3 Fantastic Craft Beer Styles
For many years, British beer was synonymous with cask real ale. This traditional tipple has been enjoyed in the UK for many years and while the rest of the world may consider it warm and flat, there’s no doubting that a well looked after cask is a beautiful thing. However, with the rise of microbreweries over the past few decades, craft beer has slowly crept onto the scene.
Nowadays, craft breweries are producing a wide range of incredible beers that push the boundaries of brewing ever further. While British real ale still holds a place in the hearts of drinkers across the country, there’s no doubting that new styles of craft beer typically offer a wider variety of flavour, aroma and body.
With more ingredients to play with, plus access to brewing techniques and beer styles from around the world, inspiration can be drawn from many sources these days. As a result, drinkers around the world have been introduced to exciting new styles and flavours.
This is a broad term, encompassing a wide range of beverages that all have one thing in common; the use of adjuncts during the brew. Pastry stouts dismiss the reinheitsgebot entirely and venture far past the traditional core ingredients of malt, water, hops and yeast. They’re typically thick and sweet, with flavours ranging from toasted marshmallows or doughnuts, to chocolate fudge cake and blueberries.
If you can think of it, some brewer out there has almost certainly made a beer with it! Pastry stouts often come under fire from traditionalists who claim brewers have forgotten what beer is, however, to each their own. Some folk can’t get enough of a 12% rocky road stout, thick, rich and packed full of flavour, while others fear the onset of diabetes after a single sip!
Milkshake IPAs are another interesting concept that appears to have crept over from the States. Removing the bitterness typically associated with IPA and replacing it with a sweetness derived from the unfermentable lactose sugar, milkshake IPAs are generally served full bodied and cloudy. Of course, a huge dose of hops on the nose plus fruit or vanilla completes the picture.
Like pastry stouts, not everyone is a fan of this style, but it has a huge following. Flavours are as varied as normal milkshakes or ice cream flavours, with peaches and cream being a popular theme. Some breweries even offer a soft serve version, in which a slush of frozen foam tops the beer.
Again, sour beer covers a huge range of styles in itself. However, for the traditional real ale drinker a sour beer is often associated with a beer gone bad. For most drinkers, the first taste is off putting - it takes time to develop the palate. However, once you pick up the taste for it, sour beers can soon become your favourite style.
Taking inspiration from the lambics and Flanders oud bruins of Belgium, British brewers are putting their own stamp on sour beer. Several breweries around the country now use wild or spontaneous fermentation exclusively, crafting soured versions of anything from IPAs to imperial stouts. Sour beer brewed on fruit is a popular combination, with gooseberry beers going down particularly well.