British brewing culture

From the 14thcentury onwards, there have been two types of brew in the United Kingdom: ales (without hops) and beers (with hops), which became increasingly popular with the arrival of the first hops plantations, introduced by the Dutch. At that time, it was essentially women and monks who brewed beer, until the Protestant reform of 1560 when the first commercial breweries were formed and the profession of master brewer came into being.

Since then, small breweries have tended to prefer buying quality beer directly from the big breweries for fear of losing their brew because of poor quality.

In 1707, following the Act of Union, the taxes on beer were reduced to the benefit of local brewers. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter a one-shilling tax was created for "strong" beers.

At the beginning of the 18thcentury, two new types of beer were brewed: porter and stout. These are the base for "mild" ale but brewed with kilned malt. Later, it was the turn of Indian Pale Ale and Bitter, which are characterised by their strongly hopped character, which lends them their typical bitterness.

In the aftermath of the First World War, measures were taken to raise taxes, reduce alcohol content, restrict the sale of alcohol and shorten the opening hours of pubs.

At the end of the 19thcentury, the market for strong beers was at its nadir, but in 1920 a Belgian brewer named John Martin encouraged British brewers to re-launch their strong beers for the export market.

Beer street - William Hogarth Beer street - William Hogarth - 1751

In 1963, homebrewing was legalised, provided the beer was not sold, and 8 years later the lobbying association CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) was established to protect the real ale denomination. Also, since then, the term “ale” designates top-fermented beer.

One of the latest British taxes is the "Progressive beer Duty", which has supported the start-up of microbreweries since 2002.