It’s becoming almost as big as the Great British Beer Festival and since it’s conception in 2011 the Sainsbury’s Great British Beer Hunt has become a staple part of the beery calendar.  For me, it’s an event that is also beginning to rival the release of the Great British Beer Festival Beer List – yes it really is that exciting!

It’s a period of time where Sainsbury’s shelves are suddenly awash with 20 new beers all with the hope of becoming part of the permanent ‘supermarket staple’ range.  It’s like the X Factor for beer only without the sob stories, terrible singing and obvious camera-play.  From next week (Wednesday 11th to be exact) until 2nd October, the winning beers from four regional heats will go on sale in Sainsbury’s waiting to be plundered by real ale enthusiasts and craft beer lovers.

This year Sainsbury’s have responded to the continually growing trend in British brewing and the ever growing ‘craft’ market and have offered a huge variety of beers from across the UK.   It would seem that following the regional heats a range of citrusy, peppery, tropical and spicy brews have made it to the final.  Add to this five IPAs, wheat beers, lager-style beers, oak smoked porters,  Belgian, French & German styles and the token Christmas themed offering,  the selection is quite mouth watering.

The full list of beers that will be available are

From Scotland & Northern Ireland
Hipsway from Williams Bros Brewing Co
The Honey Thief from Williams Bros Brewing Co
Gonny no brew that from Williams Bros Brewing Co
Barney’s Brew from Hidden Brewery
Wayfarer IPA from Orkney Brewery

From the North
American Pride from Double Maxim Beer Co
Swedish Blonde from Double Maxim Beer Co
Infra Red from Hardknott UK LTD
Crafty Dan from Thwaites Brewery
Windermere Pale from Hawkshead Brewery

From the East
B Bock from Batemans
Black Pepper Ale from Batemans
Querkus from Ridgeway Brewing
Reindeer Droppings from Ridgeway Brewing
Lavender Honey from Wolf Brewery

From the West
Harbour IPA from Harbour Brewing Co
Harbour Porter No.6 from Harbour Brewing
Devon Dreamer from Hunters Brewery
Gower Gold from Gower Brewery Company Ltd
Serendipity from Bird’s Brewery

Now, from that list a few jump out at me as being absolute ‘must trys’ – in particular the Hardknott Infra Red, Harbour IPA and Thwaites Crafty Dan, the latter of which I have heard LOTS of great stuff about.  These will be at the top of my list when I go marching into my local Sainsbury’s super store next Wednesday morning.

The 12 highest selling beers will go through to a Grand Final on 4th October, where the final winners will be selected by a panel of beer experts (we’re still waiting for our invitation) and then the winning beer will go on sale for six months in 300 Sainsbury’s stores throughout the UK.

We’re planning to review the Hardknott Infra Red on the show on Friday 30 September and in the meantime, you can check out the full selection here.