Friday, 31 December 2010

The Breweries for 2011

Last year I posted that Marble would be the brewery to watch for 2010. Locally people knew about them but they didn’t get much further away than that. Now Marble are on the lips of many beer drinkers thanks to their excellent cask and bottle selection. This year I’ve got three breweries to look out for...


The Kernel Brewery has gone from 0-100 in 2010. Making beer from a small lock-up in the arches under a railway bridge, Evin is like a wizard filling his bottles with beery magic potions. A series of pale ales, IPAs and a number of dark beers, plus a few cool collaboration (Glyn from The Rake, Mark from DarkStar, Coffee IPA with Square Mile Coffee, a behemoth imperial stout) sees a great range of great beers, all with unrivalled drinkability and oomph. I know I’ll be looking out for each new beer with thirsty anticipation in 2011.

My second choice is another London brewery... Fuller’s. I haven’t had a Fuller’s beer all year that’s been less than excellent and a couple of Chiswicks have been mindblowingly good. The reason I think Fuller’s are important in 2011 is that they have a huge breadth of coverage and they can appeal to the full spectrum of beer drinkers; their core range is very good and deliciously reliable, they have Vintages and Brewers Reserves, plus they are experimenting with the Past Masters series. They also have an important place in being approachable to those who don’t drink real ale and can definitely be a Road to Damascus brewery for new drinkers, whether through their excellent bottled beers or their cask range. They are for Beer Geeks too, who can happily fall back on a pint of Pride, they can look out with anticipation for the rarer casks of Porter, smack chops at Bengal Lancer, chill out with a Chiswick or get excited about the latest Vintage or Brewers Reserve. It’s a very strong brand for all drinkers, backed up with excellent beers.




I think Adnams are also deserving of significant mention along with Fuller's in the way they can appeal to a very broad spectrum of drinkers, from the pint of best bitter in the pub to the home drinker in search of something special and rare, plus their interesting range of international beers and seasonals for those after a little variety. Add to this their new range of spirits and they are a brewery to look out for over the next year. Fuller's and Adnams could be the most important breweries in the UK right now. 

Who are you most looking forward to drinking this year? Who should people be looking out for?

30 comments:

  1. We have a slew of new breweries up here in the North West that sound very promising and really could be ones to watch - Happy Valley and Red Willow in particular could be doing VERY interesting things in 2011, if they follow on with their early promise.

    Marble are in for an even better year in 2011 with lots of goodies in the pipeline - a series of IPAs, two wheat beers, including a strong doppelbock, several collaborations (including one with Menno of De Molen) and two landmark brews - 1888 (the year the Marble Arch was built) and 2000. One of these might be a ginger stout, one might be a collaboration with someone quite significant in the UK brewing industry. And there wil be a new brew of Decadence at the year end.

    On the "wrong"side of the Pennines I think the most interesting new brewery will be the Kirkstall Brewery being set up by Vertical Drinks. They have recruited ex-Elland head brewer Dave Sanders, who has an exceptional track record, and they plan a series of USA-inspired beers (Vertical Drinks have significant relationships with the likes of Sierra Nevada and Odells).

    Finally on the pub front, if Manchester's forthcoming Port Street Beer House is only half as good as they say it will be, we are in for a real treat.

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  2. Fantastic, John. It's always good to know what's going on around the UK. I'm looking forward to the Marble beers next year and Kirkstall sounds good! Happy Valley and Red Willow are on my list of places to listen out for now!

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  3. Of course there's us at Waen Brewery Mid Wales, SIBA medal winners and a beer listed in Pete Brown's top ten beers! He also listed us as one to watch over the next 12 months in his Christmas V blog. Featuring on Oz and Hugh Raise the Bar on Sunday 2nd Jan... www.thewaenbrewery.co.uk :)

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  4. Based on the sheer brewing pedigree and the few fine samples that I've had so far (including my first taste of Pale at the Grape and Grain, Crystal Palace last night) Kent Brewery could be a significant up-and-comer for 2011.

    I too will be on the lookout for Happy Valley and Red Willow now!

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  5. I'm with you on Fuller's and Adnams mark, although I've yet to try Kernel Brewery.

    I need to give some serious thought as to which breweries to look out for for 2011, but having only just returned from a beery few days in Bamberg, and after spending all night at Nuernberg Airport waiting for an early morning flight, my mind's not really with it at the momemnt!

    Have a great New Year though, and don't hesitate to get in touch if you need advice, when planning your beer trip to Franconia.

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  6. Dominic, Marble Brewery31 December 2010 17:07

    There's loads of super breweries about in the UK now - my current and future employees, Moor, Lovibonds, Hawkshead, Oakham, Otley etc. I can't wait to see who rises up this coming year.

    However, the one's to watch will be Brewdog - Black Tokyo Horizon, AB05, AB06, Imperial Scotch Ale...they'll no doubt make some incredible beer, inspire loads of young brewers, and hopefully continue to annoy shitty brewers who make dull beer all the time.

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  7. I think that the most exiting one for me (on the rght side of the pennines!) is the new Kirkstall brewery. Dave Sanders always did good work at Elland, a few of my favorites came from him. With Steve Holt being involved from vertical drinks (Main importer for Sierra Nevada for the country) there could be a few oppertunities for some collaboration brews with some U.S. brewers. Looking forawrd to many new craft brewerys in 2011!

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  8. I like doing this post because I always hear of other breweries worth looking out for. It's also great to see who others are interested in.

    Brad - I haven't had any Kent Brewery beers yet but I need to change that asap!

    Dom - No argument with BrewDog. They are always the one to look for. What could be interesting is the impact they (and the US beer scene) have on other British breweries.

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  9. As a relatively new real-ale drinker, I couldn't agree more with your comments about Fuller's. Some very accessible beers among their selection.

    As for 2011, the Triple fff brewery in Hampshire must get a mention, plus Three Castles Brewery in Wiltshire, with former Archers brewer Ant at the helm.

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  10. With Dom from Marble on board, gonna hazard a guess that Thornbridge will definitely be upping their game this year as well!

    They better at any rate... I wanna come over and do another Epic-Thornbridge brew!

    Kelly

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  11. I think all the breweries mentioned so far are ones id have picked.

    but id also like to add Summer wine brewery and the yorkshire dales brewing company

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  12. re: Kernel - bangs table loudly - HEAR HEAR! (takes quiet sip of imp stout), now a little embarrased.

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  13. Its all about Camden Town Brewery this year Mark! Big tastes, big beers, big plans, please come and visit sometime!
    Jasper

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  14. Jasper - I've had a few great pints of Camden town beer recently and looking forward to drinking more. I'll come say hello some time soon!

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  15. A Red IPA and beer blendings are the new arrivals for early next year. Look forward to catching up.

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  16. I love many a Fullers beer, not least because they are relatively easy to get over here in bottles.

    Adnams is the same... Oooh I fancy a bottle of Innovation around now....

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  17. Late additional comment - new trend for 2011? Black & Tan (blend of IPA and Imperial stout usually). I've tried two in the past year - Hopping Frog Bodacious Black & Tan plus De Molen Lood & Oud IJzer. Both fantastic beers. I wonder which will be the first UK brewery to pick up and run with this one?

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  18. Considering the source of that name, calling a beer a Black & Tan might be seen as very insulting to the Irish. I personally don't care but there are some elements that would. The last thing a brewery wants is to be a hole in the ground.

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  19. On the flipside though, you guys already call that mixture a Half & Half the same as we do so UK breweries can jump on that bandwagon and use that term.

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  20. i had a black and tan by naylors earlier in the year it was porter blended with bitter...i can see IPA and imperial stout working much better..

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  21. Michael Elliott3 January 2011 20:18

    Along with Thornbridge, Marble and The Kernel, I'd like to give a shout out for the Hopshackle Brewery. Their "Imperial Stout", "Historic Porter" and several IPAs are among the best new (to me) British beers I've had recently.

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  22. I'd like to throw Dark Star Brewing into the mix,after meeting Mark & James recently and trying some of their beers (including the excellent Triple) my eyes are on them this year.

    Adnams are a worthy contender, their Innovation is one of my all time favourite beers which I always keep a stock of!

    Marble are excellent and I'm very lucky to be able to buy it in Ormskirk thanks to the excellent Source Deli.

    I've not tried any Kernel Brewery ales yet but that will change in 2011 - they are on my 'must rate' list :)

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  23. JC - I've been thinking about trends and drafted a blog about it last night. I'll work on it and get it posted this week. I hadn't considered black and tans or any blends... That Lood and Oud is a delicious beer though!

    Michael - Hopshackle is a brewery I've heard a lot about but never actually had any of their beers! I definitely need to rectify that this year.

    Baron - DarkStar are great and I love their beers. All their seasonals last year were really interesting and some of them were spectacular - 6 Hop and Saison, in particular.

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  24. Oh yes, Hopshackle - one of the undiscovered stars of UK brewing. Their Imperial Stout is fab.

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  25. Ones to watch down here in the South are - Otley who will be brewing a series of specials together with beer writers and Neath Ales.

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  26. Ones to watch down here in the South are - Otley who will be brewing a series of specials together with beer writers and Neath Ales.

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  27. As long as they start exporting to Germany ;) In the meantime, I'll be watching my "new" local breweries (not that I expect any innovations, but maybe I'll have a chat :D)

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  28. Hopshackle is nice. My honourable mentions are:

    The Kernel
    Steel City - Sheffield
    Moor - Langport, Somerset
    Thronbridge - they are exploding at a great rate

    Special mention - Harwich Town. I can judge their bottle conditioning is a big problem but the cask is awesome.

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  29. munich style lager, alt beer, kolsch, choc wheat bock - these are coming from a very small place called 'Artisan brewing co.' in cardiff
    - i'm watching them, hoping they catch some attention.

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  30. @thomas

    Can you be more specific with comments on bottle conditioned beers from Harwich please?

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