Sainsbury’s Great British Beer Hunt 2012

Beer Rant

It’s that time of year again, when the 20 beers short-listed in Sainsbury’s Great British Beer Hunt start showing up in stores. On the face of it, this is a good news story with a major supermarket encouraging breweries big and small to put forward great new beers – the breweries win by gaining national exposure (especially the eventual winner who will get a six month listing) and customers win by getting to taste some great new beers.

If only Sainsbury’s showed the slightest interest in their own promotion.


No mention whatsoever on their main website. In store, the only clue is a vague (and very small) GBBH badge on the edge of the shelf, utterly eclipsed by the “3 for £4” deal. Their online shop doesn’t even bother with the GBBH badge.

Even on their corporate site, all you can find is a few press releases. I find it bizarre that they go to all the effort of encouraging breweries to submit their beers, evaluate them all, get the range down to a 20 beer short-list and then not bother to actually tell any customers about it.

Ok, rant over. But seriously Sainsbury’s, sort it out next year, please!

Previous years I have found a handful scattered across nearby branches. This is the first year I’ve found all 20 beers on sale, in my local store, so I quickly bought one of each to try the full range.

Rather than my normal tasting notes, this time I have gone through and tried to mark each beer on appearance, mouthfeel (both out of 5), aroma and flavour (both out of 10) and so to an overall score out of 30.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll list my bottom ten and then my top ten GBBH beers, with brief tasting notes. I suspect that by the end, Sainsbury’s will have announced their winner. Hopefully it will by one from my top ten!

Edit: The results have actually been announced within hours of this blog post. Sainsbury’s winner is Bateman’s Mocha, with Manchester Star Ale taking the runners up place. My opinion may vary 🙂

One Comment

Drinke Rab

I’ve been poking my stick at Sainsbury’s for the last 2 or 3 weeks to no avail (re. lack of publicity). Still, 20 new beers on the shelves at 3for£4 is not to be sniffed at so – thanks Sainsbury’s!

The winners are a surprise. 2 dark beers – whatever next? I suspect that punters (my guess is that these people would be beer geeks – because finding the beers was a hunt in its own right) went for high ABV beers. The Double Espresso (6%) I thought was great but would never gain a general following. The Bateman’s made me feel sick (their beers have a horrible -in my view – background sweetness).

The Manchester Star Ale was pretty good and is a worthy competitor (and is better) than McEwan’s Champion.

So, Sainsbury’s, and competition tasters – let’s have some more dark beers next year and less potentional supermarket swill.


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