Tag Archive: Sainsbury


Sainsbury’s Pilsner Zero Alcohol (France: Low Alcohol: 0.0% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow gold. Medium amounts of small bubbled carbonation. A large mounded white head.

Nose: Soft lemon cakes. Slight sulphur. Jiff lemon on pancakes. Slight lime. Dry rice. Muggy hop character. Brown bread. Wort mash.

Body: Clean. Light chemically feel. Soft lime. Vanilla. Light toffee. Some hop feel.

Finish: Soft lime. Light chalk. Low to medium bitterness and light hop prickle. Slight charring. Slightly bready.

Conclusion: This is a reasonable low alcohol lager, with a few flaws, a few quirks that help offset the flaws and one big advantage.

Let’s look at the nice quirks first. Unusually for a pilsner it has a soft citrus style, with lemon and lime notes that make up a good chunk of the character. It is subtly done in execution but it gives it a fresh zestiness that I’ve rarely seen in this kind of beer.

The flaws are mostly those common to a low alcohol lager. There is a slight chemically touch to it (Yes, I know how crap that description is, but all of you know exactly what I mean), a generally artificial note and a light touch of chalkiness that doesn’t suit the easy drinking character. It’s hardly the worst I have seen of this kind of thing, and it manages to dodge the iced tea and dry teabag tannins like notes nigh completely so it is just a touch rough and artificial edged.

The rest of the beer around those two poles is a moderately bitter and slightly evident hop character lager. Reasonable, not fancy but does the job.

So with that we have covered the good, the bad and the generic. An ok beer, some flaws but not horrible and that citrus zest helps perk it up through its troubles.

So, what is its big advantage? Basically that it is easy to get and inexpensive. While not the best this is reasonable, and actually better than a bunch of the “craft” low abv lagers I’ve tried which leaned on hops too much and ended up very rough. As such, since it is very easy to get it is an easy one to slip alongside a meal or such instead of an alcoholic beer. Not one to examine, or dig into, but does the job well enough for what it is.

Background: So, this says it is bottled in France. Dunno what brewery, heck I don’t even know if it is brewed in France or just bottled there. So, with that wealth of information I can say that this is an alcohol free beer from Sainsbury‘s that I decided to grab and do notes on. It is fairly cheap and I always need some low to no alcohol stuff to enjoy. Or at least try. So that is that. Went with X-Ray Specs: Germ Free Generation as backing music.

shepherd-neame-sainsburys-taste-the-difference-london-porter
Shepherd Neame: Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference: London Porter (England: Porter: 5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Creamy inch of mounded brown froth.

Nose: Grated chocolate. Brown bread. Milky coffee.

Body: Bitter chocolate. Lightly earthy. Milky chocolate. Slight chalky texture. Bitter coffee.

Finish: Bitter cocoa. Earthy bitterness. Turmeric. Slightly chalky. Coffee cake. Light vanilla. Peppery.

Conclusion: We have been discussing (well, more correctly I have been monologuing about) earthy bitters recently. While doing so it is easy to overlook that, with the mass of easily available earthy hops in the UK, the earthy beer take has turned up in quite a range of styles over here.

This is a moderately earthy porter, though not dominated by that fact. The standard bitter chocolate and coffee notes you would expect of a porter are also there. However it is a lot more grounded than a lot of porters, with an earthy and peppery finish giving it a very savoury lead out. Also it gives it a bit more of a robust texture, rather than the smooth porter style it has a slight chalky texture and a rougher, but not unpleasant feel.

Over time the earthiness does become more present though – not a bad thing for the most part to my mind, but your mileage may vary. This has a lot of notes that I would associate with a more traditional bitter than a lot of porters, and that may not be up everyone’s alley. Apart from that it pretty much does the standard porter thing. I think if this was a cask real ale I would be giving it more time, the texture feels like it would slip into a cask beer nicely.

So, pretty simple for a porter but not badly done – the earthiness could be better used – early on the balance between it and the normal porter notes make it interesting, they grow and, while working for most of the beer, by the end it still isn’t bad but the earthiness does end up dominating and doesn’t let the porter notes flow well.

So, ok, but I would be interested to see what a more polished earthy porter would end up being like.

Background: This was a Christmas gift from my mate Tony – many thanks. Shepherd Neame used to do their own beer called Original Porter which I thought was the same as this one – looking up online though their version seemed to be 4.8% abv or 5.2% abv depending on when it was brewed, so this must have at least a slightly different recipe. Broke out the porter designed craft beer glass for this. Don’t know really if it makes a difference but it is fun.

Pure Evil

Sainsbury: Basic Bitter (England: Bitter: 2.1% ABV)

Visual: Golden brown, clear and highly carbonated. An inch of off white bubbles.

Nose: Cooked chicken. Light malt. Peanuts.

Body: Cardboard. Water. Sweat. Chalky and fizzy. Slight nuts. Grit. Sodasteams.

Finish: Some bitterness and hop character. Cooked rubbery chicken. Granite. Sodastream.

Conclusion: OK, now quite a few fellow bloggers and beer drinkers read this blog. Could you people do me a favour please? Whenever you find a shit beer, could you call it “a bad Behan beer” please. That man keeps giving me utterly shite beers to review and I intend to drag his name to infamy as revenge.

Thank you.

So, as you may have guessed, not a good beer. Not at all.

It starts out as merely non descript and only after time does its true craptastic nature reveal itself. How bad? Take a bitter. Ok, you have a pint of bitter? Add some water. No, more than that. More still, even more. Ok, cool. Now strain some sweat in. Done? Ok, now run it through a sodastream for TWO FUCKING YEARS!

You now have this beer.

Seriously. After about an inch you realise this thin feels like an ocean of tiny bubbles run over chalk. In its defence, quite uniquely for a bad Behan beer it actually has some bitterness and hop character in the finish.

Right, that’s enough being fair. I just have this horrid need to treat beer with respect and fair judgement. However since this feels like at least 50% water and 49% enough carbonation to make a bottle rocket out of the leaning tower of Pisa, that was not much fairness I owed it.

Flavour wise it is not as vile as other beers I have had, but the gassiness is vile to a degree similar to bloody Victoria Bitter. On a bad day.  No, really that bad. Avoid.

Background: Ok, this one can’t just be a another clone of Tesco’s value lager. For one it is a bitter. For another it is a whole 0.1% stronger. This is another “gift” from Dave Behan. A man who takes pleasure in my suffering. A  satanic Beelzebub of torment. In fact he gave me a four pack of them. Bastard. Drunk while listening to the 3rd FLCL OST. I figured I would need something happy to take my mind off the beer. No, I wasn’t well dispositioned towards this beer even before drinking it, why do you ask? According to rate beer the beer is made by Carlsberg UK. I should have guessed.

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