Supermarket beer tends to have a bit of a bad name, sometimes deservedly so in my opinion for being, well, a bit “safe” really. Apart from the mass marketed big name “36 cans for £20” brands, most other british and or specialist beers tend to be crammed somewhere in a six-foot shelf space at best. Once there, even those beer names featured you could generally scribble down on the back of a beer mat before you went in and be very likely to find those listed sitting there. Some are better than others, but personally I usually only give the beer aisle a passing glance to see if anything new or exciting has arrived.
Over the last few years Sainsbury’s have gone some way in recognising that and at least made some effort in trying to redress the balance and give some of Britain’s smaller breweries a chance by running their annual Great British Beer Hunt. This takes a section of beers (this year one hundred and fifty-six featured), and runs four regional heats where beers are tasted by a mix of customers, experts and other panelists and put forward to a shortlist of twenty, five for each region. Those twenty will go on sale in stores across the nation in September for three weeks only.
Three weeks from today in fact as they hit the stores this morning, and are on the shelves right now!
This year in particular though, the bar has most definitely been raised and there are a few names in that mix that I would normally pull my right arm off to see week in week out on the local supermarket shelves. The 2013 finalists selection certainly has taken a massive swerve away from the traditional, and moved promisingly towards following the rising trend in more flavoursome, dare I say it “craftier’ beers.
These beers as I’ve said will only be around for a short time and that time really counts for the brewers themselves as it’s sales and not “experts” that will take them to the grand final, that’s you and me in the shops buying your favourite(s). The top three selling beers from each region will then make the final, where two breweries will be in with a chance to win a guaranteed, minimum six-month listing in Sainsbury’s stores across the length and breadth of the country from November this year. (A full list of those twenty beers is below)
I’ve already done my bit, or at least started to and have “stocked up” BEFORE I posted this as I’ve been caught out like that before…
#Hashtag Tasting Alert!
Anyway apart from the giving the regional finalists a bit of a boost with this post I also thought we could go a bit further if you are game?
Regular readers or folk that follow me on Twitter will know that I have run a series of hashtag twitter tastings over the last eighteen months, these normally feature a specific style of beer, Saison, Barley Wine etc and can I suppose be a little exclusive to drinkers that have access to a specialist on street or internet beer store, or else at least are frequent beer tourists.
But how about running a #GBBH tasting night featuring all these Great British Beers, no styles, must buys or favourites, just read the labels, pick what you fancy and join in by sharing what you are enjoying and why on social media? After all most beer lovers or even beer curious folk will have a Sainsbury’s in striking distance, making this event should it happen very much INCLUSIVE.
So what do you think, any mileage in it, I was thinking sometime in around a weeks time to really try and push sales for the full three weeks and hopefully drive a really good couple of winning beers over the finish line, are you with me??
If so all we need is a recognisable # hashtag name, a date and of course some beer…
SCOTLAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND
- Barney’s Brew – Hilden Brewery
- Gonny no brew that – Wiliams Bros Brewing Co
- The Honey Thief – Wiliams Bros Brewing Co
- Hipsway – Wiliams Bros Brewing Co
- Wayfarer IPA – Orkney Brewery
- American Pride – Double Maxim Beer Co
- Crafty Dan – Thwaites Brewery
- Infra Red – Hardknott UK LTD
- Swedish Blonde – Double Maxim Beer Co
- Windermere Pale – Hawkshead Brewery
- Devon Dreamer – Hunters Brewery
- Gower Gold – Gower brewery company ltd
- Harbour IPA – Harbour Brewing Co
- Harbour Porter No.6 – Harbour Brewing Co
- Serendipity – Bird’s Brewery
- B Bok – Batemans
- Black Pepper Ale – Batemans
- Reindeer Droppings – Ridgeway Brewing
- Querkus – Ridgeway Brewing
- Lavender Honey – WBC (T/A Wolf Brewery)