This Christmas, we must thank the Lord, who one can only assume is British, for all the wonderful things that he bestowed on this great land. Londis, Duncan from Blue, Iceland’s Chicken Zingy Sliders Party Pack….the list goes on.
Yet his greatest gift, and one that keeps on giving, is the pint of beer. Or as we should all call it, always; the imperial pint. Lest we forget, beer was the frothy-headed foundation on which the great British Empire was so proudly built, single-handedly adorning our nation with the enormous cojones required to open a can of whuppass on countries much weaker than ours.
When it was at its beer producing pomp, Britian forced its proven depressants, available in a wide range of different flavours, on almost every continent on the planet and its breweries were the envy of the world.
Some centuries later, and having withstood a wave of foreign imports (some even sporting umlauts), British brewing has rediscovered its microbrewing mojo with more breweries per head than any other nation in Europe.
What’s more, without the thorny issue of terroir to complicate matters and with brewing horizons broadening beyond just British beer styles, a growing number of domestic brewers are now making beers more readily synonymous with them foreign countries.
So, in this the year of the Brexit, indulge in an array of European beer styles without straying beyond British borders.
Meantime Brewing “Pilsner”, 4.4%
Brewing bottom-fermented beer in London since the turn of the century, back when the Capital was a brewing wasteland and dominated by ales, Meantime’s take on the classic Czech beer style remains one of Britain’s best with a healthy hopping of German hops over a base of biscuity Pilsner malt. £1.70, 330ml
Bad Seed Hefeweizen, 5.1%
Born in Bavaria yet bred in North Yorkshire, this hazy Hefeweizen from a talented outfit boasts the style’s classic banana and clove character – yet delivered with English understatement. £2.60, 330ml
Five Points Brewing “London Smoke”, 7.4%
A milder, mellower replica of Rauchbier – a seriously smoky beer brewed in Bamberg, Germany, and beloved of beer geeks, Imagine elbow-pads of a geography teacher and the whiff of Winston Churchill’s leather-clad mahogany desk after a long night drinking drams, chomping on cigars and pushing little soldiers about a map with a windscreen wiper. The smoke is subtle here, with some chocolate sweetness and an espresso-esque end. £3.50, 330ml
The Kernel Brewery “London Sour”, 3.5%
A Berlin-inspired wheat beer brewed in South London, whose citrusy sharpness challenges perceptions of what beer should be, this is the beer to raise in Bowie’s honour. Sour yet superb. Contact The Kernel for nearest stockist
The Thinking Drinkers will be providing audiences with five free drinks during performances of their acclaimed comedy show Around the World in 80 Drinks at London’s Museum of Comedy until December 23. For tickets go here
For the other entries in our 12 Drinks of Christmas series, go here