I just can't keep up with the number of breweries in Britain now. When I'm at pubs with lots of hand pumps or at beer festivals I often find beers that not only have I not heard of, I haven't even heard of the breweries either.
As, despite my best efforts, there's only so much I can drink perhaps this is not surprising, what with the number of breweries in Britain rapidly approaching 1000. But as well as going out drinking I also keep up with what my fellow beer nerds have to say online, which you would have thought would keep me informed. Scattered across Britain, and indeed the world, devoting an unhealthy amount of time to getting out drinking, and then obsessively putting the information online (or is that just me?) you would have thought you'd get a wide and varied list of beers to look out for. But no.
When beer bloggers are asked to list their favourite beers, it's not even like a top ten, barely even past five with the same breweries cropping up with boring regularity. Magic Rock, Hawkshead, Summer Wine, Kernel, Buxton, Marble, with only a few more scraping in. I've enjoyed beer from all of these breweries but surely there's much, much, more out there to discover. Or is being a beer nerd like being a fashion victim always chasing the latest trend, particularly if it's just crossed the Atlantic?
Perhaps when ask for a favourite, beer bloggers should list at least one local brewery, or one that hasn't been mentioned by someone else?
So here are a few recommendations from me that don't seem to have made it to the blogosphere:
For my home county of Surrey Shere Drop by Surrey Hills is always worth seeking out.
For Kent, the county I work in, Westerham make some excellent beers, Audit Ale is great on draught if you're luck enough to find it and Viceroy IPA is a great bottled beer
And for Cumbria where I seem to spent most of my holidays Cumbrian Legendary Ales are the brewery I seek out the most, for the excellent pale Langdale and the delicious dark Grasmore.