Yesterday saw the finalists in this years version of the Sainsbury’s Great British Beer Hunt hit the shelves of 300 Sainsbury’s stores nationwide. They should be in the seasonal aisle of your local store, if you’re lucky to live near one, until Tuesday the 2nd of October, with the Grand Final taking place in London on Friday the 5th October.
This year’s twenty finalists, four more than last year, have been split into regions. The top two performing beers form each region will go forward to the final, where two overall winners will be announced. The winners will receive a guaranteed minimum six-month listing in stores nationwide from November. The twenty finalists, which are currently on a 3 for £4 offer, are:
- Traditional Scottish Ales – Double Espresso Premio Caffe Birra
- Brewed with double strength coffee beans which give this beer a unique character. A superb silky texture. Great with a good steak or beef dish.
- Williams Bros Brewing Co. – Prodigal Sun
- A delicate, fruity and aromatic blonde beer. Enjoy with fish and chips.
- Cairngorm Brewery – White Lady
- Bavarian style wheat beer, with additional hints of roasted malt for colour. Brewed with orange peel & coriander to give fruit flavours with a hint of spice. Good with curries, spicy food, or with barbecue dishes.
- Harviestoun Brewery – Wild Hop Gold
- A simple malt background and earthy English hops overlaid with citrus and spicy character from the Citra and Simcoe hops. Complements spicy foods such as Thai green curry.
South East (East, Home Counties, South Coast)
- Sambrooks Brewery – Pumphouse Pale Ale
- A fine citric aroma leads into sweetish cereal notes then hoppy marmalade tones. Drink with barbequed meats.
- Wolf Brewery Ltd – Poppy Ale
- A delicately flavoured golden ale infused with honey and fruity hops. A must with a variety of world cheeses.
- Cotswold Brewing Co. for Beer Counter Ltd – Bad Elf
- A light bright and floral pale ale with a bit of a punch. Try with a Thai curry.
- Nethergate Brewery – Lemon Head
- Lemon and ginger combine to create a wonderful zesty beer. Ideal with spicy food.
South West (Wales / West Of England)
- Cotleigh Brewery – Snowy
- A straw coloured golden winter ale made with pale Flagon malt and Goldings hops for a full bodied long lasting and morish ale with hints of citrus fruits. Delicious with fish.
- S A Brain – Willy Nilly
- A distinctive ruby ale with a traditional rich hop aroma, complemented with a fruity and more-ish finish. Goes exceptionally well with chicken.
- Wadworth Brewery – Horizon
- Pale gold colour with zesty, citrus and hop aromas and a crisp, tangy finish on the palate. Goes well with any spicy food.
- Wye Valley Brewery – Dorothy Goodbody’s Blissful Brown Ale
- A bottle-conditioned brown ale with a fruity aroma and rich full flavour. It features raisin and malt sweetness and a rounded roast-grain finish.
- Batemans – Batemans Mocha
- A rich smooth coffee and chocolate beer made with real Arabica coffee and Belgian chocolate
- JW Lees – Manchester Star Ale
- Hefty body and a deep smoothness. Malt, caramel and unsweetened dark chocolate flavours with modest hopping for balance. Fruity alcohol with a long lingering finish of ripe fruit. Great with game.
- Wold Top Brewery – Scarborough Fair IPA
- Strong and well hopped with a pale Wold grown malt base, a triple hop blend and maize for good head retention. Serve with hot, full flavoured foods
- Beartown Brewery – Wojtek
- A powerful, deep golden beer full of character. Tremendous with spicy sausages.
- Castle Rock – Screech Owl
- A pale amber beer with a distinctive rich pungent hop. There’s fresh upfront bitterness, smooth citrus and a long hop finish. Drink with Lamb Dhansak.
- Elgood & Sons Ltd – Indian Summer
- A Premium style pale ale, with a golden hue and refreshing slightly sweet palate. Ideal accompaniment for summer foods, fish & curry dishes.
- Blue Monkey Brewing Ltd – 99 Red Baboons
- A dark and interesting ale, combining fruity hoppiness with a dark, malty side. Great with roasted meats and game.
- Ridgeway Brewing Co. – Ivanhoe
- An old fashioned, balanced, 100% English, red ale which is neither malty sweet nor overly bitter. Try with good nutty English cheddar cheese.
I said it last year and I think it’s worth repeating again, I think that this is competition is a great thing and we should all applaud Sainsbury’s for doing it. I was lucky enough to attend one of this year’s regional selection heats and it was really interesting to chat with the members of the public who had been invited along to try all the beers and pick their favourites. I think it’s fantastic that one of the big four supermarkets is engaging with its customers in this way and I’m really looking forward to trying all the beers.