Summer is a time for festivals and if you're heading to any one of the major or minor events schedules this year, craft beer is sure to be available.
Not all craft beers are created equal, so here are a few of the top options to take for a test drive in 2019 while you kick back and enjoy the rest of the fab festival experience.
Hobo Beer Co Three Hop Lager
Not every craft beer has to be a heavy duty, head-spinning IPA. In fact a number of craft lagers are emerging at the moment to re-jig expectations and broaden the appeal of this type of beverage.
Three Hop Lager from Hobo is an ideal example of a beer that straddles the line between something that will attract hardcore hop-heads and those looking for a more quaffable thirst-quencher. Expect to be blown away by the citrus tang of this fundamentally fruity lager which is ideal for gulping down on a blazing hot day at your festival of choice.
Goose Island IPA
You will probably have seen this beer in your local supermarket, at certain pubs or while shopping for craft beers online. Its ubiquity is not just a sign of the big marketing budget and supply chain that supports it; Goose Island IPA is still an excellent craft beer at its core and one which even discerning drinkers will have a space in their hearts for.
The first thing to say about the flavour profile of this Indian pale ale is that it manages to blend bitterness with sweeter fruitiness quite successfully. It is also famed for its natural tones that tie it more closely to a pine forest than a pineapple. Forget any stigma you might have because the brand belongs to a multinational corporation and instead seek out Goose Island IPA at festivals in 2019 because it is simply so good.
Einstök Pale Ale
For a craft beer that comes from a little further afield, this Icelandic option is pretty compelling. Part of the appeal is the water used as the foundation of the beer itself, as it is volcanically filtered and thus almost entirely free of any flavour-compromising inclusions.
In terms of flavours, the use of cascade hops and the hearty 5.6% ABV might make it sound like a beer that will clobber you over the head with its presence. Thankfully it has been artfully brewed to be a bit subtler in the mouth, even if your nose will definitely get a good whiff of heady hops before it arrives at your tongue.
BrewDog Dead Pony Club
The BrewDog success story may have Punk IPA as its true poster child, but Dead Pony Club is arguably the superior of its earlier efforts. It manages to have a hefty helping of hops on the nose and plenty of citrusy notes on the tongue, while still clocking in at under 4% ABV. If you have an afternoon of drinking ahead of you at a festival, this is by far the most sensible session beer to bring along for the ride.
BrewDog also has one of the best low alcohol craft beers on the market in the form of Nanny State. Seek this out if you love craft beers for their flavours but do not fancy taking on one of the stronger varieties that are worth recommending.
Herrljunga Strawberry & Vanilla Cider
Sure, this is a craft cider rather than a beer. Even so, it deserves a place on this list because it will appeal to festival attendees who want a drink that is a little sweeter and more exotic.
Similar to other Swedish ciders in terms of its quality and consistency, it thankfully uses entirely natural ingredients to create the flavours of fresh strawberries and delicious vanilla. The fact that no artificial components are included in this process is a good indicator that the creators really care about their product.
Aigua De Moritz 0,0.
Festivals can be punishing if you are not careful about managing your drinking habits, so why not avoid having to deal with a terrible tent-bound hangover by drinking an alcohol-free craft beer?
This option from Moritz hails from Spain and does a brilliant job of emulating the flavour of a genuine European craft lager without having an eye-watering ABV. No doubt purists will turn up their noses at the very notion that such a feat is achievable, yet the proof is in the pudding, or rather in one of Mortiz's slender bottles.
Wild Beer Co Fresh Pale Ale
Wild has won accolades for producing craft beers that are out of the ordinary. Fresh is no different and is definitely one of the craft beers to try if you are hoping to have your mouth awakened by the power of grapefruit-like hoppiness.
As the name suggests this is also amongst the best craft beers to crack open sooner rather than later; leaving it to linger will only lessen the impact of its carefully created fresh flavours. That's a no-brainer for any festival goer and it is also worth getting craft beers online and keeping them cold in a cooler box if you are camping without access to a fridge.
Beavertown Brewery Neck Oil
Often seen as the hipster's favourite British brewer of craft beers, Beavertown has managed to make headway with a variety of innovative concoctions which can be a little intimidating for anyone who is not already an aficionado. Neck Oil is the opposite of this, being as it is an accessible and appealing IPA that will not blow your brains out or bore you.
Tipping the scales at 4.3% ABV, it is a great session sipper that has the kind of refreshing, crisp flavour that will be just as welcome on the third or fourth can as it is on the first. At festivals, even weaker strength craft beers can become a chore after a while if they have a heavy darkness to them, while Neck Oil is eminently zingy every time.
Oakham Ales Citra
Vying for attention alongside Neck Oil as the session IPA of choice for fans of craft beers, Citra is an award winning British beer that has a grand hoppiness to it that will instantly win over plenty of people. The tingling citrus flavours are married with a tropicality that might not be expected from something so piquant.
Another reason to recommend Citra is its low strength. At just 4.2% ABV it is well worth seeking out amongst the other craft beers to try at festivals since unlike other IPAs it will sit nicely throughout a longer session. It is no surprise that Citra has risen to become Oakham's best-selling beer, holding this honoured position for over three years now.
Tiny Rebel Clwb Tropicana
Tiny Rebel is an up and coming brewery based in Wales that is not afraid to be innovative with the craft beers it creates. Clwb Tropicana is the perfect example of this, serving as a calling card for the company thanks to the massive dose of tropical flavors it supplies.
Sold in Day-Glo neon cans, this is a 5.5% ABV IPA made with American hops which somehow manages to evoke the fruits found on desert islands. Think pineapple, mango and passionfruit, amongst others. Basically, this is one of the best craft beers for anyone who would normally choose to drink a cocktail rather than anything served in a can.
If you come across Clwb Tropicana at a festival in the next few weeks, do give it a try. Obviously, with its strength and flavour profile it might not make the best choice for all day drinking but as a little afternoon pick me up when you want to refresh your palate rather than bogging it down with something blander, it should really hit the spot.