Great British Beer Hunt 2012

The Sainsbury’s Great British Beer Hunt (GBBH) 2012 drew to a close on Tuesday (2 October). Twenty beers were competing for a potentially lucrative place on the beer shelves of all Sainsbury’s stores  but only two would be lucky enough to achieve that honour. The winners will be unveiled at this Friday’s (5 October) Grand Final. I planned to buy & try all twenty beers but then decided to not bother with the three in clear glass bottles – sorry Cotleigh, Wadworth and Elgoode. Initially I was going to review every beer but quickly realised I’m far to lazy for such an undertaking so instead I merely sent a few tweets about each beer – all those tweets have all been gathered together here.

If you want to read excellent in-depth reviews of all 20 GBBH beer please visit Bob Arnott’s It Could Do With A Few More Hops.

As far as my taste buds are concerned the two finest beers were Harviestoun’s Wild Hop Gold followed by Brains’ Willy Nilly. I’d also be happy if William Bros’ Prodigal Sun and/or Blue Monkey’s 99 Red Baboons emerged as winners. I’ll try a few of the others if I ever see them on draught but those four are the only ones I’d consider buying again in a bottle.

* * *

SCREECH OWL – 5.55% – CASTLE ROCK

Time to kick-off my #GBBH account with a Screech Owl, which, at 5.5%, is supposedly a “Strong IPA”. Hmmm…

Screech Owl: Tastes like it’s almost a good beer but also miles away from being so… yuk synthetic finish. Won’t have it again

WOJTEK – 5.8% – BEARTOWN

Gah! Despite the green glass I had high hopes for Wojtek but, alas, it tastes like I’ve sucked my bike sponge… apart from that it’s okay

WILD HOP GOLD – 4.4% – HARVIESTOUN

Tonight’s #GBBH selection is Wild Hop Gold… it will be followed by a bottle of Deus, which, sadly isn’t on the 3 for £4 offer

Mmmm… @HarviestounBrew Wild Hop Gold is very much the best #GBBH beer I’ve had so far: like drinking a fizzy gin & mango juice but not quite – yum!

DOUBLE ESPRESSO PREMIO CAFFE BIRRA – 6% – TRADITIONAL SCOTTISH ALES

Back on the #GBBH trail! Double Espresso: Tastes like a Coffee Revel… but one found down the back of the sofa when looking for beer money!

PRODIGAL SUN – 4.1% – WILLIAMS BROS

It’s #GBBH time: Prodigal Sun…

Prodigal Sun has a finish that (almost) tastes like a jammy donut… how did they pull that off? I like it

MOCHA – 6% – BATEMANS

Batemans Mocha: pleasantly surprised… not a great beer but it tasted very like the EspressoChocs I get out of the machine at work

DOROTHY GOODBODY’S BLISSFUL BROWN – 4.6% – WYE VALLEY

My next hit from the #GBBF shelf is Wye Valley Dorothy Goodbody’s Blissful Brown… here’s hoping the taste is better than the name and bottle

Dorothy Goodbody’s Blissful Brown: Nothing to astound the senses or offend them… an unremarkable but fundamentally very decent beer

It should be noted that my Blissful Brown appeared under-conditioned: next to no fizz or head… was still satisfying enough to drink

POPPY ALE – 4.2% – WOLF

The #GBBH exploration continues with Wolf Brewery Poppy Ale… I usually avoid ‘charity’ beers as the tend to be very lacklustre

Poppy Ale: Initially tasted of sweet short crust pastry baked in a rusty tin… the vague metallic taste never really goes away

LEMON HEAD – 4% – NETHERGATE

It’s time for #GBBF beer that appears to be dividing opinions: Lemon Head… to increase the insanity I’m busting out the Kwak Pipe!

Cor! The nose of Lemon Head is spectacular: like an old-fashioned lemon & ginger cordial but with added zing & zip… lovely!

Pah! After the vibrant and seductive aroma, the taste of Lemon Head is a bit of a let down… actually, it’s a very big let down!

Lemon head has a perfect ginger kick but not much else… a few glugs of lemonade would no doubt create a nice summer thirst quencher

WILLY NILLY – 4% – BRAINS

Brains Willy Nilly: Has something lurking in the background that tastes almost like whisky & liquorice toffee… I quite like it

You know what? I do believe that Willy Nilly is my 2nd favourite #GBBH beer so far, which I find quite surprising

MANCHESTER STAR – 7.3% – JW LEES

Time for the big boy: JW Lees Manchester Star (7.3%)… it certainly smells like a reasonably heady brew

ManchesterStar: Needs a bit of warmth in the glass… big & bold but perhaps a tad too sweet for everyday consumption

99 RED BABOONS – 4.2% – BLUE MONKEY

Time for the only #GBHH I’ve had before, although it was from a cask and almost a year ago, 99 Red Baboons

99 Red Baboons is a fine beer with a decent bit of bitterness… but perhaps I scooped it a bit too quick to give it a full assessment

I think I’ll have to score another couple of bottles of 99 Red Baboons… purely for research purposes

IVANHOE – 5.2% – RIDGEWAY

More #GBBH exploration! Next up is one of last year’s finalist (not sure why it’s allowed back in this year): Ivanhoe by Ridgeway

Ivanhoe smells like stale tap water & tastes like I’ve been sucking a 2p… had to summon all my powers to avoid pouring it away. Yuk!

WHITE LADY – 4.7% – CAIRNGORM

I ain’t really a fan of wheat beer but perhaps Cairngorm White Lady will change that…

Cairngorm White Lady ain’t too bad for wheat… has the subtle lick of a good quality orange squash… okay but I won’t partake again

PUMPHOUSE – 4.2% – SAMBROOK’S

Right! Time to scoop the last 3 #GBBH offerings First up: Pumphouse from Wandle…

Not too much going on with the Pumphouse but there was a surpisingly decent lemon & orange kick near the finish… passable

SCARBOROUGH FAIR – 6.0% – WOLD TOP

Next up: Wold Top Scarborough Fair. Not sure why but I’ve been looking forward to this one – here’s hoping it doesn’t disappoint…

The aroma of Scarborough Fair is not the most exciting I’ve ever encountered… smells like the outside of a busy pub at 8am on a Sunday

I suppose Scarborough Fair is a reasonably well constructed beer… but we are awash with reasonably well constructed beer

Scarborough Fair is okay – decent citrus tang & juicy bitterness but it needs something extra to lift it into the upper echelons

Can’t help feeling disappointed with ScarboroughFair. I really really really thought I was gonna love it… maybe that was the problem

BAD ELF – 4.5% – RIDGEWAY

Okay it’s time for my last #GBBH beer… it’s still nowhere near xmas which is why I’ve left this till the end: Bad Elf from Ridgeway

Hmmm… the Bad Elf ain’t off to a good start: the inside of the crown cap is rusty!

Thankfully, Bad Elf isn’t as bad as I feared it would be… it’s still not an especially worthwhile drinking experience though

BadElf has a very subtle bit of xmas spice – the 99p Store Xmas Pud of the beer world? – but that’s it. A lacklustre end to my #GBBH journey

* * *

follow Bob Arnott – @RecentlyDrunk

follow @HarviestounBrew

(My) Winners!

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~ by landells on October 4, 2012.

3 Responses to “Great British Beer Hunt 2012”

  1. Nice round up but not a lot to get excited about really! I’m working my way through the few I could get hold of slowly. Something felt a bit lacklustre about this year’s competition somehow?

    • As I mention on Twitter the other day, I had very few of last year’s GBBH beers… but I think that William Bros’ Profanity is far superior to anything on this year’s list.

      I don’t think Sainsbury’s seem quite as into this year so it’ll be interesting to see if it returns in 2013 – despite not been overly impressed by many of the beers, I hope it does

  2. […] want to take my word for it, then you can get a quick overview of nearly all of them on Landells’ Rock n Roll Beverage. Here’s the […]

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