Hop across the pond: The best American beers
It used to be simple: there was Budweiser and Miller and Coors and they all tasted of, well, not very much at all.
How times have changed. Brewing has undergone a remarkable (and well-documented) renaissance across the Atlantic. No longer is the phrase 'American beer' a cue for saloon-bar sniggers across the UK. Many of those self-same saloon bars probably stock a pretty handy selection of transatlantic beers these days.
A cavalcade of American suds has flooded into this country: pioneers Anchor and Sierra Nevada have been joined by the likes of Brooklyn, Flying Dog, Odell, Ska, Bear Republic, Red Hook, Widmer Brothers, Lagunitas, and – available for the first time this month – North Coast Brewing.
Not all of the American beer being sold over here is out of the top drawer, though, and even some of the good stuff might not be at its best, having had to travel so far to get here (always check the brewed-on date, if you can: hop potency, a key component in many US ales, diminishes over time).
There are some names you can rely on. The likes of Odell and Brooklyn, whose brewers were first inspired by British tradition, can be trusted while – as a general rule of thumb – beers from craft-beer centres such as Northern California (Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas, Bear Republic) and Colorado (Odell, Ska) are worth seeking out.
And then there's Goose Island, an excellent Chicago brewery owned by AB Inbev, who also make Budweiser. 'The King of Beers' may still be reliably straightforward but elsewhere, thankfully, things have got a lot more complicated.
Three to try
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
The name gives it away: there's plenty of chocolate character in this complex sipper. Ages well. 10.6 per cent, 35.5cl bottle, £3.75 at beermerchants.com
Ska Modus Hoperandi
At its fresh best, this superb IPA is dominated by piney, resinous hops. 6.8 per cent, 35.5cl can, £3.09 at beersofeurope.co.uk
Odell 5 Barrel Pale Ale
From one of the world's greatest breweries comes this lemony, zesty, golden treat. 5.2 per cent, 35.5cl bottle, £3.11 at beerritz.co.uk
Life & Style blogs
Snapchat removed the Best Friends list feature and 'stalkers' are upset
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Fifty years of David Bowie's hairstyles in one animated gif
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
British Breakfast Awards 2015: London restaurant wins prize for inventive take on the Full English
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 3 Kim Kardashian on Bruce Jenner's 'story': 'We support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he'll talk'
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
iJobs Food & Drink
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...
£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...
£26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...