Nine top class craft beers sold in the supermarket
- Credit: Archant
Buying beer from the supermarket used to be a depressing affair.
Squeaking down booze aisles scuffed by wobbly-wheeled trollies, the discerning ale lover would be met with a choice of, at best, a couple of lagers (four-pack or 24-can megabox), a few ales with names like Golden Squirrel and Monk's Delight, and Guinness.
Oh, and there was always the old reliable box of stubby bottles of French lager.
By comparison, today's beer ale is a veritable Disneyland.
Craft beers, specialty ales, import lagers, Belgian fancies, cans, bottles, mini kegs - it's all there under one roof.
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And while I'd always back the local supplier, it's hard to get away from the fact that sometimes it's more convenient to dash into your local superstore - or mini version - to grab a few beers.
So to help you tiptoe through the minefield, here are nine top picks from the supermarket shelf.
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1. Thornbridge/Magic Rock Yelamu. Tesco.
Let's start big - in every way. Yelamu is a 7.4% double IPA produced by two northern powerhouse breweries - Sheffield's Thornbridge and Huddersfield's Magic Rock. It's a hoppy IPA with lots of pine, a little marmalade and a lovely bitter finish. It also comes in a tall boy 440ml. You won't need many.
2. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Tesco/Sainsbury/Waitrose
This is a classic. One of the best examples of a west coast IPA - piney, resinous, citrus, bitter - Sierra Nevada is a crisp and refreshing IPA that gives you the hoppiness you'd expect, without being overbearing. Excellent with a barbecue.
3. Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier. Sainsbury/Waitrose
My personal favourite on this list, this wheat beer is a classic example of a German staple. If you're lucky enough to see it on tap in a pub, snaffle it. This bottled version doesn't have quite the snap of a draught pint, but is full of the clovey, banana flavour that wheat beers are known for.
4. Lost and Grounded Keller Pils. Waitrose
This is a rare thing - a top quality lager, made outside of Germany. And Lost and Grounded Keller Pils can stand shoulder to shoulder with any Teutonic brew. It's gorgeously crisp, spicy and refreshing, and stands up to repeated drinking.
5. Duvel Tripel Hop Belgian Golden Ale. Tesco.
This is another big'un. Infused with the citra hop's bold tropical and citrussy flavours, and with that classic Belgian yeastiness, it's 9.5% and must be handled with care. But it's flipping delicious.
6. Westmalle Dubbel Trappist. Tesco/Waitrose/Sainsbury.
Another Belgian stonker, this is relatively mild by lowlands standards - just 7%. But the dark ale has huge depth of flavour, with caramel and dark fruits in charge.
7. Boon Oude Gueuze. Waitrose.
Another highfalutin Belgian beer that is more like a sparkling wine - and all the better for it. Dry, funky and fizzy, with a little apricot, some banana peel and a puckering sourness that is just right, it's one for a special occasion. It also comes with a cork in it, so you will look dead fancy.
8. Northern Monk Striding Edge Light IPA. Waitrose.
One of the ever growing number of so-called 'small beers', this IPA comes in at 2.8% ABV, but has legs. Which is fitting because it was inspired by Cumbrian fell runner, Ricky Lightfoot. It has the hoppiness and fruit you'd expect from a modern IPA, but won't leave you with a stinking hangover.
9. Vocation / Yeastie Boys Breakfast Club Stout. Tesco.
Dark, rich and sweet, this stout is packed with chocolate, blueberry and vanilla. It's indulgent and thick, and perfect for after dinner drinking.