The Loop

British Open 2017: 7 English beers to drink while watching The Open at the crack of dawn


If you've ever dragged yourself out of bed at 4am on a Saturday to watch the The Open Championship and thought, "boy, I could really go for a beer right now," then there's some people here who love you very much and would like to talk to you. Before we get to the whole intervention thing, however, let's pour out a proper English pint for old time's sake. Not sure where to start? Don't worry, we hopped the Atlantic and brought back seven authentic Brit brews that will have you shouting "BEEF!" all weekend long.

Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout


Location: Tadcaster, England

ABV: 5.0%

This classic stout is brewed with oatmeal and boasts notes of coffee and dark toast, so it’s essentially breakfast in a bottle. You may want to ACTUALLY eat something too, but as far as bold-but-approachable English brews go, this one is at or near the top.

Fuller’s ESB


Location: London, England

ABV: 5.9%

You can’t assemble a list of English ales without a proper bitter—the UK’s maltier answer to the American IPA—and Fuller’s ESB is perhaps the most iconic. Bitter (duh) but balanced with flavors of orange marmalade and toffee, the ESB is smooth, composed, and, thanks to its rich mahogany hue, looks damn fine in a glass.

Boddington’s Pub Ale


Location: Samlesbury, England

ABV: 4.7%

Though now owned by Anheuser-Busch, Boddington’s Pub Ale remains one of the first English ales most Yanks come into contact with. Straw-like in color and hit with a nitro blast for a cream ale feel, this one may not be particularly exciting, but it’s consistent, cheap, accessible, and better than it has any right to be.

Well & Young’s Double Chocolate Stout


Location: Bedford, England

ABV: 5.2%

You know what goes good with chilly Irish Sea breezes and the chocolate chip pancakes you’ve been scarfing down every Saturday morning since you were 12? Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, brewed with chocolate malt, real dark chocolate and a bunch of other good stuff that help to make this slice of lava cake in a can a mandatory indulgence.

Meantime’s Naval College Old Porter


Location: London, England

ABV: 9%

Looking for the true taste of an English “summer”? Then Meantime’s Naval College Old Porter—a bold brew aged two years in Bruichladdich whisky barrels—is for you. Smokier than a Cuban cigar (and tougher to find too), this one isn’t for the faint of heart, but will reward intrepid British Open beer buffs with a righteous kick in the seat of their tweed knickers.

Wells & Young Bombardier


Location: Bedford, England

ABV: 5.2%

The second Wells & Young brew to make this list, the Bombardier is far more traditional affair than its chocolatey brethren, relying on classic bitter bite and subtle spices to make a lasting impression. Oh, and it’s won a bunch of gold medals, in case that sort of thing matters to you when you’re getting pissed at 6am on a Sunday morning.

Theakston Old Peculier


Location: Masham, England

ABV: 5.7%

A practical tradition in the British Isles, Theakston’s iconic Old Peculier—like links golf itself—hasn’t exactly caught on in the Americas. With a nickname like “Lunatic’s Broth” and a stronger, fruitier profile than the conventional ESB, however, it seems like only a matter of time until this, err, peculiar ale can be found on draft from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon.