Being the world’s eighth largest beer market what kind of Beer does Britain prefers to drink? Is it Hoppy?, Citrusy? Fruity? Low in alcohol? Or is it something very different? As summers have arrived it is welcome news for beer lovers in the UK. Dictum Meum Pactum – Beer is the Best. Beer, after all, is refreshing, hydrating and contain very mild alcohol, and this is one of the reasons why you will find people clutching their pint glasses during warmer seasons in most of the British pubs.
Whether you love the traditional beer or something fancy, love something more contemporary or love to experiment your drinks, our list will help you to stock your fridge and cupboards with the best beers currently available in the UK. Before you catch on what are the best beer brands that are available in the market today, here is a guide to help you distinguish your beer particularly if you cannot differentiate your lager from limbic or your porter from your stout. So Cheers!
What are the most common types of Beer?
This is the most commonly consumed beer across the world. Invented in the Bavarian breweries, this beer was created by new techniques that allowed malt to be slightly dry so it remained pale. It uses different yeasts, which is bottom-fermenting yeast vs. top-fermenting yeasts used in ale, and uses a longer, slower and cooler fermentation method to give the crisp, refreshing and smoother finish. Lager beer is fermented and (lagered) stored in caves for weeks or months at temperatures hovering around 40 F.
The majority of popular brands like Budweiser, Heineken, Carlsberg are all pale lagers which use the same methodology to produce crispier and smoother lager. Most of the pale lagers have high carbonation and medium to high hop flavor. You will also find another variety the Dark Lagers or Dunkel Beers which uses the grains that are roasted for a longer time to bring the amber to black finish, but they are much rarer in the UK.
Ales are a kind of beer that is darker and more full-bodied than lagers. Unlike its counterpart, the lager beer, ale requires a warmer fermentation method and different kind of yeasts (top-fermenting yeast) to give that sweet, full-bodied and fruity taste. Ales come in a lot of varieties like bitter, mild, pale, abbey ale and nut brown. Ales has a more characteristic taste than lagers.
IPA which is an initial for Indian Pale Ale is perhaps the most popular ale and undoubtedly beers, that are available in the market. IPA is a hoppy variety of beer that falls within the category of pale ale and is brewed from pale malt. IPAs originated from England and are sold all over the world. Contrary to what the name suggests, this style of beer did not originate from India but was first brewed in England in the nineteenth century. There are three main styles of IPA are American style IPA, English IPA, and Double IPA or Imperial IPA with each style having their own characteristics.
Bitter is a British style beer that comes in a wide range of colors, types, and strengths. The ABV (alcohol by volume) ranges from 3 to 7%. Sub-varieties include light ale, session bitter, best or special, premium or strong and golden ale alias summer ale.
Porter is London style very dark fruity dry ale. It uses roasted malts while brewing to render the aroma, color, and flavor.
Stout and porter are quite similar to each other, however, stout is darker and heavier with a rich creamy top. It is flavored and colored by using barley and has a slightly sweeter taste compared to the porter. Stout also employs a portion of the roasted unmated barely to impart some delicious toasted flavors like chocolate, coffee oatmeal or cream.
Another product of the Bavarian breweries, Pilsner is a refreshing, crisp and light yellow lager beer with a bitter and hoppy flavor. Pilsner tends to be light in color and can be found in light straw or golden varieties. It renders a strong hoppy, spicy and floral flavor. Budweiser, one of the most iconic beer brands was derived from the pilsner style.
Wheat beer is a hazy looking, thicker and silkier beer which is produced using wheat as one of its main ingredients. They are highly fizzy and light in flavor which makes them great summer beers.
Lambic is another style of wheat beer that derived from Belgium which is exclusively brewed in and around Brussels. The reason for this is because the strain of yeast (Brettanomyces), that is found there imparts the sourness, which is a characteristic of Lambic beers. Lambic beer is different from most other beers since it is fermented through exposure to wild yeast and bacteria indigenous to the Zenic valley. This process of fermentation gives the beer its distinct flavor, dry, cidery, and sour taste.
Top Beer Consumed in the UK & Great Britain
All that is said you must be eager to know the popular beers to stock in your fridge or cupboard, so here is the list for you:
This is undoubtedly the biggest selling beer in the UK and has a dream run last year. Brits gulped an extra 22.2 million liters of Budweiser last year which helped it upsurge Foster. Budweiser is described by fans as Tasty, Refreshing, Enjoyable and Distinctive. Bud is slightly more popular with men than woman and is more popular among Generation X than among other age groups. It is a filtered beer with a perfectly balanced lager and is available in the draft as well as packages.
Guinness is a dark Irish dry stout that was produced in the Irish brewery in Dublin. It is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide and is brewed in almost 50 countries. The sharp lactic acid flavor of Guinness is derived from malted barley and roasted un-malted barley. Guinness still features the characteristic tang style. Usage of nitrogen has also changed the fundamental texture and flavor of the Guinness of the past giving it a creamier and smoother consistency. Guinness is available in a number of variants like Guinness Draught, Guinness Original /Extra Stout, Foreign Extra Stout, Bitter, Guinness Extra Smooth, Malta Guinness, Guinness Red, etc. Guinness is equally popular among all age groups and is highly popular among men.
3. Stella Artois
Stella Artois is a Belgian pilsner beer which originated from Leuven Belgium. It is one of the world’s best selling beers and is consumed in more than 80 countries. Stella Artois is a household name in the UK with a mixed reputation is considered as a high-class import and a simple pale lager. Speaking of its rich history Stella Artois brand debuted in 1926, although Sebastian Artois bought it in 1717. Stella was a highly potent beer and was associated with binge drinking and aggressive behavior due to its higher than average ABV. With an aim to shed its violent tag Stella has dropped its ABV to 4% and is currently sold in the UK with ABV 4%.
Heineken is a Dutch Pilsner and is a pale lager beer with 5% alcohol by volume, Heineken has been sold in more than 170 countries and has also have been integrated with numerous brands in different countries. Heineken says that it has retained the way it was first brewed in 1873, It comes with a smooth, nicely blended bitterness and clean finish with a shade of fruity aroma. Made with 3 ingredients barley, hops and water along with natural A yeasts Heineken has not changed its recipe since 1873. Remember to hold the glass at 45-degree angle and pour slowly while ensuring to skim the head, to get the best of Heineken.
Carlsberg is a flagship beer brand in the Carlsberg Group portfolio which consists of more than 500 brands. The beer contains 5% alcohol and the style is European Pale Lager. It has an aroma of bread, biscuit, cereal grain, and sweet malt. and has a subtle hop bitterness with the taste of sweet malt. The beer is medium bodied and has a fluffy feel. Carlsberg still uses purified yeasts to brew their beers.
You will love to keep a stock of these beers in your cupboard. Just remember not to drink and drive. Drink wisely, drive safely. With micro pubs and microbreweries springing up all over the place, there is no dearth of beer and ale in the market. If you wish to experiment with various styles of beer then try the ales that are available in local breweries and local pubs.
So, there is no excuse why you cannot find yourself a perfect pint and enjoy your drink Cheers! 😉