Introducing… Britain’s Best Breweries
The Great British Food team
Behind the walls of a beautiful Victorian building in the heart of Southwold sits one of the most modern breweries in the UK. With a history dating back to 1345, you might expect Adnams to be all about tradition, but this trailblazing producer has its gaze firmly on the future with innovative global-inspired brews, ecofriendly kit and even an on-site distillery. When it comes to beer, Adnams undoubtedly has a monopoly over the pretty seaside town – indeed it’s difficult to find a pub in Southwold that isn’t serving flagship ales like Ghost Ship, Southwold Bitter and Broadside – but thankfully the ales are so delicious and varied, it can only be a good thing. Drop in for a brewery tour then have lunch and a pint at one of the town’s lovely pubs.
Based on the Norfolk/Suffolk border – a region renowned for growing top quality barley for malting beer – Bruha was launched by Rob Breakwell and Marc Medland just before the pandemic hit, but happily things have gone from strength to strength ever since. The brewery’s ethos is keeping things simple: making clean, clear and crisp beers that are accessible to all. There are three core beers in the Bruha range - Bruha Lager, Bruha Session Pale and Bruha IPA - with seasonal beers launched throughout the year. Shoppers can order online, or if you’d like to buy beer directly the Bruha shop is open Monday to Friday from 10am-4pm where you can collect beer by the case, keg or cask.
Fourpure, South East London
Since launching back in 2013, this iconic brewery has grown to become one of the UK’s leading craft brewers. Foupure’s industrial-style taproom is nestled within its brewery site in the heart of the famous Bermondsey Beer Mile making it the perfect spot to get your beer fix in the capital. Located at the Bermondsey Trading Estate next to South Bermondsey rail station it’s a two minute walk once you’re off the train. The centrepiece bar boasts 43 taps of freshly brewed Fourpure craft beers, with weekly rotating vendors serving delicious food specially chosen to be paired with beer, from homemade pizza to juicy burgers and loaded fries.
Hepworth Brewery, West Sussex
In the heart of West Sussex lies one of the most sustainable breweries in the UK, if not the world. Hepworth Brewery use ground breaking technology like the world’s first beer source heat pump, using the heat from fermenting beer to heat the boiler that starts the brewing process. Impressively, they are currently 85% carbon neutral, with a target of reaching 100% by the end of 2024. Of course, the beer tastes fantastic too, with a brand-new range of gluten free and vegan-friendly ales having just launched, including Crazy Horse (a hoppy American pale ale) and Aztec, a low alcohol lager brewed using agave.
Fyne Ales, Argyll
Breweries don’t get much more scenic than Fyne Ales, a proudly independent and family-owned modern farm brewery creating progressive beers in a corner of Argyll since 2001. The brewery is located on their working farm at the head of Loch Fyne, where the spent grain is used to feed their cattle, sheep and red deer. Fyne Ales’ flagship beer, Jarl, is a multi-award winning 3.8% single-hop blonde ale brimming with American Citra hops. You can try Jarl, and many more, if you visit their shop and tap room, or book a tour of the brewery.
Manchester Union Brewery, Manchester
If you’re on the lookout for a really exceptional lager – on par with the kind of fresh-tasting, flavourful pilsners of Central Europe – check out Manchester Union. They use a technique called decoction mashing, a traditional and ancient method of production which is time and labour intensive and involves heating a proportion of the mash up to 100 degrees, which is almost double the temperature range normally used in lager production. This extra step releases a small but pleasing amount of tannins which cannot be replicated in any other way, giving the beer a big body and silky mouthfeel without it being too sweet.
71 Brewing, Dundee
Dundee’s first active brewery in over 50 years, 71 Brewing have been crafting craft crisp lagers and innovative small batch brews since 2016. Based in the former ironworks towering out of the heart of an area known as ‘Hell’s Half Acre’ the brewery building once formed a major part of Dundee’s mighty Blackness iron foundry. Their state-of-the-art brewhouse is optimised for brewing the finest beers of every style. Recently 71 Brewing have been focusing on the really special Fruition Seasonal Sours series, which explores different fruits and flavours from Scotland and beyond. Inspired by their local surroundings, the first few releases include the delicious-sounding Strawberry Crush and Dark Berry Beret - both show-casing glorious berries from the renowned fruit farms located in the Carse of Gowrie.
The Harbour Brewing Co, Bodmin
Sourcing the best raw ingredients is imperative to the ethos at The Harbour Brewing Co, an innovative microbrewery set up in 2012 that takes inspiration from the beautiful Cornish coast. The team combine top quality hops and Cornish spring water tapped straight from the source, then bring them to life through dogged dedication to modern techniques. Highlights include Shimmer (a heady and fresh-tasting double IPA), Endless Summer Grapefruit IPA and a mouth-watering Rhubarb Ice Cream Pale Ale.
Belhaven Brewery, Dunbar
The oldest working brewery in Scotland, Belhaven Brewery was established in 1719 and is one of the country’s most loved beer makers. Situated in Dunbar, it nestles between the rolling barley fields of East Lothian and the beautiful Belhaven Bay, just a short train journey from Edinburgh. Never resting on its laurels, the brewery continues to produce some of Scotland’s favourite beers using 100% Scottish malted barley, its own spring water, and unique Belhaven yeast. The Belhaven Visitor Experience was named Visitor Attraction of the Year at the 2022 World Beer Awards and is well worth a detour.
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