Supermarket Beer

Until I pluck up the courage to order from Belgium again, I'm making do with supermarket beer. What are people's thoughts on current selections? Over the last couple of days I've enjoyed Honkers Ale, Lagunitas IPA, Korev Lager and (on Kinley's suggestion) 1698. The cans of Korev are great, it's a fine lager...The Lagunitas IPA was fantastic, I enjoyed the delicacy of the Honkers ale (which seems to be appearing everywhere). The 1698 is magnificent. My view is that you don't have to be too careful to pick up fine beers...Strangely, my nearest big Tesco was selling St Stefanus at a reduced price in the port and sherry section...
 
Even though there are a ton of various beers stores throughout the U.S. (varying by State laws, with California probably being the most liberal), supermarkets are generally well stocked with both craft and large "corporate" beers.

Most of them are probably unheard of in the U.K, with the exception of Safeway which kept its U.S. name after selling its U.K. stores to Morrison's.

However, the one that comes to mind is Whole Foods Market, which currently runs nine stores in the U.K: seven in London, one in Glasgow (that Tom Cannavan is keen on) and one near Cheltenham. They are all over the U.S. and on a recent visit to a Whole Foods just north of San Diego, they boasted over 300 different beers in stock. Certainly, it took me an age to walk down the beer aisles.

Apart from U.S. beers, I noted beers from Germany, Belgium and from the U.K: Fuller's, Sam Smith's, St. Peter's, Thornbridge, Timothy Taylor, Wells, Coniston, Greene King, to name a few.

Just because of the saturation of beers in the U.S, I don't expect to see any major attempt by U.K. breweries to infiltrate the market beyond supermarkets and beer stores with the exception, of course, of BrewDog, so their success (or not) will pave the way for U.K. breweries to look beyond seeing their beers on shelves in the U.S.
 
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Just picked up a St Austell Proper Job, a 1698 and, strangely, 2x Worthington White Shield in Tesco for £1.50ea (£6/4). I say strange because didn't know Tesco did White Shield. All 3 have been good to great in the past.

Think there was a thread on this a short while ago David - I'll see if I can locate it!
 
Ah - you're likely all too aware of the other thread as you posted on it! Anyway it's here:

Beer in Sainsbury - what should I buy?

I don't reckon the supermarket ranges change that much over time, except large-scale (eg Tesco's sudden intro of a load of Brewdog and other crafts some time last year), so most of the reccos should still stand - mine does - all 3 of the above are bottle conditioned (luckily)!
 
Yes...They don't change much...Tesco seems to be a bit better than some others here...My nearest big Sainsbury has a much worse selection than it had ten years ago...Yes, I bought a bottle of Proper Job today, too...A bit (very) disappointed in Lees Moonraker (Morrisons)...I remember it being a much better beer when it was stronger, still, it's not bad...Actually it dropped 1% in strength from 7.5%. No doubt Ian is utterly spoilt in America. Here you can scan the beer sections in seconds.
 
M&S a bit better, if that counts as a supermarket. The others play at it a bit, but they've all improved in the last few years, I'd say. The thing which makes supermarkets so poor for wine - having to buy from mega-wineries who are able to supply hundreds of stores from a single grape harvest - doesn't apply to beer, as presumably a lot of breweries could supply large quantities to pretty much the same quality, the only restriction then being price - can they do it for £2/£1.5 per 500ml (Brit ale) / 355ml (craft) UK retail.

Mark - I've picked up Coopers Sparkling from Waitrose; and (a while ago) the Pale from Tesco (haven't seen it recently); I've seen one of them in Majestic recently - poss the Pale, though it'll be a 12-bottle pack..
 
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These tend to go round in cycles. Once, Sainsbury's were the best for beer of the big supermarkets, Tesco were poor and M & S terrible. Now M & S are the best; their bigger stores have a fairly impressive range, Tesco have improved considerably, while Sainsburys are not so good.

From my local Tesco I can get Fullers 1845, Shep 1698, Youngs London Ale, St Austell Proper Job and Big Job, and Worthington White Shield. Then there is Lagunitas IPA, Flying Dog IPA, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Duval.

Not bad to be getting on with.
 
Yes, M&S suddenly improved greatly (though some of the beers have since disappeared)...I'm not sure what happened with Sainsbury's. Tesco is one of the best ones, with some great cans. One problem is that the supermarkets now seem to have very similar selections (Brewdog, Goose Island etc.). But yes, I was in a tiny ASDA in a very poor area, and they had Duvel in there...But remember the days when you could get Dogfish Head beers, Samiclaus, Thomas hardy Ale, Orval, Le Trappe Dubbel, Rogue beers, Hoegaarden Grand Cru, Aventinus, SN Celebration Ale, Bernard Dark and so on? Anyway, I'm now drinking Proper Job, and like the bitterness (I can definitely taste the Cascade hops)...I'll have to try more St Austell beer!
 
Sainsburys are not so good.

Agree Alan - we shop there but the beer section is completely uninspired and all the good stuff cheaper elsewhere.

I'll have to try more St Austell beer!

I'm a big subscriber to "follow the brewery" and have liked all of theirs. I tried Tribute, liked it, and discovered that they curate their own version of Munich malt, which I love in its Marzen/Dunkel incarnations. It's not in all that many of the beers but try the Admiral's Ale (something like that anyway) and you'll see what they're getting at! Btw, isn't Korev St Austell's?

Haven't seen Big Job Alan but would like to try it. Like Tribute Extra, it's a beefier version of the basic as I understand it.
 
I'm drinking a bottle of St Austell's Tribute from Morrisons, bottled in January, I think. Very drinkable, with Fuggles, Williamette and Celeia hops. I see Williamette is derived from Fuggles, and Celeia hops are from Slovenia (from Styrian Goldings), so...there is a new world flavour there, but nicely restrained and earthy. Actually, this is a fine beer!
 
Prob my go-to David, in that it's in every supermarket. Hadn't really noticed the hops - it's that Munich malt slightly burnt savoury thing - sometimes liken it to chicken stock. But then I am also a poster on The Other Side (Wine forum)!
 
I really like the Admiral Ale. This is not in all Tescos but it is also in M & S under a different name at a very slightly lower strength. I am not sure why the strength is different but then the M & S version of Proper Job is also lower in strength.

I don't remember Big Job having an exceptionally high level of carbonation. You may have got a slightly rogue one David. I have had a couple of St Austell bottle-conditioned beers that have been a bit fizzy. It is not just a beefed up version of Proper Job, they do use different hops.
 
Possibly...It seemed thin and too fizzy (which is strange when you consider its strength). The other beers have been excellent, though...I just have to try the Admiral Ale now. The others were perfectly carbonated, but you would imagine that the brewery would be very consistent, so...
 
I was a bit stunned to see proper job alongside Belgian ale icons on a shelf in el corte ingles recently at about 4 euros. I would not put it in that company but it is a decent bottle conditioned ale at about £1. 50 from tesco
 
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