Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Craft Nerd vs Supermarket Beer - Part 2

Here's the second part (find the first here) of Ian's supermarket craft beer reviews. If you'd like to chat about any of this he can be found on twitter or untappd and i'm he sure would welcome a chinwag.

It's all Ian from this point onwards:

Day 5 – Wednesday

The Lawn Mower - Backyard Brewery/Carlsberg - £1.50 as part of a 4 for £6 deal – 330ml
By this stage I was feeling a bit fed up, I realised that I had front-loaded what I thought were likely to be the better beers and had three days worth of filler to get through. This is an attempt at an amber lager and much like the other Carslberg effort it is seems like a tweaked version of their standard product. Drinkable but not sure why you would bother….Rating 5/10

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference London Porter – Shepherd Neame - £1.66 as part of a 3 for £5 deal – 500ml
I had relatively high hopes for this, decent enough brewery and a change from lots of pales/lagers. Initial impressions were reasonable, the aroma was faint but it seemed to have the right texture for a porter. But then I tasted it. Whatever merits this beer had were completely wrecked by a horrific metallic aftertaste. Another clear bottle and another that would ordinarily have gone down the drain. In date, but I can’t help but think this wasn’t in great condition. Rating 3/10

Day 6 - Thursday

Metropolitan Brewing Company Under Currant Pale Ale – Greene King - £1.25 - 330ml
I was now really craving a decent beer, in fact just something that wasn’t dull or flawed. Unfortunately I wasn’t massively encouraged by the remaining stash of 4 beers. I thought I would suck it up and get stuck into the least promising. It was actually better than the IPA in the same range, with some of the blueberry character you expect from Mosaic (this being a single hop pale). However it lacks any real bitter snap to balance it out and it ends up a bit cloying. Rating 5/10

Marks and Spencer Organic Scottish Beer – Black Isle - £2 as part of a 3 for £6 deal – 500ml
Reasons for optimism – M&S were clearly winning this taste test and Black Isle are a decent brewery. Reasons for pessimism – I wasn't that attracted to a beer with added honey. Difficult to criticise this beer as it is exactly as described, a pale beer with added honey, but that aside it is pretty one dimensional and dull. Aside from the delicate honey flavour I can hardly remember it, but if you like honey its worth a go. Rating 5.5/10

Day 7 - Friday

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference American Pale Ale – Genesee - £1.75 – 330ml
American Pale Ales need a serious amount of hops for aroma and bitterness. This was clearly lacking in both, plus with a bottling date in June 2014 it was hardly fresh, which is also vital in these beers. There was faint mango aroma but the malt dominated the flavour, so it just wasn’t right. One to avoid. Rating 4.5/10

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Tap Room IPA – Genesee - £1.75 – 330ml
For obvious reasons I wasn’t filled with optimism as I approached my final beer. This shared a similarly dull character with its sibling, there was some bitterness present but it was pretty crude. Not enjoyable overall and another to avoid. Rating 4/10

So, overall a pretty uninspiring seven days of drinking. Only two beers that I would actually buy again and a couple of others that have some merit. Not a great return, even when taking into account the potential bargain prices. It was clear from this sample that M&S are way ahead of the competitors. The worst of their beers were at the same level as the best from Sainsbury and Tesco. Even though they are more expensive they offer better value generally. The Tesco ranges had little merit, with only the rye pale being something I would even consider buying again. Very cheap but little actual value. I think that overall Sainsbury were bottom of the pile as their beers were no better and often worse than the Tesco equivalent and more expensive. Frankly most of them tasted pretty stale. The Carlsberg beers were fault free, but pretty dull. If I needed to buy beer in Tesco or Sainsbury I would pick up cheap Brewdog, Sierra Nevada, Goose Island etc and ignore their own labels.

I wasn’t massively surprised by the quality of the beer on offer here, but it is disappointing that the introduction to craft beer for many people could be via such a disappointing range of beers that offer little of the quality that you can quite easily find from good microbreweries.

No comments:

Post a Comment