Home / Supermarkets and Chain Off-Licences
If you can't find a good independent off licence in your area (Click here to check out your local suppliers) It's worth checking out the chain off licences and major supermarkets. Note that selections vary from branch to branch and over time. Here are a few examples...
Sainsbury's [www.sainsburystoyou.com] stock their own-brand Hefe Weissbier (brewed in Hof) and an own-brand German Pilsner (brewed in the Royal Hofbrauhaus brewery, Brunswick), plus the German-style beers in their Taste the Difference range, brewed in the Meantime brewery, London, including a Vienna Red, a Kölsch-style beer, an Oktoberfest beer, a Bavarian-style wheat beer and an organic Bavarian-style lager, all of which are very good (the Vienna is excellent). [August 2004]
Waitrose [www.waitrose.com] stock their own brand Hefeweizen and dunkles Hefeweizen (in fact these are Arcobräu Weissbier Hell and Arcobräu Weissbier Dunkel rebadged, and both are rather nice), plus Pinkus organic "German beer" (I presume this is a pils style beer) and an own-brand "German Pilsner", I'm not sure by which brewery. You can also get Waitrose products from www.ocado.com, including the Waitrose Hefe Weiss Bier, Waitrose Bavarian Dark Wheat Beer and Waitrose German Pilsner Lager. [August 2004]
Booths Supermarkets [www.booths-supermarkets.co.uk] Supermarkets are taking beer more seriously than they used to and it's common for them to sponsor events and publications, but Booths have the most solid reputation for stocking a wide range of well chosen beers with special attention paid to British bottle conditioned ales. A recent report from Cheshire CAMRA found 11 different bottle conditioned ales in the Knutsford branch and you'll often find good German beers here, too. Lucy Wrapson says they "stock Franziskaner Weiss and Erdinger Dunkel Weiss, and possibly another couple of good German beers.". Unfortunately, they operate mainly in the North West of England and don't cover the rest of the country. See website for branches.
Majestic Wine Warehouses [www.majestic.co.uk] stock Bitburger Premium Beer, Wernesgrüner Pils Legende and Erdinger Weissbier. On my last visit, I found Paulaner Weissbier, Paulaner Helles and Paulaner Oktoberfest. All beers are sold only by the caseload. Their website states they will only deliver beer if you order at least one case of wine or spirits, but if you're ordering more than one case you might be able to persuade them. See website for store locations and online ordering. Their delivery system is probably the best -- you can choose a 2 hour delivery slot, so you won't miss the delivery and have to pick up the crates from the mail depot. [September 2004]
Bottoms Up [www.bottomsup.co.uk] (Currently owned by Thresher Group, see website for branches). In the Hammersmith branch, I found: Schöfferhofer Hefeweizen, Schöfferhofer Kristallweizen, Schneider Weisse, Weizenland Kristallweizen and Weizenland Hefeweizen [last checked: 2001].
Oddbins [www.oddbins.com] often stock interesting beers: in the Portobello branch I found Schneider Weisse. Their website makes no mention of beer [August 2004].
Safeways [www.safeway.co.uk] have an excellent reputation for beers. In the Kensington branch I found Schneider Weisse as well as some other fantastic international beers including Cooper's Sparkling Ale (Australian), Ch'ti Ambree and Brune (French), Samichlaus (Austrian), Goose Island IPA (USA) and Rogue Yellow Snow Ale (USA). Safeways has recently been bought by Morrison's so their beer policy may change.
Morrison's [www.morereasons.co.uk]: There isn't a store near me and their website doesn't do online shopping so I don't know what they stock. [August 2004]
Co-op [www.co-op2u.com]: I didn't find any German beers on their website, but it has a taste selector with an amusing sense of humour. When I selected "Full-Flavoured", it suggested A-B Bud. Hilarious. However, a reader tells me they have Warsteiner in cans. [August 2004]
Budgens [www.budgens.co.uk]: Last time I was there they had Herrenhausen Organic Märzen, but I haven't visited in a long time and their website has no online shopping.
Tesco [www.tesco.com] have Weihenstephaner Kristall Weiss, plus their own Hefeweizen and an own brand Pilsner brewed in Dortmund. However, a trawl of their website showed nothing more interesting than Becks [August 2004].
Asda [www.asda.co.uk] are stocking Weihenstephaner Hefeweiss (reported by Chris Willis, August 2004). They have recently been bought by Wal-Mart, so their beer policy may change. Their painfully slow website offers nothing more interesting than Becks.
Somerfield [www.somerfield.co.uk]: My trips to Somerfield have been fruitless and their website, which doesn't offer online shopping, makes no mention whatsoever of beer [August 2004].
All Bar One [owned by Mitchells & Butlers: www.mbplc.com]: Currently serving Erdinger Weisse on tap [August 2004].
J D Wetherspoon pubs www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk] are currently serving Duckstein in bottles [September 2004].
Samuel Smiths: Sam Smith's pubs serve Ayingerbrau beers, including a Hefeweizen. However, despite it's name, Ayingerbrau beer is brewed by Samuel Smiths in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, not in Aying, Bavaria. It's not a bad stab at Weissbier, though, if you can't get the real thing. [August 2004].
Hall & Woodhouse / Badger Brewery [www.hall-woodhouse.co.uk]: Hofbräu beer (HB Lager, HB Export and HB Premium) look as though theyre from the famous Munich Hofbrauhaus but are actually brewed by Hall & Woodhouse at the Badger Brewery in Dorset under license from Hofbrauhaus München (and not, in my opinion, anywhere near as good). "HB Lager" is only 3.7% ABV and so belongs in the dismal tradition of weaker British versions of imitation continental lagers. [August 2004].
If you still can't find what you're looking for locally, try our Mail Order listings. It is also worth checking the "Stockists" list at Beer Paradise — this led me to a couple of excellent finds, and there are listings for many different parts of the UK.
Last updated: August 2004
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Last updated: 16th June 2001
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