Searching for the UK’s Best Independent Craft Keg Beers
By Mike Benner, SIBA Chief Executive
Wednesday 07 March 2018
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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%)
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