10 best British beers

Britain’s brewing heritage is second to none. Award-winning drinks writer Neil Ridley serves us up his favourites for National Beer Day

It’s no secret that Britain’s breweries are booming at the moment, as our thirst for quality craft produce continues to grow. Here, we’ve compiled our favourites, from Porter and IPA to lighter session ales, in honour of National Beer Day (June 15) — but, hey, they’d make pretty great Father’s Day gifts, too. Two birds, one stone and all that.

1. Late Knights Worm Catcher 5%: £2.50, lateknightsbrewery.co.uk



Getting the balance of bitterness and fragrance is all down to how heavy-handed the brewer is with their hops and this IPA from Late Knights in South London nails it perfectly, giving a flavoursome pale ale with enough bite to excite the palate. 

Buy now



2. Thornbridge Breweries Jaipur IPA 5.9%: £2.59, beersofeurope.co.uk



Honeyed, zesty and spicy, but back-dropped by an incredible smoothness, this IPA represents one of the finest offerings from the Thornbridge brewery in Bakewell, Derbyshire, whose beers reflect the changing fortunes of the Great British Pint.  

Buy now


3. Barrell & Sellers Best Bitter 4.5%: £32 for 12, barrellandsellers.co.uk



Simplicity is everything when it comes to great British beer and this has it all, from the no-nonsense label and pint bottles (one of the only beers in the UK to do this), to the wonderful, subtle balance of rich malty flavour, delivered from the use of crystal malt and local hops.

Buy now


4. Harvey’s Blue Label 3.6%: £29.52 for 12, harveys.org.uk



Another absolutely no-nonsense gem, this time from the Harvey’s Brewery located in Lewes, just outside Brighton. Gloriously malty and sweet, but tempered by an aromatic hoppiness, this delivers every time; perhaps the ultimate session ale (those easy-drinkers under 5 per cent).

Buy now


5. Brewster’s Brewing Company Britannia’s Brew 5%: £2.86, alesbymail.co.uk


Britannia Brew.jpg

Specially brewed for the website of National Beer Day, beerdaybritain.
, in association with the There’s A Beer For That campaign, this brings together some truly national flavours, including English Boadicea and Sovereign hops, as well as seaweed and heather to represent Wales and Scotland. Only 1,215 bottles have been produced to represent the signing of the Magna Carta so it’s seriously limited edition.

Buy now


6. Fuller’s London Porter 5.4%: £2, sainsburys.co.uk



Porter ale has experienced something of a renaissance over the last five years, with its rich, malty flavours pairing wonderfully with everything from steak pie to fruitcake. This is a classic example: not a session ale by any means, but wonderfully drinkable all the same.

Buy now


7. Meantime Raspberry Wheat 5%: £2.35, beermerchants.com


Meantime Raspberry.jpg

A twist on the light and refreshing wheat beer, this is packed with fresh fruit flavours thanks to the addition of raspberry puree during maturation.  It is quite sweet, so won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but with warm weather on its way, this has got barbecue written all over it.

Buy now


 8. Islay Ales Saligo 4.4%: £3.20, alesbymail.co.uk


Islay Ales.jpg

A superb summer brew from a destination well known for its peated single malt Scotch whiskies, Saligo is a golden beer using lager, pale and wheat malts to give a light, refreshing citrus note. Pairs surprisingly well with fresh seafood, too.  

Buy now


9. Windsor & Eton Brewery Conqueror 5%: £2.75, bestofbritishbeer.co.uk



Quite an unusual concept but one that is gaining a keen following within the beer community; black IPA brings all the wonderfully rich malty notes of dark ale or Porter, with the refreshingly sharp bite of a traditional hoppy IPA - almost a hybrid, in other words.

Buy now


10. Ilkley Brewery Joshua Jane 3.7%: £2.29, beerhawk.co.uk


Ilkley Brewery.jpg

Built on nearly a century of long-standing brewing traditions in this spa town, the Ilkley Brewery, established in 2009, produces over 40,000 pints a week. Joshua Jane, one of its finer moments, is a nutty, rich beer, made using Amarillo and Columbus hops.

Buy now


Verdict: Our favourite is the zesty Thornbridge Jaipur, but if you want a lower percentage session beer, it’s closely followed by the subtly balanced 4.5% Barrell & Sellers Best Bitter.


Neil Ridley’s ‘Distilled’, winner of the Fortnum & Mason Drinks Book of the Year award, is out now; £13.48, amazon.co.uk


Read more:
10 best gins
5 best Japanese whiskies

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing