Like a fine wine, craft beer is all about striking the right balance between complexity, flavour and finish.
It’s made in small quantities with the best ingredients, and the quality should be matched with a variety of flavours beyond the traditional boundaries of larger breweries.
The Great British Beer Festival (August 13-17, Olympia, London, www.www.gbbf.org.uk) is a golden opportunity to sample more than 800 real ales and foreign beers from around the world.
Bath Ales Wild Hare (£2.08, 5% abv, 50cl, Tesco) is smooth, crisp and refreshing, made with organically grown pale ale malt and non-organic English hops and boasting beautifully fresh citrus, hoppy aromas with a dry, bitter finish.
Camden Town Brewery is one of London’s most exciting breweries and Mark Dredge, author of Craft Beer World (A Guide to 350 of the Finest Beers Known to Man) cites Camden Town Hells Lager (£1.89, 4.6% abv, 33cl, Waitrose) as “Britain’s best lager”. A year-round brew but perfect for summer, the crisp, dry body is styled on a German Pilsner with a broad range of fruit and hops that give it the robust flavour.
Aberdeen-based Brewdog go from strength to strength (literally), and hop heads can’t seem to get enough of their cheeky labelling and deeply flavoured beers. Brewdog Punk IPA (£1.69, 5.6% abv, 33cl, www.brewdog.com) is a safe choice, but they have just launched Hello, My Name is Metter Marit (£2.89, 8.2% abv, 33cl, www.brewdog.com) at double the usual abv in an Indian pale ale. Flavoured with Norwegian lingonberries, the aromas of red berries, complex malt and hops.