Words & Photo - Matthew Curtis
I sat down with my friends Claire Bullen and Chris Hall this weekend as we embarked on a new project together. Towards the end of the meeting were dissecting the subject of what were some of the UK's best beers. It was relatively simple to come up with a list of breweries who few would argue could be designated as "world class" but when we looked at that list, which featured both very traditional and ultra modern breweries, it really wasn't that long. It's reported by publications such as The Brewery Manual that the UK has over 1500 active breweries, but after processing our thoughts onto paper the breweries we truly could compete against the worlds best breweries on a global stage was less than 10% of that. Many folks, myself included, often muse that so many of the UK's breweries are criminally under covered but then maybe that's with good reason. Life's too short to celebrate the average, the satisfactory and the mediocre.
We then condensed our list down not to determine which breweries were world class, but which beers from UK producers could be classed as "legendary". When thinking about legendary beers you might think at once of Russian River's Pliny the Elder, The Alchemist Heady Topper, Firestone Walker's Parabola Imperial Stout or perhaps even Westmalle Tripel, Augustiner Helles and the hyperbolic Westvleteren 12. There are plenty of British beers *I* think are legendary but I want to know which British beers you think could be rated as world class. I'm not asking for breweries here but rather specific beers. If there's a beer you'd like to nominate then head to the comments section below and let us here at Total Ales know.