If you've been down the beer aisle at Asda recently, you'll have noticed the huge range of craft beers we've been bringing together from all over the UK and across the world. With so many fantastic options to choose from, people new to craft beer often ask me for recommendations on where to start.
Our wine buyer Ed Betts has been giving tips for the best wines to try each week, and as he's on holiday I thought I'd take over his Thirsty Thursday blog this week and talk about some of the new craft beer we're selling.
One of my favourites – Kingpin from the pioneering independent Scottish brewer BrewDog – was named best lager this week on Channel 4’s Tried and Tasted, where a panel of experts blind-test food and drink to create "the ultimate shopping list".
At 4.7%, it's what beer drinkers call "sessionable' – a beer that’s not as high in alcohol as some craft beers and that you can enjoy over a longer time.
If you've not tried craft beers before I’d say start with something you're used to. If you like lager a good place to start might be Cut Loose Pilsner – it's a dry, satisfying lager with invigorating citric fruitiness. It’s by a small brewery Powderkeg in Devon, run by couple John and Jill. John has been a brewer for ten years and started the business with his wife Jill a few years ago.
It won Best Lager at the IWSC Beer Awards and was described as one of the best 16 beers in the world. We launched it exclusively at Asda in May.
Another great brewery is BAD Co. They brew delicious beer, and I love their revolutionary can. The whole lid peels off to turn into a cup so, if you choose to drink it from the can, you can still get the great aroma which would be dampened when drinking from a regular can. We’ve got them exclusively for six months.
They’ve won quite a lot of awards around Yorkshire for their beers, and that’s how we heard about them. They’re based nearby in North Yorkshire and they're lovely people. When I visited them the brewers were so accommodating, taking me round, showing me all the equipment, and giving me tastes of the different beers from the tankers.
Their Summer Breeze lime and mint fruit beer was really interesting. It mightn't be to every beer drinker's taste but on a summer's day it’s perfect. I think it will appeal to people with a sweet palette – I thought it was delicious.
BAD Co’s Wild Gravity IPA is doing really well at the moment too. It's not a super-challenging beer but if you don’t like hoppy beers then I’d stay away from that and maybe go for their Love Over Gold Blonde Ale. If you like dark beer go for Satisfaction, which is milk stout and really tasty. All their beers are named after song titles. In fact, that’s one question I need to ask them… how they pick which song name to go for!
We’ve got a market-leading deal across our range of four for £6 and £1.50 for a bottle or a can – which is lowest in the market. You know you can get your best priced beer in Asda, and you can also get the widest range.
As the craft beer revolution continues, I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to be a beer drinker. Take a look at our craft beer range here.
Find out more about Hywel's passion for craft beer and quest to find the best up and coming British breweries here.