You’re cutting it a bit fine aren’t you? You haven’t got your Christmas beers yet? Or bought some beers for friends as gifts? Looks like it’s a trip to the supermarket for you, either via their web site (if you can still get a delivery slot this week – many of them start selling the slots in October!) or via joining the masses traipsing around the aisles filling trolleys with far too much food and drink, forgetting that the supermarket will only be closed for one day.
However, if you live near to some of these supermarkets, you’ll be in luck as there’s still plenty of good beer to choose from on our supermarket shelves.
If you live near a Booths, then you probably have the best selection to choose from. You need to be in the north west for this (Lancashire, Cumbria, Chesire, Greater Manchester) or visit one of the three stores in Yorkshire. I think all of the following are available in all of their branches:-
I’m also informed that they now have some Mikkeller on the shelves too, the Danish “cuckoo” brewery who don’t have their own home but collaborate with other breweries to produce interesting brews. The following list may also be available in your local Booths, but I think these ones vary by region:-
Here is an example of one of my Booths shopping trips:-
Next, and probably more accessible to most, we have Morrisons. They have a great range of beers from many smaller names, some of which you may already be familiar with.
Crafty Dan (the Thwaites spin-off)
Next we come to Ocado, our most unique supermarket. They are online only, there is no physical Ocado shop that you can visit. There are 22 warehouses around these islands, and it is from these that your shopping arrives in a series of different vans such as Apple, Onion, Raspberry, Lemon and Cabbage. They text and e-mail you to tell you which one to look out for. There is often confusion that it is Waitrose’s online supermarket. It is not. They have a 10 year agreement to supply many Waitrose products, but they are not Waitrose.
There are a few interesting beers currently available, including products from:-
And a new one to me called Wooha!
Waitrose are another good supplier for your beer needs. They have some of the bigger names that you’ll know and recognise, as well as some smaller names such as Bristol Beer Factory and Wold Top. They also have some regional variations depending on where you are in the country. Here are some of their highlights:-
Bristol Beer Factory
Some of the beers in this picture came from my last Waitrose shopping trip:-
Tesco really just concentrate on the more established brands, such as most of the things from the Marston’s empire. They do have some other names in there such as:-
You may also find some cans of Vocation beers in your local Tesco, they have recently appeared in mine. Apparently Tesco are also increasing the range in their Express stores.
Our high street round up starts to lose a bit of momentum now. Sainsbury’s generally have the bigger names, alongside one or two of the smaller breweries such as Williams Bros and Harbour. Their “craft beer” selection seems to consist only of BrewDog and Innis & Gunn. Other brands available include:-
We move to Asda, and it’s a pretty poor show with regards to smaller names here. There are four slightly less well known names from the north west, but that’s about it.
Much like Sainsbury’s, their “Craft” selection seems to consist only of BrewDog and Innis & Gunn.
We finish with our discount friends. First up, Aldi, who commissioned their own beers from some British breweries a year or so ago. All 4 One lager is brewed by Hogs Back, Land of Liberty American IPA is brewed by Sadler’s, Red Rye IPA is brewed at Twickenham Fine Ales, Spill the Beans Coffee Porter is brewed by Brains and Sunny Dayz Golden Ale is also brewed at Hogs Back. Spill the Beans is my favourite so far.
They have also commissioned a new range from Marston’s, under the name Harper’s. The first one of these that I tried, Golden Crown, was 100% meh.
Lidl have taken a similar path, creating their own Hatherwood “craft” brand. Which is of course all brewed by Marston’s. I’ve never had any beer from Lidl because we don’t have one readily available. There’s planning permission for one nearby, but you can’t buy beer from some drawings.
So, in conclusion, if you live near Booths, you’re a winner. If not, get down to Morrisons. The rest are all ok if they are the most convenient, and certainly don’t dismiss Aldi for some good beers.