Yes, I’ve finally decided to review some more supermarket beers. I’m a bit late to the game as Lidl launched their “The Brewery” range back in June and I’ve been meaning to check it out ever since. I popped over to the Lidl on Old Kent Road and was a bit disappointed by the lack of variety. It was all mainly English style ambers. I’m also a bit confused by Lidl’s regional selling. They have a map on their website which shows you which beers will be selling in which area. On it you can see that Shepherd Neame from Kent are on sale in Scotland. I thought they were going for locally sourced beers?
Anyways after mulling over the choice I went for 3. Hatherwood’s Ruby Rooster, Portobello’s Star and Blanche de Namur witbier. They had a Czech black lager advertised but none left so either Lidl are shit at stocking their shelves or it’s so good/cheap that every man and his dog in Elephant & Castle are off their tits on it. It’s a shame as I recently tried Budvar’s Black Lager blind and bloody loved it. Would have been good to see how Lidl’s version compared.
So to the beers
Hatherwood Ruby Rooster 3.8% 90p
Now I picked this up 1. because of the cost, look at it! It’s bloomin’ 90p and 2. as it’s not usually my cup of tea. I’m not a fan of English ruby/amber/bitter styles but this doesn’t mean they are bad. There are hundreds of beer styles out there and not all of them are going to be for you. I decided this will help me judge a beer objectively. Surprisingly this is actually alright. It’s a deep cherry red colour with toffee on the nose. The hops (Fuggles, Golding, Cascade and Styrian) are not overpowering and it is very very well balanced against the chocolate malt used within it.
There is a slight syrupy sweet flavour which I assume is from the crystal malt. It says on the bottle it is brewed using Burton water but it is missing the sulphury classic Burton taste. There’s dark bramble berries and a light bitter finish. Very easy drinking and for 90p this is surprisingly a lot nicer than I expected. My only gripe is that this is another brewery masquerading under this “craft beer” moniker. It’s signed by Jeff Drew who I believe is the head brewer at Wychwood.
Portobello Star Amber Ale – 4.3% £1.49
This has a good head and a crystal clear copper colour. There’s deep toffee and heavy malt flavours that give way to floral and then a bitter noble hop finish. It’s very pleasant, nothing extraordinary. Just a good standard beer.
Blanche de Namur Witbeir – 4.5% £1.39
This has a gold label on the bottle showing they won the World’s Best Wheat Beer at the World Beer Awards, albeit in 2009. I’ve seen this on sale in Waitrose before, FYI it’s £1.79 in there!
This is a good standard Wit. It smells classically like a wit and tastes classically like a wit with orange and coriander. There’s also some good breadyness and a clean finish. It’s cloudy and has a paper white head. Again a nice beer but nothing out of this world.
So my conclusion is that Lidl have some solid beers. There’s nothing to rave about but these are great for a light sit on the sofa tipple. Sometimes you just want something a bit inoffensive and standard.