Searching for the UK’s Best Independent Craft Keg Beers

The UK’s biggest ever craft keg beer competition is set to take place in March 2018 in Liverpool

The UK’s biggest ever craft keg beer competition is set to take place in March 2018 in Liverpool, featuring over 460 different beers from 200 different breweries, being judged across a range of different beer style categories, from pale ales and bitters to stouts, porters, Barley Wines and everything in between.

Last year’s competition was already a record-breaker, with the 400 beers in the running representing a 700% increase since 2011, making the SIBA Independent Beer Awards the biggest competition of its kind ever seen in the UK.

Here we highlight just a few of the interesting craft keg beers in the running…

Elgoods: ‘Coolship Mango’ (5.0%)

This spontaneously fermented sour beer is made using large open fermenters known as ‘coolships’, just like the famous Cantillon brewery in Brussels, with a flourish of mango pulp adding sweet, fruity balance to the complex base beer 

Thornbridge: ‘Lukas’ (4.2%)

A classic Bavarian style Helles lager, Lukas is full bodied yet easy drinking, with bready malt notes and a crisp, dry Noble hop finish. Brewing a quality lager that gives the Bavarians a run for their money is no mean feat, and we’re told this is a beer the head brewer is particularly fond of.

Kirkstall: ‘Drop Hammer’ (9.0%)

This powerfully flavoured Imperial Stout has deep, sweet flavours of coffee, vanilla, and dark chocolate, as well as touches of light smoke, oak and charred, roasted grain. It’s a complex beer worth taking some time over.

Beatnikz Republic: ‘Tropic Fiesta’ (4.0%)

This bright and fresh session IPA combines a huge tropical New World hop profile with a lower alcohol strength than you might expect, making it a true session beer. Featuring Mosaic and Ekuanot hops, expect a fruit bowl of flavours and aromas. 

Harviestoun: ‘Nitro Engine’ (4.5%)

As the name suggests this is a ‘Nitro’ version of the popular old engine oil porter, which - despite what the Fast & Furious films might have you believe - actually means the beer is smoother and more easy going, thanks to the creaminess that Nitrogen adds to the mix.

Fourpure: ‘Juicebox’ (5.9%)

Sitting firmly in the ‘dangerously drinkable’ territory, this fruited IPA is as citrusy and juicy as you can hope for, yet manages to remain clean, drinkable and moreish. A hugely popular beer in their taproom, this is one to keep an eye out for elsewhere in the UK.

Lost and Grounded: ‘Keller Pils’ (4.8%)

This unfiltered ‘Kellerbier’ style lager is very lightly hazy with a grassy hop aroma and light, grainy, cereal malt body. It’s brewed to be easy-drinking yet interesting and ticks all the boxes for those looking for a quality, British brewed, unfiltered Pilsner.

Salopian: Kashmir (5.5%)

Salopian have a talent for getting the best out of hops and this beer is a perfect example. Bursting with citrus and grapefruit aromas it’s a great example of an aromatic, pleasingly bitter India Pale Ale that has a foot in both the traditional British and West Coast American IPA style camps.

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