have two) is from Samuel Smith of Tadcaster in Yorkshire – their Organic Pale Ale and their India Ale. Both are fermented in Yorkshire squares – vessels made of solid slabs of slate using a strain of yeast that originated in the 19th century. And another great things is the bottles are (almost) a full pint size. Sadly they’re difficult to get hold of down in the soft south and I’m forced to order them online from Beers of Europe (who, good grief, charge for delivery!). I’d be most happy to order them through the Society!

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Richard,

      I grew up in York and so am only too familiar with Sam Smiths! I will have to have another taste of their beers as I haven’t seen them down here. No doubt it will at least bring back some memories!

      Many thanks for the nostalgic recommendation.

      Freddy

  48. TomF says:

    Great to hear WS is branching out into craft beer. You could do a lot worse than come back to Yorkshire – on top of all the established names like Black Sheep, it feels like every village in North Yorks has its own microbrew these days.
    And a plea for not *too* many IPAs. That style has been a huge part of the craft beer revival but we don’t really need a bucket load of hops in every bottle.
    Near me, the Hop Studio and Brass Castle are both getting creative and coming up with fine brews. All the best,
    Tom

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Tom,

      Agreed, I haven’t been away from Yorkshire all that long (only since 2013) but even in that time it seems like a lot of new breweries have sprung up. I will perhaps have to plan a trip to come back up and sample some of the new ones which weren’t there when I last visited!

      With regards to IPA I do agree, as I am a lover of stout and porter first and foremost I think. However I think that a truly good IPA is still an absolute pleasure. IPA has, sadly, become a bit too much of a marketing “it word” though and there is a lot of bad IPA on supermarket shelves. We will no doubt offer a few IPAs in the summer amongst other styles, but rest assured, unless they are excellent quality, they won’t earn a space in our list.

      Very best,

      Freddy

  49. J D Watson says:

    FAO: Freddy Bulmer

    Kindly inform me on the following:

    (a) What is the definition of a craft beer.

    (b) Is craft beer sold on draught or always bottle.

    I await your reply with interest.
    J D Watson

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Good morning,

      Thank you for your comment. These are very good questions indeed.

      a) There is no legal definition for “craft beer”, much like there is no legal definition of “fine wine” – both look to achieve a similar outcome though.
      Although a number of bigger breweries have leapt on the term in order to give their mass-produced products a more artisan feel, true craft is made by relatively small producers who want to create something different, whereby the personality of the producer comes through in their product. There are no constraints, so craft breweries are often experimental, trying all sorts of different recipes in their beers, creating a diverse range of flavours. Quality is at the top of the list for true craft producers and production tends to be small and limited. They will often be more expensive than other beers but they are to be enjoyed in the same way as wines, with great depth of flavour. Usually thanks to their small size, craft breweries often have a mind-set which allows them to brew upon a whim and wonder. They aren’t afraid to do something a bit daring, which is a risk the bigger breweries can’t afford to take quite so easily.

      b) It can be both, there are no constraints in this department!

      I hope that this helps to answer your question but do let me know if you have anything further which you would like to ask.

      Very best wishes,

      Freddy

  50. Giles says:

    I’d second the Bermondsey beer mile fan above. Kernel is excellent – their ‘table beer’ delivers a 2.9% ABV session ipa which is the session equivalent of nanny state. It doesn’t taste like 2.9%!

    Also fun (and if you’ve visited gipsy hill you may know) are Canopy (first cans just released), Brixton (a bit hoppy for me) and Bullfinch.

    Finally, I don’t think Meantime qualify as craft anymore… but they were a real standard bearer in craft beers. Still a good choice if on tap in a London pub.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Giles,

      Kernel really are an impressive brewery and the table beer is full of flavour at such low alcohol which isn’t easy to achieve!
      Canopy and Brixton are good but I haven’t tried Bullfinch, so thank you for the tip!

      Meantime were certainly a leader in the craft world a few years back. They have done very well indeed and are widely available now.
      I am keen to offer beers from some of the smaller producers who don’t get so much of the spotlight on a national scale.

      All the best and thanks again,

      Freddy

  51. Guy Platt says:

    You can’t go wrong with butty Bach from Herefordshire. It is bottle conditioned and although widely available locally I have never seen it anywhere else. Nothing fancy just a great beer!

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Guy,

      Sometimes that’s all you want – a great beer and no funny business!
      I will look them up.

      Many thanks,

      Freddy

  52. Graham F says:

    I recommend Westerham brewery in Kent. Their beers are quite distinctive, including a really excellent ordinary bitter, and nothing over-hopped. If youre looking further afield, three favourites from our regular trips to Belgium are Tripel Karmeliet, Rodenbach Grand Cru and Dupont saison. Good hunting, looking forward to sampling your selection!

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Graham,

      Thanks very much. I don’t know if it’s because I am a keen cyclist but I love a good Belgian beers – Kwaremont is the best of both worlds!
      Rodenbach is an absolute classic and a truly great beer, as is the Dupont.

      One day it would be great to expand our reach a little and offer a Belgian beer but it’s one step at a time for now!

      Cheers,

      Freddy

  53. Hi Freddy,

    First off, really good that the Society is doing this and the very best to you in making it a resounding success. There are some really good craft beers from around the world in supermarkets in the UK but it would be good if the Society could offer something a bit different. I spent some years living in Sydney recently and the local craft beers there are really good – have a look at 4 Pines – their pilsner is superb or Young Henrys which offers a great selection of different types of beer and finally Willie the Boatman. There are also great craft beers from around Australia that have already made their way over here – the most obvious are Little Creatures (Pale Ale) and Coopers (Sparkling Ale) but both breweries have a far wider selection which is worth looking at – especially Little Creatures who do Pilsner and Bright Ale.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Colin,

      Thanks for your message.
      Yes the supermarkets are no fools, that’s for sure!
      The good thing about where we sit is the fact that we don’t require quite such massive loads of stock of any given beer, meaning that we aren’t too big for some of the smaller breweries to supply. This means that we can offer unique beers which you won’t also find on the shelf of every supermarket in the UK.

      Australia and NZ have an incredible beer scene. At the moment, I am keen to keep things UK based because a big issue (especially with hop influenced beers) is freshness. As we start to get a beer offering off the ground, I want to be able to ensure that we are selling beers as fresh as possible and the best way to do that while we start to build a bit of a beer following is by sourcing things from a little closer to home.

      That’s not to say though that once the ball is well and truly rolling in a little while we wouldn’t be able to stick some beers on with a wine shipment once in a while!

      Very best wishes,

      Freddy

  54. Peter Evans says:

    Whitbreads closed Stroud Brewery, but craft beer under the old name is now available, better still ,creating enthusiasm. I drank it last in a Saturday crowd of couples, families with children and a dog or two, convivially on benches in a hub-hub of talk at trestle tables – a mediaeval invention. It can be bought in quart jugs and drunk with pizzas of your choice, made from crafted flour cooked over a wood fire and tossed before your eyes – sumptuous and light. One brew is named after Budding, a worker in the village in a local cloth mill who adapted a machine and made the world’s first lawnmower. Buddings were still there when I lived locally… All very traditional and authentic, true to itself,

  55. Bruce says:

    Great move. I’m a big fan of so many beers and to get them from the society would be awesome.
    Marble Brewery, lagonda or earl grey ipa in Manchester [http://www.marblebeers.com/shop/] are two stand out beers, and;
    Knops Beer (Siba award winning) [http://www.knopsbeer.co.uk/], Black Cork or east coast pale, brewed near Edinburgh are also great beers.

    There are so many breweries producing world class excellent beer that can’t always be found around. Please think about adding some of these!

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Bruce,

      Yes a few beers in with the wine order is a nice way of doing things!
      I will keep those ones in mind. You are right, there is so much world class beer about now that we are almost spoilt for choice. It’s just about finding the best of the best!

      Many thanks,

      Freddy

  56. Dominic Hamilton says:

    Love the idea of buying beers which match the Society’s wine buying ethos! I’d put in a good word for the superb Batham’s (bathams.co.uk) which is hard to find consistently anywhere outside their native Midlands.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Dominic,

      Yes totally, the exact same ethos applies. It’s all about quality first and foremost and finding those brilliant “artisan” producers who are genuinely producing wine or beer with passion and love for what they do.

      I hope you enjoy the range as it develops and grows over time.

      Very best wishes,

      Freddy

  57. Christopher W Ide says:

    I still adore Worthington’s White Shield!
    Bw
    Chris

  58. Nick Munton says:

    Great idea! Could I put in a request for some dark beers please? Favourites of mine are Titanic Brewery’s Plum Porter and, from further afield, Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout. Cheers!

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Nick,

      You certainly can. I am a sucker for a darker beer. The Railway Porter which we currently have is a really superb darker beer. For me I think it has a superb mouth-feel for something which isn’t packed with alcohol. I often like to sup a 10-11% porter on an evening and they tend to have an incredible texture. This comes close to that silky feel while being under 5% – super!

      Cheers to you too!

      Freddy

  59. David Barnes says:

    Don’t need to roam farr and wide for Craft beer, it’s brewed just a few miles down the road in Wheathampstead, great tasting beer “Farr Brew” hits the spot,
    Give it a try as well.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi David,

      Thanks for the recommendation!
      I will look into that, as it’s great to be able to make sure the beer we have on offer is as fresh as possible.

      All the best,

      Freddy

  60. Troels says:

    Hi Freddy

    Great initiative. Increasingly a great fan of Adnams who seem to have no constraints on exploring the craft. E.g. Dry hopped lager, wild hop beer (based on Suffolk locals annual hedgerow collections), a Belgian style triple in a 33cl bottle (genius!) and the wonderful “broadside” dark ale that they also distill into a whiskey! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with. Best wishes Troels

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Troels,

      I was away in Suffolk for a weekend break a couple of weeks ago and so made sure to sample plenty of Adnams! A good, sturdy brewery with tasty brews.

      All the best,

      Freddy

  61. John Clancy says:

    Hello Freddy.

    I was delighted to read of your new venture. I’ve had mixed experiences when ordering beer by mail order so it will be great to get ales from a reliable source.

    Beers from the Stone Brewery in Berlin are truly exceptional. Their range specialises in IPAs but they do an outstanding stout called Xocoveza.

    Regards,

    Johnny.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi John,

      Yes there are a number of mail order beer places around but many seem to get mixed reviews. We’ve been doing it with wine for 143 years now so hope to apply the expertise to beer too!

      Cheers!

      Freddy

  62. Tom Fleming says:

    Hi Freddy

    Browsing your latest craft beer arrivals I can’t help but notice a particular predisposition towards London beers (with the token exception of Edinburgh’s Harviestoun ale, and an alcohol-free contribution).

    I have to confess that is very disappointing as I certainly don’t feel that London breweries; fine though SOME of their ales are, give a good representation of the wide variety of fine ales crafted across the UK.

    Any reason for this particularly ‘parochial’ approach?

    Regards

    Tom

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Tom,

      Well spotted and yes there is a reason why this is the case.
      As craft beer is relatively new to us at The Wine Society (other than the odd mixed case around Christmas times for example) we had absolutely no idea how well it would go down. We wanted to stay local to us with this first offering, as it means that we don’t have to commit to masses of stock and we can quickly and easily get a top-up delivery should we need to, meaning it stays as fresh as possible.
      The good thing is that it seems to be very well received, which gives us the opportunity to branch out a bit more with coming offerings. I am very aware that the scene is thriving all over the UK, not just in London, so I am very excited to be able to showcase the beers from breweries in lots of different counties!

      Harviestoun is in there because I just think Bitter & Twisted is a great beer and despite them being north of the border, they have an excellent set up and we can easily get a new delivery of their beer very quickly.

      Things will only get more exciting so do stay tuned in!

      Many thanks,

      Freddy

  63. Chris Corcoran says:

    Really looking forward to trying some of your beer selections. I can recommend Northern Monk Brewery https://www.northernmonkbrewco.com/ Their range is excellent with a fantastic range including some award winning beers

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Chris,

      I love Northern Monk beers and am in contact with them at the moment with the hope of doing something with them later in the year. Keep an eye out around late summer!

      Very best,

      Freddy

  64. Mike MacNeill says:

    Hello Freddie
    I envy your task at hand. I travel about a bit and try to drop into micro breweries themselves where posible.
    More locally in Herts, Red Squirrel brewery has a good range and interesting variations (Black No.1 being my favourite) and The New River brewery has just started bottling their Five Inch Drop, a hoppy (but not too) IPA. Slightly further afield, Andwells’ (Hants) Ruddy Darter, Dartford Wobbler from Kent, a dry finish bitter and Wolf Brewery’s (Norfolk) Granny Wouldn’t Like It (dark) are all beers I’ll happily take a diversion for. The Marlow Brewery (Bucks) has dome really good beers but only a couple are bottled. Last week I was in Yorkshire and thought that Bradfield Brewery’s Farmers Belgian Blue was the best beer (smooth and creamy) I’d tasted in some time.
    Good luck.
    Mike.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Mike,

      Blimey you’ve been doing your homework! Super stuff!
      It’s great to get to the breweries themselves, as it’s the only way to see first hand how much care and attention the brewers put in to the product.
      It’s a tough job eh!

      Very many thanks for your well-wishes.

      Cheers,

      Freddy

  65. John Elliot says:

    To the many other recommendations I’d add Five Points Brewing in Hackney. They have a range of delicious beers, my favourite being their Pale Ale.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi John,

      We have got one of the Five Points beers available now! The Railway Porter is superb and of their range I thought made a great addition especially when the weather is a bit cold an grey – nothing like a delicious porter to drink on a chilly evening.

      Very many thanks,

      Freddy

  66. Paul Silcocks says:

    There’s a local brewery in Newport Gwent called Tiny Rebel , they brew some fantastic ales .

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Paul,

      Tiny Rebel are excellent and produce great beer – I’ve been very impressed with the ones I have tried before.

      Very good recommendation indeed!

      Freddy

  67. Willie McCurdy says:

    Hi Freddy,

    In Northern Ireland in the past 3 years there has been huge growth in quality craft beer production, both in the number of breweries and the range of superb quality beers produced. The links between good food and good beer are growing too, perhaps a legacy of the farm origin of many of these breweries. I prefer ales and porters, but everyone has their own favourites. The ‘CAMRA Northern Ireland’ page is a good place to start, but you may wish to come over and check things out for yourself, before considering what beers the Society might stock. The following are some of my favourite beers and brewers.

    Brewbot. Mad inventors, alternative brewery, pub of the future or superheroes – you decide. They have invented the Brewbot microbrewry unit that uses sensor technology to track and automate the brewing process and is controlled by a wi-fi App. Their pub is supplied by its own Brewbots.
    Whitewater Brewery in the Mourne mountains. An excellent range of award winning beers with a new bigger brewery also nearing completion. My favourites are Maggie’s Leap and Hopplehammer.
    Hillstown brewery was born from the need to produce beer for the farm’s beer-fed beef. The beers are so good, humans love them too and the range includes Goats Butt Wheat Beer and Horny Bull Stout. They also sell the afforadble beer-fed beef.
    Glens of Antrim Ales I like the Fairhead Gold 4.8%. A brewery quite literally on the edge. Sloping fields with cliffs at the bottom and dramatic views of the Mull of Kintyre, Rathlin Island and beyond if the weather is kind to you. A good head for heights is recommended if you approach the brewery from the Cushendun end of the Torr Head Scenic Route.
    Lacada Brewery Coperative a community owned Co-Operative brewery with amazing label art and a diverse range of brews including sours. A few brews are cask only, so you will have to visit Portrush and the famous North Coast with its dramatic scenery. I like Stranded Bunny 4.5% (porter), from the part of their range available in 330ml bottles.

    For me the outstanding innovators of today are the Farmageddon Brewing Coop. Baltic Porter matured in Echlinville whiskey casks (this distillery near the brewery, is perhaps better known to some as the producer of Jawbox Gin), growing hops at 54.5 degrees north for their amazing Wet Hop IPA, Their range of single hop IPAs, especially Mosaic – voted the best brew at the 2016 Belfast beer festival, excellent Porter, cooperative brews etc. I look forward to the pork from their pigs fed on the spent mash. They justly get rave reviews and their wares were on display at the BBC Good Food show Birmingham 2016. Farmageddon’s slogan is “It May Be Cloudy – Harden Up – It’s Craft Beer”, but I condition my beers upright in a cool cupboard for 4-6 weeks before moving them to the fridge. You then have the option of clear or cloudy.

    N.B. Some health benefits are often claimed for red wine, but did you know that when consummed as part of a well balanced diet, craft brewed IPAs can help maintain bone density. See ‘Silicon in beer and brewing’. Troy R Casey and Charles W Bamforth. Published online in Wiley Interscience: 8 February 2010. I look forward to craft brewed IPAs with extra lautering for maximum dietary silicon content.

    Regards
    Willie McCurdy

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Willie,

      Thank you very much for your kind and well thought-out message. There are some exciting beers cropping up in Northern Ireland and we don’t see a huge amount here. You are right that the best way to truly understand a brewery and it’s beers is to visit.

      I shall investigate some of your recommendations in the future and I had a good laugh at “Horny Bull Stout”, a brilliant name for a beer (although I’m not sure how appetising it sounds!)

      All the very best and thank you again,

      Freddy

      • Willie McCurdy says:

        Apparently Japanese wagyu bulls have very pointy horns, although this farm brewery seems to also market a range beer-fed dairy shorthorn steaks. Perhaps Wagyu horns provide better marketing potential. The mystery remains.

        Willie

  68. Joyce Jordan says:

    Woodfordes Brewery at Woodbastwick in the Norfolk Broads is a favourite of mine.
    That first pint of Wherry after picking up the boat for our annual Broads holiday goes down a treat!

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Joyce,

      Thank you very much. It seems like a few people have mentioned Woodfordes so I must investigate!

      All the best,

      Freddy

  69. Jwsr says:

    Otter brewery in Devon makes some of the most consistently lovely bottled beer around – and it’s even nicer out of the cask.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Yes beer straight from the cask is often unbeatable! Our poor Wine Society drivers wouldn’t fancy lugging too many of those around though I bet 😉

      Freddy

  70. Peter Halsey says:

    I have just discovered Black Isle Organic Blonde a lovely beer.

  71. Ken MacArthur says:

    Another from Scotland is Fyne Ales from Argyll. Great range with Jarl being one of my favourites.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Thanks Ken, sounds like there really is lots of fantastic beer being made in Scotland at the moment. The ones I have tried have been super anyway!

      Cheers,

      Freddy

  72. Peter Goodeve says:

    Freddy Look at the Little Beer Corporation they have some unusual beers. A favourite of mine the 1917 Imperial Pilsner created around a yeast last used commercially in St Petersburg. They are trying out cans too.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Peter,

      Thank you. That sounds interesting and there is a lot to be said for cans. I personally think they are the best way to preserve a beer so it’s good to see more breweries using them.

      Very best,

      Freddy

  73. JP says:

    Like the sound of this – will you be extending it to include Belgian Abbey beers like Orval and Westmalle?

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi JP,

      I am a real fan of the Belgian Abbey beers so personally I would love to one day. We just need to see how things go in these early days first and then we will be able to build the offering from there.

      Cheers!

      Freddy

  74. John Scott says:

    There are lots of good breweries everywhere, come to Bristol and visit Moor, Bristol Beer Factory and Arbor for a good selection in this city.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi John,

      You’re right, there are a lot of good breweries everywhere!
      A friend who works in the beer industry was saying that he thinks Bristol is a particularly exciting place to watch at the moment. Lost & Grounded are a newish one in Bristol and they are also great. Bristol Beer Factory have been great, the ones I have tried anyway. I will have to look into Moor and Arbor.

      Many thanks

  75. Tim Usher says:

    “Born in the Borders” brewery at Lanton Mill near Jedburgh has as fine a range of bottled and draught beers as i have ever met. “Game Bird”and Foxy Blond” being the originals with “Dark Horse” as the darker brew which won first prize in its class in Scotland last year and second prize in England. Four years ago when it started, a big working mens’ pub in Hawick ordered a second cask two days after the first one and when the owner/brewer delivered it, the barman took him into the bar and said “This is John. He brews the stuff”. The assembled crowd put down their pints and rushed to shake his hand. Similar reactions have been experienced ever since from those meeting these ales for the first time. I rest my case.

  76. Paul McCarroll says:

    Gentleman’s Wit from the Camden Brewery. Splendid name and really very enjoyable on a summer’s evening.

    In fact all the Camden Brewery beers are delightful. The IPA is packed with happy hopiness.

  77. Julian Lobley says:

    I’d suggest Kingstone Brewery just outside Tintern. They have a great range of beers from which “Classic” is my perennial favourite while their “Gold” is superb as a chilled summer ale. You’ve got a tough job on your hands but I suppose somebody’s got to do it!

    Cheers!

  78. Stephanie McKeown says:

    Can I put in a word for the Liverpool Craft Beer Company? Especially their Love Lane and Quokka. I’m also a fan of Thornbridge, Salopian, Wiper and True, and Red Willow’s Wreckless pale ale. I agree with the people who’ve already recommended Tiny Rebel, Fyne Ales and Five Points, and I’d add Kinnegar to the list from Ireland. One other thing that would be great is a couple of drinkable gluten-free beers. So not many then . . .

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      You certainly can put a word in for Liverpool Craft Beer Company!
      Yes not too many… blimey! 😉

      Thanks for the recommendations, I’ve sure got my work cut-out.

      All the best,

      Freddy

  79. Mark Thomas says:

    Hi Freddy,

    Definitely worth a shout for Thornbridge brewery who produce Jaipur, which arguably kicked off the craft explosion. Their brewery has a wealth of weird and wonderful experimentation beers, including a warehouse of beers ageing in wine/whisky/champagne/you name it casks. They’re also lovely people! Brilliant to see the Society dipping into this a bit more and hope it reveals some cracking finds.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Mark,

      Thank you. Thornbridge are a good brewery and it’s great to see people like them remaining so progressive!

      Very best,

      Freddy

  80. Leif Lindholm says:

    So, a bit late to the party, but just had one comment:

    If the Wine Society is getting involved in craft beer, I think it would be splendid if it could look into the varieties closest to the existing model: vintage beers. Imperial Stouts and other styles that benefit from maturing in a cellar.

    Splendid examples are produced by the likes of Nøgne Ø, Humboldt, Avery, and so on.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Hi Leif,

      Thank you for the comment. I am personally a big fan of Impy stouts, barrel aged beers etc but they do remain a niche product! I would love to be able to develop a decent enough beer following that we can list this sort of thing every so often. It’s early days but do watch this space going forward!

      All the best,

      Freddy

  81. Chris Johnson says:

    Hello Fred,

    Does your net spread across the Atlantic? I had the pleasure to taste some Pliny the Younger from the Russian River Brewing Company whilst in California last year. An iconic and much sought after American Double IPA, I’d love to see it available this side of the pond.

  82. Paul Izod says:

    Hello Freddy,
    Just a few words of encouragement from another wine and beer drinker. I found the craft beer scene bewildering at first and still have lots to try. I’d much prefer to give my business to the Society so welcome this development. I wonder if a static, stocked list will be the way to go, or could it be supported by frequent offerings by email of beers that aren’t available all the time. These might be seasonal, or limited quantities. If you ever need ideas of what might be considered for a list, I’d be happy to make further suggestions.

  83. Paul says:

    I’m a big fan of Hop Stuff’s Renegade IPA and there new APA is exceptional.

    For something more exotic the Wild Beer co is always coming up with new taste sensations.

    Also Twickenham and Tring breweries do some great session ales. For lager the Freedom brewery makes some excellent organic examples.

  84. Tom TIbbits says:

    Hi Freddy,

    I think you should check out a new brewery making waves in Southampton: Unity, with some excellent beers, and Orbit in London make very drinkable beers true to classic German styles, if you’re looking beyond pale ales of the bonkers hopped variety!

    Also, I think cyder could become interesting for the Society perhaps at some point in the future. (I have an interest as an amateur cyder maker).

    best wishes
    Tom

  85. Gordon says:

    Hi Freddy, a great new initiative from the Wine Society.

    Based on my proximity to one of London’s best beer retailers (won numerous best beer retailer awards) We Brought Beer, I’ve been lucky enough to sample a huge range of beer over the last three years since they opened. I’d recommend sampling the following:

    Cloudwater – Manchester (simply outstanding)
    Magic Rock – Huddersfield (also excellent)
    Wild Beer – Somerset
    Verdant – Falmouth
    Beerbliotek – Gothenburg, Sweden
    Founders – Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
    Moor – Bristol
    Beaverton – London
    Mikkeller – Copenhagen, Denmark (but roving brewer)
    Kernel – London
    Five Points – London
    Salopian – Shrewsbury
    Tiny Rebel – Newport
    Belleville – London
    Lost & Grounded – Bristol (lager specialists)

    Particularly as I’m from the area:

    Hobsons – Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire (many awards won)
    Three Tuns – Bishops Castle, Shropshire

    One thing I have discovered is that hops fade extremely quickly. On that basis the likes of Cloudwater want to ensure their beer is consumed extremely quickly after production, to the extent of, controversially, pulling out of producing cask beer. Beers from these producers aren’t to be kept in warehouses, and sell out within days/weeks; they actually struggle with fulfilling demand.

    I look forward to seeing the range expand. All the best with it.
    Gordon.

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