Friday, 14 September 2012

Sainsbury's Great British Beer Hunt

It just so happens that a university friend of the wife's now does PR for Sainsbury's Great British Beer Hunt which takes place this Autumn. She got in touch and asked if I wanted samples and my answer was yes.

So finally after all these years of beer blogging, all these years of watching the young upstart bloggers haul in crate after crate of free beery delights I finally get sent some free beer (OK, it's my own fault really for not making much effort with social networking, plus beer blogging for the soul purpose of getting free beer is very bad practice).

So anyhow, six beers, six different brewers, my unbiased opinion, here it goes.

Nethergate Lemon Head 4%

Nethergate is a brewery I have rated highly for a long time. Both Umbel ale and Old Growler are old favourites of mine so I was expecting the 4% Lemon Head to deliver something at least decent. In short it certainly delivers on the lemon front, with a fair bit of ginger in there as well giving a nice bite to it. The finish is almost tonic-like with very subtle biscuity malt undertones. Great as a straight forward palate cleanser or one to knock back in the summer.

Wadworth Horizon  4%

Very pale gold to straw in colour, dry, savoury and almost pilsner-esque with a very faint hint of citrus. Drinkable enough, but other than that, not much going on.

Batemans Mocha Beer 6%

Promised much with the general description and a big mocha chocolate aroma (lovely volumptuous chocolaty stout like thing here we come). Not quite. Opens with boozy burnt grain in a heavy malt palate of dark chocolate and espresso notes. The finish gets taken over by that distinct powdered hot chocolate note you got in the aroma. Somehow its not quite all tied together and comes across almost artificial at times. Still a pleasent enough beer.

Wye Valley Dorothy Goodbody's Blissful Brown Ale 4.6%

Light chestnut brown and laced with sweet nutty grain and a light creamy mouthfilling caramelised malt texture. Slight almond note in the finish and balanced with only a whisper of hops. Also subtle and tasting a fair bit lower than its 4.6%. A sound beer, yet worlds apart from the big coloured malt laden Brown ales of the North East region. None the less here is subtlty done well.

Williams Bros Prodical Sun 4.1%

Now here's a Scottish brewer with a fondness of the unothodox. They don't shout about it the way others do but Williams Bros brew in a style of their own using a fair number of odd-ball ingredients along the way. This beer is no exception, although by far not my favourite Williams Bros beer it doesn't fail to be interesting. The mid golden liquid offers a peculiar initially plush mix of strawberries and cream, grainy toffeeish chewy ovaltine and a lychee-like slightly hidden hop bite. Quite difficult to pull apart but the finish quickly tails off to airy dry spruce notes. It's certainly worth a try.

Blue Monkey 99 Red Baboons 4.2%

In short a deep reddish black porter cross mild hybrid. Rich chocolaty dark fruit dominates over some yeasty notes, English hops and a bite of burnt grain in the finish that turns it a touch sharp. All in all very flavourful and well brewed.  

It's good to see the supermarkets promote new beers. So remember folks Sainsbury's is a wonderful place. Their own brand ketchup is the finest around and occasionally they change their bottled beer range.

Don't miss the Great British Beer Hunt. There are 20 beers in the final which will be sold at stores across the country. Ten of those will go through to a Grand Final on October 5 when one beer will be picked as the best, and will go on sale for six months across the UK.


arn said...

Must try to catch up with some of the entries this year.
Although it doesn't sound like you think any of those above will storm it into the final top 3.

Mrs Panda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob said...

The Nethergate and Wye Valley entries are great beers. The rest are at least decent. Would be interesting to see which ones make it.

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See what happens when they give you freebies...All objectivity goes out straight out the window.

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