The microbrewery movement has positively shaken the UK beer scene, bringing back variety and flavour. Consumers are now spoilt for choice, with hundreds of independent breweries operating across the country. If you love beer as much as we do, you’ll be delighted to hear that the last few years have seen a surge in the number of microbreweries opening their doors and reviving local beer production – something which was once commonplace but had all but disappeared by the end of the 20th century. This article takes a look at this exciting trend and how it’s already changing the face of UK beer drinking culture forever.
The definition of a microbrewery
A brewery that produces fewer than 15,000 barrels of beer per year is considered a microbrewery, whereas larger commercial breweries produce around 10 million barrels annually – that’s a huge difference. Microbreweries offer customers more variation and flavour, with many pubs and bars now stocking a wider selection of handcrafted beers, ales, and ciders for their customers to choose from. However, not all microbreweries are created equal. Some are better than others, and the reason for this is down to different elements within the brewing process.
Why the UK is going micro
The “going micro” movement can be attributed to a variety of reasons. For starters, the surge in popularity of real ale, craft beer, and cider has given way to a greater appreciation for locally produced drinks. This has led people to question where their drinks are coming from and whether they are really the product of a local business. The increase in online shopping has also contributed to this shift. You’ll often see microbreweries operating an online store, allowing you to buy directly from the source and cutting out the middleman. This has allowed smaller breweries to thrive despite their relatively small size. Most importantly, the rising popularity of beer festivals has allowed consumers to try a variety of different beers and ciders, giving them the opportunity to sample a range of flavours and find their perfect drink. This has, in turn, led people to seek out microbreweries so that they can drink their favourite beers at home too.
Benefits of having more microbreweries
The benefits of having more microbreweries are numerous. There are a few obvious ones, such as the fact that consumers will have a greater selection of beers to choose from, and that the price of beer will, in theory, be cheaper as a result. But a shift towards more microbreweries has the potential to create a variety of different long-term effects too. As previously stated, the increase in real ale and craft beer has led to a renewed appreciation for local businesses, meaning that these breweries can potentially thrive and expand. The rise in popularity of beer festivals has given consumers the opportunity to try new flavours and find their perfect drink. This has, in turn, led people to seek out microbreweries so that they can buy their favourite beer from the source and enjoy it at home. This may even lead to a more positive drinking culture, as people will be more aware of what they are drinking.
The growth of craft beer brands
As the number of microbreweries has grown, so too has the number of craft beer brands. With more breweries having the ability to brew more types of beer and at a lower cost, they have been able to try new flavour combinations and experiment with different ingredients and recipes. In fact, there are now more than 1500 craft beer brands in the UK, and the market is only growing. With more beer festivals taking place and consumers willing to try new flavours and brands, it is predicted that the number of craft beer brands will increase in the next few years. This is fantastic news for beer drinkers, as it means that there is a wider range of flavours and types to try. You’ll be spoiled for choice, so you’re sure to find a beer that you love.
Where to find the best brews
It can be hard to track down the best brews if you’re new to craft beer. Fortunately, there are a few ways that you can find the best brews. If you’re looking for real ales, the Campaign for Real Ale’s website is a great place to start. You can use the real ale finder tool to locate your nearest pub that has real ale on tap. You can also use your favourite social media platform to track down craft beer brands. Many breweries have a presence on social media platforms, allowing you to see what new brews are coming out and where you can buy them from. And if you want to visit a brewery in person, there are many online tools that can help you track down your nearest one.
How to spot a quality craft beer
With a variety of different beer brands now available, you may wonder how you can tell a truly quality craft beer from its imposter. Luckily, there are a few things you can look out for. First, check the bottle or can. If the drink is being served from a can, you can check the nutritional facts to see how much alcohol it contains. If it’s in a bottle, you can check the side of the bottle for this information. Secondly, look at the colour of the beer. A truly quality beer will be a rich colour, and if labelled as “bottle conditioned”, will contain a little sediment at the bottom of the bottle. If the beer is a thin colour, you can be sure that it may have undergone additional processing, sacrificing quality for shelf life. Lastly, check the ingredients. A truly quality beer will have a short list of ingredients that you’ll probably be able to identify. If it has a long list of ingredients or is listed as an artificial flavour, it might not be as good for you as you’d hope.
The microbrewery revolution has been a fantastic change for the beer scene in the UK. It has allowed consumers to enjoy more choice and experiment with different flavours and types. The increase in real ale, craft beer, and cider has led people to appreciate locally produced drinks, while the rise in beer festivals has given people the opportunity to try new flavours and find their perfect drink. With more microbreweries operating, there are more beer brands to choose from and a wider variety of flavours to enjoy. Now that you’re fully informed about the exciting world of microbreweries, it’s time to try something new and experience all that the UK beer scene has to offer.