Beer Day Britain, the UK’s national beer day is celebrated annually on June 15th.
Celebrate Britain’s national alcoholic drink and spread beery love throughout the land by joining the National Cheers To Beer at 7pm (19.00h) on June 15th as millions of people across the country raise a glass, say ‘Cheers to Beer’ and post a message on social media with the hashtag #CheersToBeer.
Beer Day Britain was instigated in 2015 by Jane Peyton (award winning beer sommelier, drinks educator, broadcaster, author, events producer and founder of the School of Booze).
Jane is the driving force and project manager. Beer Day Britain is supported by all the major organisations in the beer industry including Britain’s Beer Alliance, Society of Independent Brewers, British Beer & Pub Association, and the Campaign for Real Ale.
Beer Day Britain is an annual celebration on June 15th for all beer lovers and it celebrates all beer including traditional ales, mainstream lagers, and limited edition craft beer and everything in between no matter where it is brewed or who owns the brewing company.
June 15th is significant because that is also the date Magna Carta was sealed in 1215. The great charter mentions ale in Article 35.
‘Let there be throughout our kingdom a single measure for wine and a single measure for ale and a single measure for corn…..’
Ale was so important in England in 1215 that it was cited in one of the most significant legal documents in history. Today beer and pubs are still central to British life and seven out of 10 drinks sold in a pub are beer.
Britain has a dynamic brewing scene and an unmatched heritage in spreading the love and knowledge of beer around the world. More styles of beer first brewed in Britain are now brewed overseas than those of any other brewing nation. These include India Pale Ale, Pale Ale, Porter, Stout, Imperial Russian Stout, Mild, Bitter, Barley Wine, Brown Ale, and Scotch Ale.
Nowadays ale and beer are interchangeable terms but in Britain it was not always so. Ale was made with malted barley, flavoured with herbs and spices but no hops, while beer was a malted barley drink with added hops bestowing a refreshing bitterness consumed in continental Europe.
The first record of hopped beer in Blighty was circa 1362 imported from Amsterdam into Great Yarmouth. The earliest mention of beer being brewed in England (from imported hops) was 1412, made by a German alewife in Colchester. Cultivation of hops started around 1520 when humulus lupulus was planted in Kent. But ale drinking by English men and women was not to be abandoned easily and both ale and beer continued to be brewed and consumed as distinctly different beverages. No-one knows when unhopped ale ceased being popular – possibly the 18th century – in favour of the hopped beer that came to dominate brewing. It is also not clear when hopped beer started to be referred to as ‘ale’.
Britain’s (or England as it was before the countries of Scotland and England were legally united in 1707) increasing influence overseas from the 17th century and vast trading network spread the demand for beer and introduced it to parts of the world where it had not previously been. Ships carried beer as a source of drinking water, for daily rations to keep the crew content, as ballast on ships, and as a trading commodity. From the founding of the East India Company in 1600, the first English settlement in Virginia in 1607, Australia’s penal colony in Botany Bay in 1788, to Guyana in 1796 English/British ships carried beer to all hemispheres.
Beer, the world’s favourite alcoholic beverage, is the magical result of brewing water, malted cereal (usually barley) and hops together then fermenting the brew with yeast. In most countries, Britain included, there are no rules on adding additional ingredients to beer. Some brewers include adjuncts such as fruit, spices, herbs, botanicals, coffee and chocolate.
Climate of Beer
Britain has the perfect climate and soils for growing barley and hops. It rains quite often so water is readily available, and trillions of yeast cells float around in the air waiting to be cultured for use in brewing. Thank you to Mother Nature for providing everything brewers need to create Britain’s national alcoholic drink!
On paper it looks so simple – combine water, cereal, and hops together in a big pan and boil it for an hour or so. Cool the liquid and wait for wild yeast in the air to land or add cultured yeast so it ferments the sugars in the brew. Result – beer.
In practice it is more complicated. It is easy to make bad beer and much trickier to make good beer so the brewers who do make the good stuff are virtuosos.
Brewing is alchemy. Each beer starts with a recipe when the brewer decides which malts to choose, what hop varieties to add, and alcohol strength. Brewing is like cooking but with bigger vessels and more washing up!
Beer Day Britain is a grass roots celebration. Brewers, pubs, beer retailers and beer drinkers make plans to celebrate the day in whatever way suits them best.
These are examples of activities that have happened in past years.
- Brewers have brewed celebration beers with British hops.
- Pubs have hosted special events including beer festivals, beer & food matching banquets, and fancy-dress parties.
- Beer retailers have sold Best of British Beer selection boxes.
For information on how to get involved download an information pack here.
Ask your local pub, brewery, and beer retailer what they are planning for the Beer Day Britain celebrations and let’s have a national party!
See also: Is Taurine Good For You, Or Is It All Bull?