LAST month saw the retirement of John Gilbert as chairman of the Downton brewery, Hop Back. Back in 1986, John sold his house in London and bought the Wyndham Arms on Estcourt Road. A year later, he started brewing his own beer. By 1991, such was the demand for his award-winning ales that he founded the Hop Back Brewery, setting up production in a factory unit at Downton.

But just as one local brewer retires, so another local brewer has arrived, and one who reflects the changing tastes of modern drinking. Because while the amount of beer drunk in the UK has remained largely consistent in recent years – 44 million hectolitres if you’re counting – the where and the what has shifted. In 2015, supermarkets and off licences outsold clubs, pubs and restaurants for the first time. And while sales of real ale has dipped, that of craft beer have continued to rise.

This week, I visited the Dark Revolution brewery, housed opposite the airfield at Old Sarum. I caught up with Greg Hughes, co-founder and head brewer, who explained how the idea came from his adjacent home brew business, Brew UK. Having spent a decade selling people the kit to make beer, Greg decided to give it a go himself. Dark Revolution began as a ‘cuckoo brewery’, using the facilities of Cheddar Ale in Somerset. But the brewery is now established in Salisbury, with its tap room open to visitors since last November.

Greg explained how the craft beer revolution has brought in a new style of beer: taking its influences and inspirations from the American craft beer movement, but brewed with a decidedly British twist. It’s a beer popular with both younger and also female drinkers, and even those who never normally drink beer. Greg described the surprise of one lifelong lager drinker when he sampled craft beer for the first time.

Salisbury is yet to completely catch up with the craft beer revolution. While Southampton has a whole range of craft beer bars, Salisbury has just Danny’s and the Bridge Tap currently flying the flag. But you can visit Dark Revolution to drink in their tap room on a Friday and a Saturday and enjoy their wares where it was brewed. I tried the So.LA and Wild Child, both of which I would thoroughly recommend.

Chatting to Greg, both his passion for beer and his encyclopedic knowledge of it are clear. Dark Revolution does the craft thing extremely well: sharply designed packaging, great tastes and an atmospheric, quirky location. In the world of Salisbury drinking, it’s great to have such a refreshing new flavour.

For more information visit The tap room is open 3-10pm Fridays and 1-10pm Saturdays.