There’s a lot to be said for drinking local, and the craft beer boom means that most Londoners needn’t travel far to taste exciting, hop-forward beers straight from the source. The problem is, locally brewed beer has become so available in London that we're at risk of ignoring the brilliant brewing innovations going on around the world.
Thankfully, HonestBrew stocks hundreds of beers from breweries around the world (many of whom will have even influenced London beer giants like Beavertown and Camden), meaning you’re only a few clicks away from broadening your beery horizons. Here are five brilliant brews to look out for.
New Zealand: Yeastie Boys Hellzapoppin Hot Smoked IPA. 6.5% ABV
So, you’ve tried just about every hop-heavy IPA going – what’s next? How about a great big whack of chilli spice? That’s the special ingredient in this bracing brew from famed Kiwi brewers Yeastie Boys, which also packs in manuka-smoked malt to amp up the intriguing sweet-savoury contradiction.
Italy: Birrificio Hibu Zatec Pilsner. 5.2% ABV
We know, we know – you didn’t get into craft beer so you could sit around drinking lager all day. However, unlike the mass-produced nonsense you left behind, this beer is brewed on a small scale just outside Milan, meaning it’ll reach you with its punchy hop flavours still intact. Like many good pilsners, it’s also crisp, refreshing and lightly sweet.
USA: Modern Times Lomaland Saison. 5.5% ABV
Anyone looking to branch out from hoppy pale ales ought to load up their fridge with saisons, stat. This spicy, lightly funky beer from Modern Times (one of the newer kids on California's brewing block) is a fine example of the classic Belgian style and the perfect place to start; super-dry and delicately hoppy, it’ll leave you less panicked the next time a barman declares that he’s run out of Gamma Ray.
Ireland: White Hag: The White Sow Imperial Milk Stout. 10.2% ABV
Irish brewing may be steeped in tradition, but there are plenty of new-wave brewers, like County Sligo’s White Hag, proving the Emerald Isle can do better than bland and fusty bitters. This pitch-black stout is about as anti-establishment as they come: sweet and boozy, it’s brewed with oats to give it a rich, smooth body and lactose for a sweet, satisfying finish.
UK: Mad Hatter Down the Rabbit Hole Flanders Red 8.4%
London isn’t the only UK city turning out outlandish brews. As the name suggests, this Liverpudlian beer is a disorientating but exciting drop, with hefty American hops joined on the palate by a slight spicy sourness that comes from traditional Belgian-style fermentation. The label design isn’t half bad, either.
Ready to try some brilliant new beer? Start your craft beer discovery with a Trial Box from HonestBrew. As a Time Out reader you can sip your way through six different beers for only £9.