In REGION You Must Try BEER

A couple of years ago we suggested a few indicators of a healthy beer culture. Number eight on our list was the presence of a ‘must try’ regional speciality. Having been reminded of that post, we’ve been thinking about which UK regions have something that fits the bill.

Now, we’re not talk­ing about which beers are best or most excit­ing but those which in some way reflect local his­to­ry and tra­di­tion, in the same way a Maß of Helles tells you you’re in Munich.

Here’s a par­tial list, very much off the top of our heads:

  • Bur­ton-on-Trent, Stafford­shire: pale ale – Bass, Wor­thing­ton White Shield or Marston’s Pedi­gree.
  • Corn­wall: strong (c.5%), brown, sweet­ish ale, e.g. Spin­go Mid­dle, St Austell HSD.
  • Edin­burgh: 80/-. (It’s not unique to Edin­burgh but it’s what we’d seek out if we were there for one day on a fortnight’s tour of the UK and were nev­er com­ing back.)
  • Glas­gow: Tennent’s Lager – brewed here since 1885, in a coun­try which went over to lager decades before Eng­land seri­ous­ly got the taste.
  • Kent: bit­ter with Ken­tish hops, e.g. Shep­herd Neame.
  • Lon­don: porter. It died out, yes, but this is where it was born, and there are some fair­ly authen­tic local exam­ples now avail­able, e.g. Fuller’s.
  • Man­ches­ter: Man­ches­ter pale ale – his­tor­i­cal­ly Boddington’s, which was notably light in colour and high in bit­ter­ness; now Lees’ MPA or Mar­ble Man­ches­ter Bit­ter.
  • Sal­is­bury, Wilt­shire: gold­en ale, specif­i­cal­ly Hop Back Sum­mer Light­ning at the Wyn­d­ham.
  • West Mid­lands: Batham’s or Holden’s Bit­ter. We asked Tania, a not­ed fan, to sum­marise what makes these beers dif­fer­ent: ‘It’s the sub­tle malty sweet­ness that kicks in at the end of each sip, once the restrained hop bit­ter­ness has refreshed your mouth, that makes Black Coun­try bit­ters so easy to drink.’
  • York­shire: bit­ter. A very broad region and a very vague local spe­cial­i­ty that Leigh Lin­ley tried to pin down here.

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