Crafting with confidence

Locally produced craft beers are perfect for enjoying at a barbeque or while watching football

In the north-west of England and north Wales we are fortunate to live in an area that not only has a long tradition of beer production but also boasts many new and exciting independent producers. Take time to sample your local brands and discover new flavours this summer. We have selected a handful that are worth tracking down.
Coniston Brewery is run by Ian Bradley, and is where Bluebird Bitter is made. This 3.6% session beer won Supreme Champion Beer of Britain 1998 at the Great British Beer Festival Olympia London and has continued to be awarded accolades in recent years. The Coniston Brewing Company uses skill and instinctive know-how to create what must be considered among the finest fully matured cask conditioned ales available making the most the pure waters of the Coniston hills, finest Challenger hops and wonderfully roasted pale and crystal malts.
One of most well-known names in Manchester’s brewing scene, Marble, have been making their iconic range of beers since 1997. Originally set up in the back of their flagship pub The Marble Arch, they’ve moved just down the hill to a railway arch to allow them to expand their brewing capabilities. Dobber, a 5.9% India Pale Ale, is described as a grown-up version of their session beer Pint, and has a full-on flavours and a smooth aftertaste that will leave you wanting more.
Although Phoenix Brewery has been brewing since the 1980s, it was a move to the former Phoenix Brewery site in Heywood, Greater Manchester, in 1991 that led to them taking on their current moniker. Many of their beers are related to their adopted home (such as Monkey Town Mild, named after the town’s nickname which is thought to derive from the local pronunciation of nearby Heap Bridge as ‘Ape Bridge’). Wobbly Bob, a 6% amber-coloured strong ale, is said to be named after a three-legged cat that lived at the brewery.
In 2010 Liverpool Craft Beer Co built its brewery from scratch on a tiny budget. The venture was a labour of love: finding vessels from all over the country, designing tanks and having volunteers help to bring the brewery to life. There was no big investment, no established market, no high tech brewing; just people wanting to come together and make something to be proud of. They say, “Liverpool Craft Beer doesn’t believe in making a fanfare about our beer, but rather let it do the talking. We believe in just keeping busy brewing good beer, everything else will look after itself.”
Try Love Lane Pale Ale or White Fox Wheat Beer.
Conwy Brewery was established in 2003 in north Wales. The company specialises in cask and bottle conditioned ales of the highest quality with probably the best range of ales in the area. Having recently moved to new premises in Llysfaen, it delivers direct to the on and off trade every week in north Wales and north-west England. There is a strong core range, seasonal specials and a new brand, West Coast Brewing, to showcase modern beer styles including California, Riptide Black IPA, Surfin IPA and San Francisco with more planned in the future.
Beer is not just for drinking, according to beer expert Mark Dredge who has written Cooking With Beer. Mark is an award-winning beer writer and runs a popular blog Pencil and Spoon where he writes about anything ale-related. Mark has won awards from the British Guild of Beer Writers in 2009, 2010, and 2011, his work is featured in leading publications across the globe, and he’s an international beer judge. The author is based in London, UK. Check out our recipes page for some sample recipes.
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