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I can honestly say, the inside of a nice country pub in the UK would be my number one tourist destination. The traditional hand pump real ales served at cellar temperature of around 12 degrees are one of my absolute favourite varieties. Better still, they’re often brewed within a kick of the footy from the pub they’re being served.

I was in a beautiful little pub in a tiny town in North Yorkshire, one of the harshest, coldest areas of England. I was drinking a particularly nice bitter, and I thought I wouldn’t mind a chat with the brewer. I asked the old weather beaten Landlord if he knew where it was brewed. He said it was brewed six miles up the small ‘B’ road. When asked if he thought the brewer would mind if I dropped by the brewery for a look and a chat, he gave a puzzled look, ummed and ahhed, then said “I spose you could. He brews it in his barn. You could knock on his door and see if he’s in.” You see, craft brewing in the UK is not new trend, or something hipsters like to say they enjoy as much as their turmeric latte, it’s simply part of the culture of the Old Country, and has been around long before Henry VIII started burning Catholic cathedrals.

Unfortunately this style of beer doesn’t travel so well, and because of its serving temperature, has never really been accepted in our hot country. But maybe that’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with each country having their own, unique, style.

Having said that, here are two of my favourite English style varieties:

  • Holgate ESB 5% IBU40.
    Take a 50 minute drive from Melbourne to beautiful Woodend, and try it straight from the hand pump.
  • 4 Pines ESB 5.4% IBU45.
    Enjoy this one direct from the Manly based brewery straight off the Manly Ferry.

Let us know your favourite English beer or hand pump ale in the comments!

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