THERE has been something of a beer revolution in Britain over the past few years.

The number of breweries across the country topped the 2,000-mark for the first time since the 1930s earlier this year.

Closer to home, a raft of bars specialising in craft beer have opened their doors to much acclaim across Cheshire – from The Salthouse NW in Northwich, to Brewhouse and Kitchen in Wilmslow, and Hop Co in Warrington.

It all comes as little surprise to one of the industry's biggest inspirations.

Garrett Oliver has been the brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery since 1994, more than a decade after the New Yorker first fell in love with cask ale on this side of the Atlantic.

"For me beer is always in the end about people," he told the Guardian.

"Yeah you have a drink in the glass, and the drink in the glass needs to be tasty and compelling – but if there’s nothing behind it and you don’t know who the people are, what the stories are, that’s part of the whole culture.

"We’re not interested in beer made by machines, we’re interested in beer made by people, so it’s always good to know who the people are."

Bored with the usual choice of five per cent American lagers, Garrett began to truly appreciate beer while working as a band manager at the University of London Union in the early 1980s.

He then travelled across Europe before returning to the USA in 1984.

"In the States for a long time it wasn’t about people at all," Garrett said.

"We had beers but nobody knew who the brewers were, you never heard about technique or hops selection or whatever else.

"You had one colour, one flavour, and that’s one reason why the craft beer culture is so strong because we were massively deprived. We had basically nothing.

"I got back and they told me this was the only beer they had. I was like 'I can't do this anymore', so I started brewing at home."

With the craft beer market becoming ever more competitive, breweries are becoming even more experimental with the range of ingredients they use and styles of beer they produce.

Garrett has the luxury of travelling across the world to experience new cultures and flavours, and he believes that exploration of global brewing will become even more common in the years to come.

He said: "I think the big growth in the UK to me has been the embracing of the rest of the world’s traditions.

"A lot of people over here are taking on the ‘American idea’ of brewing but it’s worth remembering, we got all our stuff from you.

"It’s now just bouncing back and forth around the world in this reverberating thing, which is brilliant.

"So I would say that the British beer scene, while it always had good beer, is much more interesting now than it was five years ago."

Garrett was speaking ahead of an event at the Cloudwater Brew Co barrel store in Manchester, where he told the stories of how Brooklyn created a string of beers very few people have tasted.

Among his revered 'ghost bottles' are Tripel Burner – a Belgian-style beer made with liquorice spices and aged in white wine barrels – and the oak-aged sour Kiwi's Playhouse.

"In a way people know us and don’t know us," he said.

"They know Brooklyn Lager, which is definitely our number one beer and we’re happy about that.

"But that’s not the entire brewery – it’s kind of like being a musician and you’ve had 15 albums over 20 years, and people only know one album."

And the secret to making the perfect beer?

"Balance, structure, elegance, and really trying to make something delicious," Garrett said.

"It was only when I first started drinking pints of good cask beer that I noticed there were waves and waves of good complexity, and in a beer that was often 3.8 per cent. I’d never even seen a beer like that before."