Fear not, this is the last in this series of posts. I drove a different way home from work one evening last month, well 10 miles out of my way in truth, but my nearest Waitrose store is in Otley. I wanted to see what they had in the way of beer so I can report back for anyone that’s interested. As with parts 1 to 4 I was only looking at those beers brewed for and branded as the shops own (although they do in fact have a growing range of great beers on offer, including Thornbridge, Bath Ales and Sierra Nevada to name a few).
I can see from their website that they are aware of the need to market in some small way towards beer-drinkers and they have made an honest effort, however it doesn’t really tell me a great deal about the beer they sell. Not a bad effort, but maybe they should ask someone to help them out, maybe someone who knows a thing or two about beer, or just read a few blogs every once in a while to get a feel for what’s happening outside Head Office. (prices correct as at 20/10/11).
Brewed by Arcobräu Brewery. A strong aroma of banana as you open the bottle, fruity yeast notes and sweet caramel. It pours cloudy and the colour of an ice-tea with a frothy head, which reduces to a thin lacing after a few minutes. It has a fairly thin mouth feel but the flavours grow with sweet banana, malt. pear, alcohol. Lovely long after-taste. Added yeast sediment. Really enjoyed this beer and would recommend it.
Other reviews: Rate Beer.
Also brewed by Arcobräu Brewery. This beer pours a hazy, straw colour and has a faint aroma of banana and spice, with some fruity yeast coming through. Taste is of banana, some pepper and spice but fairly thin and no real after-taste so nothing much to write about. I drank it chilled and would say that it is a refreshing beer and would certainly be happy to buy it again.
Waitrose Duchy Organic Ruby Ale 1905, 5.0% abv, 500ml, £1.89
The next two bottles are beers from the Waitrose Duchy Originals range “a partnership preserving our heritage“. The grand labelling and the care and attention to the value and sustainability of their produce is sadly lacking when it comes to tasting this particular beer. I don’t even feel I can review it as I took a few sips and relegated to the drain. I may have been having an off night, but it tasted like Top Deck. Sorry to the brewery, but I think this is one of the worst examples of a bottled beer on a supermarket shelf I have ever tasted. Just to clarify that it wasn’t off, no bad smells or tastes, just a poor example of beer. They do recommend on their site to use 400ml of this beer in the Duchy recipe for Beef stew. Why stop at 400ml? put the remaining 100ml in too. I think it best I move on. I’m told, and have read on ratebeer that this beer is brewed by Wychwood, (Refresh UK – Marstons plc).
Waitrose Duchy Organic Golden Ale, 4.2% abv, 500ml, £1.89
In contrast to the Ruby Ale, this bursts from the bottle with sweet aromas of honey and golden syrup. Lively when poured, golden in colour, good carbonation and retains the head. The sweet malts shine through with flavours of golden syrup and fudge. It does have a slight bitterness which is quite pleasant and I think they have played it straight with their hop combo of Fuggles and Goldings. Not a bad beer, but not what you would expect from the packaging, though I do think they have been true to their line on value. At £1.89 it’s not like you have paid a premium. Ratebeer also informs me like the Ruby Ale, that this beer was also brewed by Wychwood, (Refresh UK – Marstons plc). One bottle from the range states Oxfordshire while the other states Staffordshire, I know this will look bad but I’m too tired and uninterested to look into this further. So much for provenance.
So there we have it. I am breathing a sigh of relief that this research is over. It was fun to start with but soon became a chore. Onwards and upwards!