UK Breweries That Are Kicking It Out The Park

So we are already about a quarter into 2018. So a simple question…

Which UK breweries do you think are producing the best beer at the moment?

For me three that stand out are:

  • Black Iris
  • Box Social, and
  • Northern Monk

Most improved brewery by a good way for me is Deya.

They were always Ok but I coined the term ‘poor mans Verdant for them’ a good year or so ago.

Last few Deya beers have blown the last few Verdant beers out of the water for me !

I’m also liking Burnt Mill’s output … Cloudwater continue to excel and Siren appear to have become reinvigorated in the past year or so.

Northern Monk I’ll seek out but flatter to deceive from time to time especially considering the price point.

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To list the three I would seek out the most in terms of ‘good quality beer’ I’d say …

  • Cloudwater
  • Deya
  • Verdant

Aston Manor must be in the mix.

However I came across some Burnt Mill the other day and bypassed them as I had never heard of them. I may have to try them next time.

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For me, it’s:

  • Cloudwater
  • Northern Monk
  • Wylam

This is pretty much what I was going to post, the one difference being I’ve always had a high opinion of Deya. Possibly some local bias for me but I try to remain objective. They’ve certainly improved in terms of consistency though, especially with their core beers - Steady Rolling Man has been tweaked more times than I care to remember but I think they’ve finally got it where they want it now, exact same case with Hokum Stomp too.

For me, the best performing breweries right now are:
Cloudwater, Deya, Northern Monk, Verdant, Wylam

Ones to watch out for: Burnt Mill, Black Iris, Track, Glasshouse
Had one Burnt Mill beer so far but 2 more in the fridge. The first really impressed me so ask me again in six months time, good chance of including them too. Both Track and Black Iris if they keep up the great standard they’ve set recently will also be on my list. Glasshouse are very new but have done some excellent collabs already and some decent hazy IPAs on their own - very reminiscent of early Deya and Verdant kind of beers.

Honourable mentions also to the following who remain incredibly consistent with excellent beers all the time:
Siren, Beavertown, Magic Rock, The Kernel, Brew by Numbers, Buxton

Since those are all English I’ll mention the following for the sake of the rest of the UK. In Wales, Loka Polly are getting a fair bit of regional hype at the moment. I’ve got a few of their cans in the fridge and am looking forward to them.
For Scotland I’ve been quite impressed with Fierce Beer’s output last year.
From Northern Ireland we only really get Boundary over here, and while good, they don’t impress me as much as anyone else I’ve mentioned.
And from Rep. of Ireland I’d say Whiplash have excited me most.

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Deya are a brewery that has passed me by, I’ve only tried 1 of their beers.

Note to self: I will make a concerted effort to seek out more of their beers.

On my recent trip over, Kernel still seemed to be as solid as ever. Other breweries I’ve been excited by have subsequently disappointed me. And Buxton have turned to shit. There was a 10-beer buxton tasting at a local shop recently, many being rerates, and they were all terrible compared to what I’d hoped for.

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My go-to breweries at the beer shops are Cloudwater, Beavertown, Kernel and Siren. I’ve had a lot of decent Northern Monk in the last few months too. I haven’t drunk a lot of Verdant or Deya but the beers I have had have been super.

Also think it’s worth keeping an eye on Orbit over the summer, not the most exciting brewery in the past but with a new brewer in place things seem to be changing a bit. I had their Belgian strong mild on the weekend and it was excellent, as well as a DDH Mandarina pale.

Wylam and Burnt Mill have impressed me recently. The Wylam Galatia at Margate Beer Festival this weekend was beer of the festival.
Northern Monk and Cloudwater continue to be good
I still have a fondness for Burning Sky, their new Saison de Fete I had yesterday was pretty good.
In a fridge full of beer, Kernel would still be the ones I drink first i.e. I want the most.

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Just going on the first 3 months of this year the best UK Brewers come out, for me, as

  1. Siren, yes a bit predictable that but the Suspended in series has worked well for me plus the odd catch up of older beers.
  2. Little Earth Project, some really unusual beers from them.
  3. I will have to go for Odyssey but it’s a close run thing with Elusive.
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Siren’s a beer that’s dissapeared from the local shelves in the last year, and they are missed. Not perfect, but their highs were high. (The importer decided that focussing on their brewing business was more important than low-margin importing - a good business decision, but also a loss.)

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I don’t mail order or venture into civilisation enough to keep up with all the on trend breweries but always look out for the localish Elusive.

The only Verdant beer I had was a warm can on a train when I was sweating my balls off so not ideal conditions.

Just so you know, they’ve recently got their canning line installed so are releasing cans once again, should make them more accessible for a lot of people. Taproom only for now but think going to distro soon so you should see cans in bottleshops in the coming weeks/months, online ones too obviously. They are also planning to launch their own webshop later in the year, currently scheduled for September or thereabouts.

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Loz and I are big fans of Deya easily our favourite UK brewer at the moment. I like Twisted Barrel and think they are getting better all the time, what I’ve had from Burnt Mill has been consistently good, same with regional neighbours Duration. Odyssey we’ve liked for a long while now and they rarely fail to impress. Black Irishave been knocking out some fabulous beer lately and outfits like Wylam quietly go about their business without fuss but making super beers. I really like Torrside, I know that they probably don’t appeal to all but I love the fact that they have a go at everything and aren’t afraid to really mix it up, they’re don’t always get it spot on but thumbs up for their efforts. Agree with Chris re:Glasshouse I’ve tried a few times but only rated once, check out their Crowdfunding thingy they’re looking to open up in Stirchley near Cotteridge and Stirchley Wines and they’re getting close to their target. Magic Rock still very good but have slipped a little lately, I agree with Colin that Siren are really picking up again now, Buxton still very good but seem to be treading water a bit at the moment. Ok I think for me it’s the following three but Deya easily my favourite.

3)Black Iris

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Yes I agree with your views on Orbit, they have always been solid and I’ve liked pretty much everything I’ve had as I recall. However I guess brewing mostly German style beers isn’t always going to be hugely exciting, it will be very interesting if they are going to cast their net far and wide.

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Burning Sky

I’d agree with most on here. Cloudwater new DDH Citra IPA BBC is on a new level for those guys. Really liked that.

Deya have produced some great stuff recently too. It’s great to be enjoying great beer around the UK now as a normal thing.

Went to a Wylam tap takeover recently. All cask. Almost everything was superb.

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