News & New Brews
Article: Bottled beer
The Bottled Beer Bar is sponsored by the Co-op
Did you know that you could buy real ale in a bottle?
Real ale in a bottle, also known as bottle-conditioned beer, is not pasteurised
or sterilised but continues to mature in the bottle for a fuller, fresher taste.
The Bottled Beer Bar at the Great British Beer Festival has over 100 of these
bottled beers on sale and you can find out why bottled beer is currently undergoing
a revival in the UK. There is a delicious range of beers available, many of
which are produced by some of the smallest microbreweries. Some will be organic
and others encompass a range of flavours and character including honey, raspberries
and all kinds of intriguing hops.
It may be hard to tear yourself away from the hundreds of cask ales on offer
at the Great British Beer Festival but it’s always worth a peek at the
bottled beer bar. Showcasing dozens of quality bottled brews – all naturally
fermenting real ales – the stand presents beers from all over the UK
and is the only bar that offers you a take-away option.
The real ale in a bottle scene is ever evolving. Gone are the days when Worthington’s
White Shield, Guinness Extra Stout, Thomas Hardy’s Ale, Prize Old Ale
and Courage Imperial Russian Stout were the only bottle-conditioned beers you
could find. Today, brewers in all parts of the country are busy bottling, supplementing
their cask ale trade with sales to independent off-licences, restaurants, craft
shops and farmers’ markets. Their beers usually involve much leg work
in tracking down if you don't live locally but, at Olympia, the fruits of their
labours are handed to you on a plate – or in a glass if you prefer.
The new edition of the Good Bottled Beer Guide, which will also be on sale
at Olympia, has tracked down more than 100 new bottled beers since the last
edition and the book confirms that the quality is better than ever. The final
selection of beers for the bottled beer stand has yet to be confirmed but making
their debut could be beers from Hopdaemon Brewery in Kent, Bartrams, Mauldons
and Old Chimneys in East Anglia, Suthwyk Ales in Hampshire, Black Isle from
Scotland, King from Sussex and Branscombe Vale in Devon. These may join regulars
like beers from Woodforde’s, Hop Back and Hampshire breweries, and other
The bottled bar is usually one of the most inconspicuous in the Olympian melee,
often unassumingly tucked away in a quiet corner. But, like a lost child on
a crowded beach, it simply has to be found. As always, it will be my first
port of call – and my last as I collect my carry-out. Hope to see you