Thursday, 20 August 2015

Crafty Lidl Fails to Deliver

Earlier in the year, I think it may have been back in June, discount supermarket Lidl made a bit of a media splash by launching what was described as a range of “craft ales”. Several national newspapers latched on to the story and the chain even recruited Blur bassist-turned-organic farmer and brewer, Alex James as their first major celebrity tie-in.

To someone like me, who does a lot of drinking at home, this sounded like a great idea, but I have to admit that with one notable exception, I have been rather disappointed by the beers on offer at my local Lidl store. Admittedly Tonbridge is one of the company’s smaller outlets, but the sight of the excellent Czech Black Lager, from the Herold Brewery in Breznice, was something to get my pulse racing.

At just £1.50 a bottle it seemed too good an offer to miss, so I picked up several bottles. Imagine my disappointment then this evening, when there was not a bottle of Herold to be seen. The so-called “craft-ales” were limited to a handful of offerings from Shepherd Neame and Marstons, both of whom supply Lidl on a regular basis. There was an unfamiliar looking Belgian beer on sale (Blanche de Namur), but there was no sign of the La Chouffe, or the Portobello Star promised in the company’s promotion.

The second “roll-out” in this “craft-ale” promotion is due to be launched at the beginning of next month. I will be keeping a sharp lookout to see what’s included, but if the current performance is anything to go by, I won’t be holding my breath!


Pivovar Herold Tmavé Speciální Pivo 5.2%.  A Czech Black Lager and a mighty fine one at that! Jet black with a dense creamy head and a smoky dry finish. Brewed by the Herold Brewery in Breznice, Bohemia, and lagered for 70 days in the cellars of the 500 year old Castle brewery.

This really is one of the finest black lagers around. Smooth with a full rich flavour, satisfying and very moreish.


BryanB said...

Blanche de Namur is really rather good, and a bargain at Lidl prices. Portobello Star has certainly been around the London Lidls - the beer lists are regional, so for example in Bristol you'll find Box Steam & Wooden Hand ales instead of Portobello & co. I agree overall the range doesn't match the hype though.

Paul Bailey said...

I’ve never been a huge fan of wheat beers, BryanB, but I might pick one up out of curiosity.

Btw. Are you going to be in Brussels next week for the European Beer Bloggers Conference?

Stonch Beer said...

That particular batch of Herold Black was actually brewed in the UK believe it or not - it was a one off due to the brewery being at over capacity. Glad to hear it turned out well

al on beer said...

what a con the craft range of hatherwood beers highlighted in the christmas catalogue
are all brewed in parts of the Marston empire except for one by hogs back which they
feature to give the impression that the head brewers named are from small craft could call it passing off but the word craft covers any brewery producing
beer allowing the big boys and lidl to take advantage of consumers who think
it means microbrewer

Dancing Cyclist said...

Jan 2016 and my l8cal L7dl in Wallington S. London has a huge selection of craft beers whuch always seems well stocked and replenished. Most are in the £1.29 to £1.59 price bracket for 330ml and 500ml bottles which I presume is good value ?!

Leonard King said...

It must be as you say, due to your Tonbridge store being on the small side. In Worle (North Somerset) where I live the beer section is packed with 8/9 craft ales of names I've never heard before and three Czech lagers including Pivovar Herold Black £1.25 per bottle. For those who can't be bothered Amazon sell it at £16.96 per 12 bottle case free postage on orders over £20, so still good value.