GBBH Twitter Tasting #Sainsbeerys

Just a short post to remind folks to get down to Sainsbury’s and hit the seasonal aisle in search of this years Great British Beer Hunt finalists, better still get them tomorrow and join in a mass tasting session tomorrow night via Twitter and any other social media item as you will, as mentioned in my last post on GBBH.IMG_7004

There’s no set criteria, no drinking order, and you definitely do not need to be an expert. Just grab some of your favourite beers or whichever catch your eye (as shelf presence is important too), then join in and share your thoughts using the hashtag #Sainsbeerys as suggested by @BeerOClockShow and/or #GBBH if you have space.

Tell us what you think, promote your top three or just sit back, drink and enjoy the fun, hopefully some of the brewers will join in the banter too.

Time is what suits you obviously, but let’s aim for 7:30 onwards for the main shenanigans to commence.. 😉

So that’s Wednesday 18th September 2013 at 19:30 onwards


Great British Beer Hunt #GBBH

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.

IMG_6959Over 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.

IMG_6960These 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)

IMG_6961I’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…



  • 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)

Double Trouble – Williams Bros

I ordered a couple of T-shirts from Williams Bros Brewing Co a few weeks back (which are quality items), along with a their “Historic Ales” collection. On arrival I was delighted to find that head brewer Chris Williams had slipped in a couple of surprises in my parcel.

I’d met Chris at the European beer bloggers conference earlier this year where WBC were one of the host breweries, they have a massive selection of beers most of which were available to taste with Chris and co on hand to chat to you about each as you chose. Amongst those were the delicious Nollaig, plus new versions of aged Fraoch and a spiky little IPA called Double Joker.

Anyway in the box I was happy to find a prototype bottle of Double Joker (yum) and a new beer called Prodigal Sun.

Prodigal Sun is one of their entries for this years Sainsbury’s Great British Beer Hunt and I reckon it’s going to be a big hit for anyone visiting the store in search of good beer.

Described as an aromatic golden ale it’s a light amber beer that is really fruity and refreshing. Whilst not as aromatic as I was expecting (may have been too cold) it had a light fruity nose which reminded me of candied apples with a touch of cinnamon.

Lively in the mouth the taste reminded me of candied or roasted orchard fruits, it’s quite sweet with hints of ginger and a nice peppery bitter edge to the finish. Well worth seeking out to try especially while the weather is warm as it would be perfect chilled down to drink should you ever be lucky enough to break out the barbecue.

Double Joker is Joker IPA‘s big rock hard Scottish cousin and he’s out to take you by the scruff of the neck and give you a kicking.

I’ve no idea of the ABV (from memory it was 9%) as the bottle was a prototype version with no label, but before I’d opened it I remembered how good at had tasted all those months ago, albeit in a pretty rough form back then and couldn’t wait to try it once more.

The picture on the left here does the colour of Double Joker no justice at all as it’s a much deeper glowing amber-gem orange.

Aroma Instructions: Wander down to your local woodland and cut yourself a swathe of fresh nettles, take them home and chop roughly and place in a mixing bowl.

Then take really fresh lemons and grate off all that lovely aromatic citrus peel over the top of your chopped nettles, drop in a few cloves and stir.

Close your eyes, dip your nose into the bowl and imagine you are sniffing a lightly chilled glass of Double Joker….

That’s better…

In the mouth the flavour-fest continues, POW, a huge fruity fizz bomb explosion blasts across your tongue, like a fist-full of fruit sour sweets all fighting it out for your attention. Grapefruit begins to win the flavour battle, it tries to dominate but is tempered by a toasty caramelised sugar sweetness. In the end a truce is struck and both sides join forces to give you delicious tastes of grapefruit citrus marmalade. The finish is long lasting fresh and dry in the throat with the odd burp bring reminders of those initial lemon-nettle hop aromas.

Looking on the website there’s no sign of when this will be available so sign up for the newsletter from Williams Bros and jump on it when it is, I’m telling you this will fly off the shelves.

Read all about Chris Williams and Williams Bros Brewing when he talks to Andy Mogg of beer reviews in a meet the brewer blogging session here.

A big thanks to Chris for the pre-release tasters, cheers.