News of the brews

By Ben Winstanley

- Last updated on GMT

News of the brews

Related tags Beer

News of the brews is your definitive guide to the week in beer, bringing you the latest in all things hoppy.

Collesi Brewery


Leading supplier, Continental Quattro Stagioni (CQS), have introduced a range of Belgian-style beers from the Collesi brewery in Italy to the on-trade.

Five Collesi Birra Tenute beers are available through CQS: amber beer Ambrata, pale ale Bionda, Witbier-style Chiara, dark ale Nera and red ale Rossa.

The Collesi brewery’s Belgium-born master brewer, Marc Knops, takes inspiration from the Trappist brewing traditions of his homeland in ales that are unpasteurised and naturally refermented in the bottle. They are made using hard limestone water from Mount Nerone, said to be one of Europe’s finest for brewing, and with barley grown in the Collesi family’s own fields.

“This new range of artisan beers represents the highest standards in brewing,” CQS vice chairman Sandro Bevilacqua said.

“I believe that this range offers our customers something very unique and really opens up the opportunity for consumers to try authentic artisan beers from Italy.”

Island Records Session IPA

Island Record Session IPA

Legendary record label, Island Records, has teamed up with Sound Waves and Two Tribe breweries to launch a music-inspired craft beer to the UK market.

Developed by small craft beer brand Sound Waves, the 4.5% ABV Session IPA beer has been made available to the on-trade thanks to independent commercial brewery, Two Tribes. 

The beer was designed to reflect the brand, history and artists on Island Records, with the bright hoppy and tropical fruit flavours said to pick up on the Jamaican heritage and palm tree logo that define the label. Three bespoke Spotify playlists have been created to match the beer best served with music ​slogan.

Glenn Cooper, senior marketing director at Island Records, said: “As a lover of music and craft beer and understanding our heritage of pushing boundaries and innovation, it seemed the most natural thing to create our own beer and accompanying Spotify playlists. Partnering with a talented craft brewer is an extension of the A&R process for us and an example of how we nurture and invest in the creative community.”  

Big Hug Brewing

Big Hug Brewing


Big Hug Brewing has redesigned its range of beers to “reflect its ambitions for the year ahead”.

Big Hug beer which was originally sold under the name Bear Hug was rebranded and has since secured listings through wholesalers including: Nectar Imports, HT White, Pigs Ears and Euroboozer Dunns in Scotland as well as Matthew Clarke .

The brand, which is already listed with Punch Taverns and has penned a deal with Greene King for 2016 is set to add to its current draught accounts, The Crown and Shuttle, Stokey Bears, Magic Roundabout and The Culpepper and it will be available in London’s latest winter Pop Up – Solomons Yard in Camden.

The 330ml bottles are now in a range known as ’The Bears’ - a nod to the original company name, while the Big Hug signature brew ‘Hibernation’ White IPA is now available in a 330ml brushed metal can with Slow Loris to follow next year.

Big Hug recently partnered with sustainability charity My Green Squares which works to help with the preservation of the rainforest, of which Big Hug have helped to preserve 1million square foot for 12 months and hope to continue to expand on this.

Black Sheep Brewery



Black Sheep Brewery’s popular festive ale, Blitzen, is returning to the on-trade for the second year in a row.

Blitzen, a 4.0% ABV ruby ale, is brewed with Cascade and Goldings hops plus light and dark Muscovado sugar to give the beer a distinctive Christmassy richness. The flavour profile is described as complex, driven by a mix of pale, crystal and pale chocolate malts, with a hint of citrus and mixed peel.

Rob Theakston, Black Sheep Brewery’s managing director, said: “Blitzen was really well received by pubs and punters last year and the pre-orders from customers already have been fantastic. We are excited about bringing it back for another season because it’s a top quality pint and a real taste of Christmas.”

Created in Black Sheep’s microbrewery in Masham, Yorkshire, it is available on cask and in bottles.

Shepherd Neame

Christmas Ale


Shepherd Neame has released this year’s vintage of its Christmas Ale.

The winter beer, which is a blend of pale and crystal malts and hopped with Target and Challenger for bitterness as well as Goldings for aroma, will showcase a “Dickensian style” bottle label and pump clip.

Shepherd Neame head brewer Richard Frost said: “It is a glowing amber winter beer with a heady, fruity nose - the perfect accompaniment to the sticky pudding sweetness of festive fare.”

Shep’s Christmas ale will be available on both draught at 5% ABV and in 500ml bottles at 7% ABV for December.


Managing director of Marston’s Beer Company, Richard Westwood (left), was present at the Warsteiner Head Quarters in Germany to sign the agreement


Marston’s has signed a new contract with Warsteiner, becoming sole distributor of Warsteiner German Lager in the UK.

The three year agreement complements the growing trend of world lager categories within the UK market and covers both on-trade and off-trade.

Simon Barnes, on-trade sales director at Marston’s beer company, said: “This agreement brings a great addition to our already strong portfolio. Warsteiner is a superb premium European lager with a global reputation: we are looking forward to offering it to our customers old and new.”

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