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Raise a glass to British brewers on International Beer Day


There’s nothing better than relaxing in the sunshine with a frosty glass of beer after a hard day of, um, relaxing in the sunshine. Whether you’re at home or on holiday, discover more about Britain’s boutique beer phenomenon and try something new this International Beer Day.

Beer tops with international flags on

Beer will be celebrated across the world on International Beer Day

Toast the nation’s best brews on International Beer Day On Friday 5 August, join beer lovers all over the world as they raise a cool glass in celebration of International Beer Day. Founded in 2007, and taking place annually on the first Friday of August, International Beer Day is a celebration of ‘all things beer’, says the official website, and takes place across the globe in pubs, bars, restaurants and, of course, our fleet.


For the uninitiated, the choice of beer available in the UK has never been so interesting, as countless varieties of craft and microbrewery lagers, ales and stouts now share the spotlight alongside the well-known big players.


This British resurgence in boutique beers was largely inspired by the trailblazing craft-beer scene in the United States. A further boost to small breweries was given in 2002 when the then Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown introduced a progressive beer duty offering tax incentives to small brewery independents to help them compete against the global giants. As a result, Britain now has more than 1,400 breweries (more per capita than any country in the world) and this is increasing by 10 per cent year on year. Indeed, Community Pubs Minister Marcus Jones recently highlighted Britain’s status as a ‘brewing powerhouse’, with an average of three new breweries opening a week.


This is music to the ears of self-­‐confessed beer fan and P&O Cruises Food Hero Olly Smith. ‘Beer is the most creative drink on the planet,’ says Olly. ‘Every day, new inventive brews are crafted to quench the thirst of every taste there is – from deep, dark, hearty warmers through to quenching refreshing beers with electrifying tropical hops.’ Olly’s own creation, Jolly Olly (brewed in his home town of Lewes), is served alongside his Rocky Head pale ale in The Glass House on board Britannia.


P&O Cruises Head of Beverages Services Anthony Habert is equally passionate about this golden age of British beer. ‘I can't remember a time when beer was in such rude health,’ he says. ‘It’s wonderful to see such variety and choice of real ales and craft beers coming from new start-ups and also from brewers of old. All of these new beers champion their ingredients and provenance, and push the boundaries of what is possible in the beer world.’


Of course, being a celebration of international beer, you can always sample from some of our most popular destinations: Italy’s Peroni, Mexico’s Corona, Germany’s Becks, Denmark’s Carlsberg or Belgium’s Stella Artois are a selection of our international beers available on board.

A selection of craft beers available in Brodie’s Bar

A selection of 70 craft beers, ales and ciders are available on board Britannia in Brodie’s Bar

The best of British

This International Beer Day, P&O Cruises Head of Beverages Services Anthony Habert recommends celebrating with something closer to home. After all, beer has been produced in Britain for thousands of years, so we know how to do it well.


Across the fleet, he and his team are proud to offer guests a great selection of some of the nation’s favourite brews with beers that will appeal to anyone. For guests on board Britannia, a collection of 70 ales, beers and ciders from all around the UK has been curated in Brodie’s Bar to give you the chance to explore a Beer Map of Britain... through your taste buds! A selection of 20 beers from this list is now also available across the fleet.


Our collection compromises the largest selection of bottled British beers at sea, and takes you on a tantalising journey to all four corners of the United Kingdom, from small artisan brewers to the big boys of the beer world. Taste something light and citrusy with a bottle of Jarl from Fyne Ales Brewery in Argyll, Scotland, or go for the sweet, rich and strong hoppy goodness of Belhaven Wee Heavy from Greene King Brewing & Retailing (Belhaven) in East Lothian. You’ll pick up rich and chocolatey flavours in a glass of Welsh Black from The Great Orme Brewery in Conwy, Wales, whereas fresh cut apples, melon and honey will bring your taste buds alive in Real Smiler from Clearwater Brewery in Devon, and Okell’s IPA from the Isle of Man will set your palate zinging with spicy lemony notes. Taste history with the clean and refreshing Titanic Quarter Beer from the Hilden Brewery, Ireland’s oldest brewery, while The Curious Brew from Chapel Down Brewery in Kent will please those partial to a lager, pale ale… and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. The geography of Britain has never seemed quite so interesting! To check out the whole collection, see our beer menus.


A flight of beer in Brodie’s Bar


Flights of fancy
With so many new and interesting options of British beers available across our fleet, how do you choose? That’s where our beer flights come in.


‘Our beer flights are really fun,’ says Anthony Habert, P&O Cruises Head of Beverages Services. ‘These give a great insight into some of the different ales on board without having to order a pint of each. It’s a fun and interesting way to explore new flavours as well as styles and beers that you aren’t familiar with.’


Beer flights allow you to try three different beers (a 1/3 of a pint of each) and are organised into six categories by region, showcasing the best from all four corners of the UK. The Northern Collection will take you from Cheshire and Merseyside to Northumberland; The Yorkshire Collection picks out three of the best beers from East, South and West Yorkshire; in The Southern Collection you’ll sample beers from Berkshire, Cornwall and Wiltshire; The Eastern Collection showcases favourites from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Essex; The Midlands Collection will take you to Lincolnshire, Shropshire and Warwickshire; and you can taste the top beers from Ireland, Scotland and Wales in The Celtic Collection.


Not only are they perfect if you want to sample a few different beers or are unsure of which beer to try first, but they provide a balanced array of styles so you can appreciate the varieties of beer and the intricacies of flavour and ingredients from some of the UK’s finest craft beer producers. Find out more about the six collections


Beer in the sunshine


Five of the best summer beers

Let Anthony Habert, P&O Cruises Head of Beverage Services, guide you through five of his favourite beers to enjoy on a summer’s day:


• Summer Lightning
‘I’m a big fan of light, hoppy beers. As I grew up and live in Salisbury, Hopack is one of my favourite local breweries. I'm a big fan of Summer Lightning, a fresh summer ale with a lovely bitter finish to enjoy all year round.’


• Hophead*
‘From the Darkstar stable, this wonderfully light pale ale is brewed in Partridge Green, Sussex. Made with cascade hops, it has a clean, full-bodied flavour with a strong floral aroma and elderflower notes.’


• Belhaven Wee Heavy*
‘My favourite Scottish tipple is Wee Heavy from Belhaven in East Lothian. Dark, malty and with hints of sweet caramel, it’s the complete opposite of a light, hoppy ale but is a classic.’


• Titanic Quarter Beer**
‘Brewed by Hilden in Lisburn, County Antrim, this is a really well-balanced golden ale with citrus notes and a clean finish.’


• Double Dragon*
‘I have a great emotional attachment to Double Dragon from Felinfoel in Llanelli as I am a closet Scarlets fan. Available on Britannia, this deep-copper-red ale is smooth and fruity with nutty toffee overtones.’


*Available on Britannia
**Available across fleet