We're familiar with the big name British beers like Samuel Smith, Speckled Hen, and Boddingtons, of course, but these represent only a sliver of England's beer scene. Ever heard of Badger Golden Champion? Or Crouch Vale Essex Boys? Me neither. But by the sounds of it, these are beers worth jumping the pond to find.
The Independent's list of 50 best British beers has some serious highlights. These are a few that caught my eye in particular:
• Badger Golden Champion: "A perennial favourite from the West Country," says Pete. "Flavoured with a hint of elderflower, this beer is a wonderful evocation of summer evenings and a perfect accompaniment to the caramelised crispy bits of the barbecue."
• Otley O-Garden: "On the nose there is orange and clove, topped off by rich tropical-fruit notes," says Melissa. "Then you get a sweet clove up front and an earthier note from the coriander."
• Timothy Taylor's Landlord: "One to drink all night, it's a marvel how satisfying it is," says Martyn. "Subtle marmalade-and-fruitcake bitterness."
Living here in the US, we're not likely to find many of these ales at the corner store. Look for them at well-curated beer stores that do a lot of importing or beer-focused bars and restaurants. Or better yet, ask if they can be ordered!
And if that fails, I'm thinking tickets to London and a British beer tour are in order.
Get the List! The 50 Best Beers from The Independent
Have you tried any of these beers?
Related: From the Firkin: The Return of Real Ales
(Images: The Independent)