The Ten Best: Organic beers

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The Independent Online

Shepherd Neame's organic offering combines English barley with New Zealand and Hallertau hops. Balanced and full flavoured, this ale has floral notes.

www.shepherd-neame.co.uk

2. Yellowhammer Bitter £44.90 a case (20)

From the Black Isle craft brewery in Ross-shire, this golden ale exudes grapefruity freshness. Served up in a bottle with recycled materials. 4.0 per cent.

www.blackislebrewery.com

3. Border Gold £26.44 a case (12)

Malty, big-hitting ale from the Yarrow Valley in Peebleshire. Folklore has it that gold from the Yarrow river was used to make the third wedding ring of Mary Stuart - hence the name. A heady brew, it's 6 per cent.

www.broughtonales.co.uk

4. St Peter's best bitter £19.80 a case

Suffolk brewer famed for its distinctive green bottle based on an 18th-century original from Philadelphia, this award-winning full-bodied ale has a refreshing aftertaste.

www.stpeters.co.uk

5. Golden Promise £27.48 a case (12)

Edinburgh's Caledonian brewery trumpets this as the world's original organic beer. It has picked up a host of awards and is brewed in open coppers. It may be too sweet for some.

www.caledonianbrewery.co.uk

6. Honey Dew £16 a case (12)

Fuller's organic ale is the UK's biggest seller, partly because of its permanent resident status on the supermarket shelves. This everyday beer offers a pleasing honey finish;5 per cent.

www.fullers.co.uk

7. Circlemaster £16 a case (12)

From the Oxfordshire Wychwood brewery, the largest maker of organic beer, this golden pale ale combines Target hops with Plumage Archer barley malt. Grown on the Prince of Wales' estate. Great label. 4.7 per cent.

www.wychwood.co.uk

8. Summer Ale £20.28 a case (12)

From the Royal farm at Highgrove, but brewed by the Wychwood Brewery, this light summer ale surpasses the Duchy's normal bitter by far. Benefits from secondary fermentation in the bottle.

www.duchyoriginals.com

9. Brakspear £20.28 a case (12)

This bottle-conditioned velvety organic ale employs Target hops and late copper hopping with Goldings. Pleasantly hoppy and was a winner in the Organic Food Awards 2003.

www.brakspear-beers.co.uk

10. Black Isle porter £44.95 a case (20)

Highly unusual creamy, malty porter brewed in the Highlands. Ruby black in appearance. At 4.5 per cent, it's recommended as a drink with oysters, crab or cheese.

www.blackislebrewery.com

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