Drinkers on continent prefer stronger beer to Brits

Published: 22 October 2015 at 10:21

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Anglia Ruskin study shows that Thornbridge is beer enthusiasts’ favourite UK pint

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Halcyon, an India Pale Ale brewed by Thornbridge, has been named as the top UK beer in a survey of European beer enthusiasts - which also found that people on the continent prefer much stronger beer than British drinkers.

Compiled by academics at the pubLABTM research unit at Anglia Ruskin University's Lord Ashcroft International Business School, the results are based on data from 65,000 reviews on Pint Please, a beer app launched in conjunction with Anglia Ruskin.

As well as coming top of UK beers, Thornbridge’s Halcyon is second in the overall list of favourite beers behind Westvleteren 12, a 10.2% Trappist beer from Belgium.

The survey found that people on the continent have a preference for stronger beers than drinkers in the UK, with their favourite beers having an average ABV of 7.9% compared to 4.4% for UK drinkers. 

It also found that the most popular time to buy beer across Europe is 6.02pm, suggesting a preference for popping for a pint straight after work.

The top five beer styles for UK drinkers are (in order of preference) Golden Ale, English Pale Ale, Best Bitter, Stout and English Strong Ale. On the continent, the top five styles are India Pale Ale, Double IPA, Imperial Stout, Quadrupel and Smoked Beer.

Top 5 UK beers (as voted by all Pint Please users across Europe)

  1. Halcyon by Thornbridge Brewery. India Pale Ale. 7.4% ABV
  2. Jack Hammer by BrewDog. India Pale Ale. 7.2% ABV
  3. Punk IPA by BrewDog. India Pale Ale. 5.6% ABV
  4. Citra by Oakham Ales. Golden Ale. 4.6% ABV
  5. Bishops Farewell by Oakham Ales. Golden Ale. 4.6% ABV

Top 5 beers overall (as voted by all Pint Please users across Europe)

  1. Westvleteren 12 by Westvleteren Abdij St. Sixtus. Quadrupel. 10.2% ABV
  2. Halcyon by Thornbridge Brewery. India Pale Ale. 7.4% ABV
  3. Victory at Sea by Ballast Point. Imperial Stout. 10.0% ABV
  4. Imperial Stout by Nøgne Ø. Imperial Stout. 9.0% ABV
  5. Rochefort Trappistes 10 by Brasserie Rochefort. Quadrupel. 11.3% ABV

Tim Froggett, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Anglia Ruskin University, said:

"Data from app users is interesting because they are likely to be more knowledgeable about the product and have taken the time to share their ideas with others.

The data from non-UK drinkers reveals a trend not only for stronger beers but also for beers with powerful links to brewing’s past.  Beers such as Imperial Stouts, heavily hopped IPAs, smoked and Trappist beers are all among the preferred beer styles and all these beers have strong historical and regional roots.

Imperial Stouts for example were originally brewed for export to Russia whilst smoked beers originate in the Franconia region of Germany where roasting the malt over wood chips imparted a smoky flavour.

UK drinkers on the other hand prefer lighter lower strength ales, especially the new generation of golden ales which are often packed with fruity and aromatic hops."

Beer infographic