The Northwest’s Best Beers

Say hello to the Northwest’s best local beers; the biggest and brightest flavours of a craft ale scene that’s going from strength to strength

Feature by Lauren Phillips | 06 Jan 2016

After last year’s survey, we were left asking ourselves just how long it would be until the craft beer bubble bursts. One year on and – praise be – the movement shows no sign of waning, with new breweries, festivals and taps cropping up faster than you can say, “pint?”

As you can see from our results, the IPA reigns supreme. There are some old favourites, but an influx of newbies demonstrates just how thriving the Northwest’s craft beer scene continues to be. Here, we talk you through them all, so you can get the next round in armed with plenty of know-how.

Love Lane Pale Ale, Liverpool Craft Beer Co

Named after the Liverpool street it was originally brewed on, Love Lane Pale Ale has a smooth biscuit malt balanced with hints of tropical leaf citrus. It’s one of two on our list from Liverpool Craft Beer Co, who have been the beating heart of the city’s brewing scene since 2010. You can get it as cask or on keg, but we’re fans of the sharp-looking bottles, designed by local brand agency SB Studio.

Rye Pale Ale, Liverpool Craft Beer Co

Either LCBC are buttering up voters with free pints, or they’re just damn good at what they do. We’re opting for the latter. Their Rye Pale Ale is a crisp ale made using Apollo, Fuggles, Bramling Cross and Cascade hops in order to give it that spicy, citrus base. It pours a hazy, amber colour and has a pleasantly dry, bitter finish. Another one that comes on keg, as cask or bottled.

Marble English IPA, Marble Beers

It wouldn’t be a beer survey without Marble, the Mancunian brewery that’s been cracking skulls and taking names since way back in 1997. Like all of Marble’s cask brews, the English IPA is all natural, unpasteurised and unfined to give it that rich, cloudy body. It’s also the only brew on the list made with solely English hops (Target, Goldings and Admiral) which gives it a subtler, more aromatic taste than its continental cousins.

Four of a Kind IPA, Blackjack

This guy is a hoppy, grassy beer from Manchester brewery Blackjack, and is available on keg and bottled. Set up by Marble alumnus Rob Hamilton, this neat little operation brews an impressive range of stouts, bitters and pales, but its American IPA stands out. It's brewed from all the big Cs – Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Columbus – so you can expect a small, frothy head, a golden colour and a slightly tropical base.

Sonoma Pale Ale, Track Brewery

An addition from new kid on the block Track, the Sonoma is a light, crisp pale ale with plenty of citrus zing. It garnered serious attention at this year’s Indy Man Beer Con, which probably explains its place in our list. The firm bitterness might not be for everyone, but it's nicely balanced with notes of pineapple, orange and grassy hops. Aficionados can enjoy it on tap or by the bottle.