With the growing popularity of imported American suds from Stone, Anchor, and Flying Dog — plus a pair of envelope pushers in Scotland — U.K. brewers are letting the hops loose and experimenting with untraditional methods.
Melbourn Bros. Apricot
Melbourn has concocted three fruit lambics, but its mouth-grippingly tart Apricot, which won two World Beer Championships gold medals, stands out with a sweetness that tempers earthy wild yeast.
Ridgeway Insanely Bad Elf
This imperial red ale (or English strong ale) clocks in at 12% ABV, an uncommonly high number in the land of session beers. Enjoy this beer’s sugary-sweet caramel flavors that pool in the middle of the tongue with dark fruit while alcohol warmth storms the chest.
Daleside Morocco Ale
Based on a recipe created more than 300 years ago, this thick, caramel-sweet beer packs in nontraditional spices for a new spin on English ales. Beneath familiar malty richness, additions of allspice, grains of paradise and ginger taste almost—dare we say—“off-centered.”
The French may have perfected coffee, but the English understand how to balance it in beer. This limited release folds in fresh-ground roasted coffee flavors without the astringency, delivering dry roast alongside vanilla and dark chocolate.
Salopian Entire Butt Porter
Based on a historic porter recipe, Entire Butt combines 14 different malts. Expect everything from sweet milk chocolate to bitter coffee to dark fruit notes in this rich malt showcase.
One of the best IPAs to emerge from England, Jaipur’s malt base actually has to exert effort to temper the hop bitterness—that’s not always the case with the country’s hoppy beers. Hints of lemon and grapefruit leave Yankee hopheads feeling right at home.
Crown Unpronounceable IPA
At 7% ABV, this beer’s almost twice as strong as England’s familiar bitters. Brace for the 11 pounds of Bramlin Cross hops that go into each batch: The varietal lends a citrusy American hop aroma and major grapefruit in the flavor.
Lovibonds Gold Reserve
Technically a wheat wine, Gold Reserve is packed with wheat and honey, and cold-conditioned for six months. The result is a floral, fruity beer that’s an incredibly drinkable after-dinner dram.
Kelham Island Pale Rider
Just like the “Man with No Name”-inspired image on the label, this beer gets straight to business: Soft biscuity malts spread over the tongue before citrus hops rings out in the back. The bold hops will change your mind about English bitters.
Tokyo is unlike anything else in the Kingdom: Scotland’s most prolific brewery tossed jasmine and cranberries into an imperial stout, then aged it on toasted French oak chips for an over-the-top sweet-and-savory experience. Did we mention it tops off at 18.2% ABV and 90 IBUs?