We love a classic American Beer as much as the next guy, but perhaps an exploration of the 10 Best English Beers will serve to awaken the taste buds to something a little bit different. So, in the spirit of trying new things we journey across the pond to discover some pretty old fashioned flavors that hold up to modern day technology.
- Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout – This Russian style imperial stout hails from Yorkshire's oldest brewery, established in 1758. At 7.0% Alcohol by volume, Sam Smith’s is a very dark, rich, and complex beer with hints of chocolate, licorice and caramel. Fans of the traditional Russian Imperial Stout should note that this beer is not as powerful.
- Fuller's London Porter – Generally considered to be the world's best porter, Fuller's London Porter is a full, dark beer, that pairs well with most types of foods. 5.4% alcohol by volume, this decadent beer has notes of both chocolate and vanilla and maintains the malty richness that porter's are famous for.
- Freeminer Deep Shaft Stout – BeerAdvocates.com gives this rich English stout a rating of 4.31, making it the only stout to tie with Guinness. A lofty comparison for a beer that comes from one of the smallest breweries in England. One of the best English beers around, this dark stout boasts rich robust aromas of mocha, caramel, and molasses, and is dangerously drinkable at 6.2% ABV.
- J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale – Much like wine this fully fermented ale is best enjoyed years after it is bottled, once it has been allowed to age over time. Picking up wooden notes from the barrels it is fermented in, J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale is also slightly sweet and fruity, and is usually enjoyed as a dessert beer. Considered an English Barleywine, and winter ale, don’t let it’s smoothness fool you. This beer packs a punch at 11.50% ABV.
- Samuel smith’s Oatmeal Stout – Sam Smith does it again with this rich stout that drinks like a bowl of maple brown sugar oatmeal. Though rich and defiantly for sipping, it doesn’t feel very heavy. Oatmeal is actually in the barley family, so don’t let the name scare you. This is a delicious and complex English beer that pairs well with meat and potatoes, and sits at a very easy to drink 5.0% ABV.
- Fuller's Vintage Ale – Another vintage beer, Fuller’s may be drunk immediately, but it is recommended that you allow it to age three to four years, though either way this English ale will retain a 8.5% ABV. Ratebeer.com has called it "the best beer to have ever come from UK soil." Fuller’s also recommends pouring the ale "slowly into a Cognac balloon" which will allow the beer to breathe. Mellow and complex, this floral ale boasts flavors of apple and honey.
- Young's Double Chocolate Stout – Would you believe that this sweet milk stout tastes like chocolate? And baking. At 5.20% ABV this dark, rich and faintly bitter English Beer is best served slightly below room temperature.
- Strongbow – Though not actually a beer, this strong English Cider at 5.3% ABV, makes the list for best English beers because of its immense popularity. Strongbow accounts for more than half the cider sold in the UK. A gold medal winner at the International beer and cider competition, it is hard to stop drinking this sweet and refreshing crisp apple delight.
- Fuller’s 1845 – Much like Sam Smith’s, Fuller’s dominates the list of best English beers, but it’s hard to argue with the breweries rich history. This English Strong ale is 6.30% ABV, and is rich and malty, with hints of dark fruits like raisin and fig.
- Boddington’s Pub Ale – With a mild and unassuming taste, Boddington’s is an English Pale Ale that is decidedly easy to drink. It is creamy with notes of banana and nutmeg, and much lighter, and milder than most of the Ale’s on this list at 4.70% ABV. And while it may not hold up to traditional English ale, this beer is smooth and refreshing and is good for no other reason than because it just is.