England is famous for many things. But as a beer-brewing country, their beers should never be missed. Whatever beer style you’re looking for, there will always be an English beer that will match your taste. Hop on, as we share with you the 16 most popular English beers to try.
1. Fuller’s London Pride
Fuller’s flagship beer, brewed since the 1950s, truly is the capital’s pride. Named after a flower that thrived and survived during a war, this beer reflects how it can unite a nation of beer drinkers.
London pride is an iconic ale with inimitable depth and balance. It flaunts a tawny-colored appearance, brewed to 4.1%, and has a complementing malt and bitterness taste. It is rich, smooth, and elegant on the palate, giving a clean, satisfying finish.
2. Harvey’s Imperial Extra Double Stout
Brewed by the oldest independent brewery in Sussex, it stands to reason why it gathered multiple awards over the year. In 2021, it was crowned the Best Stout during the International Beer Challenge.
This double stout has an unusual sweet and sour taste emanating from the depths of chocolate and coffee. It has roast, alcoholic, and spicy notes that balance really well. As beer enthusiasts describe, this beer is like a comforting warmth during a cold afternoon.
3. Samuel Smith Organic Pale Ale
Samuel Smith Old Brewery produces its beer using water from a well that’s 85 feet deep. Their beers are made with organic ingredients and are fermented in stone Yorkshire squares to create a fully rounded flavor.
This copper-colored pale ale has a pleasant bitterness and a strong caramel malt taste, yet balanced. The flavor coats your palate and tantalizes your taste bud to take a few more swigs. It is also vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
4. Greene King Old Speckled Hen
In 1979, this premium ale served as a commemorative beer for a car company. And no, the beer is not named after a bird. Old Speckled Hen got its name after the MG Featherlight Saloon.
This British ale has a toffee aroma from the Crystal malt. It has a lovely malt taste with a distinctive hint of caramel. The hops add a herbal note and slight orange citrus. Overall, a full-bodied and warming ale.
5. Newcastle Brown Ale
Colonel Porter first brewed Newcastle brown ale in 1920. But it took him three years to perfect the recipe. Shortly after, it became the favored beer of North East England.
Newcastle is known for its distinctive light cereal character. The toffee, toasty malt, candy fruits, slight roast grain, and chocolate flavor make it palatable. It has a light and clean mouthfeel with a chocolate-digestive-biscuit-like finish, making it a fun beer to drink.
6. Wychwood Hobgoblin IPA
Awarded as UK’s Best English Style IPA from 2020 until 2022, this hopped sorcery is legendary. Made from the finest British hops and varieties from the pacific, expect a tropical flavor explosion.
Hobgoblin captivates drinkers with its tropical and fresh orange aroma. It has a juicy, Zesty, grapefruit, and complex fruit note with moderate sweetness and bitterness. Also, the combination of old and new hop flavors and a malty base made it a rightful winner.
7. Fuller’s Extra Special Bitter (ESB)
Fuller’s Griffin Brewery set the standard after they became the first brewery to win the CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain award. And thanks to their ESB brew, they won on three occasions.
ESB is a famous strong ale brewed to a higher 5.5% ABV. It has a powerful malt base complemented by an array of hop flavors that balances well. The smooth and delicate bitterness it leaves on the palate gives it an elegant finish.
8. Timothy Taylor Landlord
In 1952, the brewery endeavored to develop a new premium beer in a bottle to meet the market. And from their drawing board emerged a now-known pale ale – the Landlord.
Their classic pale ale has a complex citrus and hoppy aroma. The palate starts with a moderate sweetness, followed by lingering hop, with a slight bitterness at the end. It is a refreshing drink that beer drinkers will surely love.
9. Palmers Best Bitter IPA
Best Bitter, a traditional ale from the heart of West Dorset, has become the taste of Palmers for a generation.
It has a visually appealing light amber body and off-white froth that is persistent. The fruity aroma is not overpowering. The taste has slight citrus, the malt is very prominent, but the hops linger. Palmer’s IPA makes a great session beer when you feel like having a bottle on a chill day.
10. Anspach & Hobday’s The Porter
Old childhood friends Anspach and Hobday started home-brewing at university. Sparked by their vision to craft the best beer, they developed a classic that started it all, The Porter.
It has a rich, balanced flavor of espresso coffee, heavily roasted chocolate malt, and dark chocolate. And with its highly kilned and roasted malts blend, this beer represents the true London beer style.
11. The Five Points Brewing Co. Best
Inspired by the passion for British ale tradition and the international craft beer movement, Five Points Brewing Co. continues to produce award-winning beers. A modern beer yet influenced by the past.
Five Points Best has caramel and biscuit notes accompanied by herbal freshness. Brewed with Fuggle hops, this beer gives a smooth and refreshing feel making you want to drink more.
12. Thornbridge Jaipur
Thornbridge recruited two brewers to start their brewing company. Lord Maples, a classic bitter, is their first brew. But it was Jaipur that catapulted Thornbridge into the spotlight.
Jaipur is a beer that will get you into beer drinking, as most non-beer drinkers would say. Recognized as the first UK craft IPA, this beer offers a tropical fruit taste with inviting bitterness. The flavors balance with the English malt base, making it an easy beer to drink.
13. Robinsons Old Tom Original Ale
Robinsons is one of the largest independent family brewers in the UK. Since 1838, generations of the family have continued crafting best-tasting ales.
One of their most popular drink is Old Tom, officially named World’s Best Designed Beer in 2017. It is warming, rich, and malty. And it finishes with notable deep wine and bitter hop taste. If you’re looking for a strong ale, this one is for you.
14. Theakston Old Peculier
Theakston is known across the world for its legendary premium ales. And one of their best-selling beer is the Old Peculiar. Many attempted to imitate the brew, but its unique recipe remained unmatched.
This beer offers a full-bodied flavor with hints of cherry and fruit overtones, brewed from the finest ingredients. Old Peculiar palatable taste truly reflects its countless credits over the years.
15. Freedom Lager
Freedom Brewery is one of the original craft lager specialists in England. They take lagering seriously to bring out the flavors of the beer, making it crisp, smooth, and clean.
Their freedom lager represents how a lager should be, light, crisp, and refreshing. It is also a perfect session lager that is suitable for any occasion.
16. Adnams Southwold Ghost Ship
Brewing for over 140 years, Adnams have a firm foundation of crafting a wide variety of beverages, including beer. And one of their most popular brews is the Ghost Ship.
It has bold citrus flavors, aromatic elderflower notes, and a hoppy finish. Ghost Ship started out as a seasonal beer for Halloween, but it went so well that they permanently added it to their collection.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the different styles of English Beer?
Common English beer styles include bitter, brown ale, mild, and old ale. Other beer styles are included in the table below.
|Bitter||3-6%||Medium bitterness; well-hopped biscuity malt; often with caramel, citrus, or floral aroma.|
|Brown Ale||3.5-5.5%||Low bitterness; has toffee, nutty, and coffee flavor.|
|Mild||3-3.6%||Low bitterness; malty, caramel, chocolate flavor.|
|Old Ale||6-10%||Medium bitterness; dried fruit, caramel malt flavor.|
|Stout||5-12%||High bitterness; rich coffee, roasted, burnt flavor.|
|Porter||4-6%||Medium bitterness; coffee, caramel, nutty, rich chocolate flavor.|
|IPA||5-14%||Low bitterness; aromatic grapefruit; herbal highly hopped; toast and toffee malt flavor.|
What is the oldest English beer?
Shepherd Neame is the oldest brewer in Britain. The official founding date was in 1698, but there is evidence that it started way earlier. Master Brew, the original Kentish ale, is their flagship beer. Today Shepherd Neame has over 300 pubs across London and South East.
What beer to order in a London pub?
There is a variety of beer selections in a London pub. Popular beer brands like Guinness and Stelle Artois are readily available on tap that you can order in a pint. For cold beer, you can have a bottle of lager. But if you’re not quite sure what to get, you can always ask for the bartender’s recommendation or get a taster.
England has a rich history of producing multi-awarded beers in the world. And thanks to their creative minds, we’re able to experience the best English beer styles in the industry today. Keep this list on the tab, this might come in handy on a beer night or if you ever visit England.
Sandra B. King is a wife and mother of two. The marketing genius is also a beer enthusiast. Even though she doesn’t brew beers, she can whip up a mean content marketing strategy.