buying beer

Bigfoot Barley Wine in Oddbins

UK wine sellers Oddbins, with branches all over the country, are now selling Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barley Wine and Early Spring Beer. They’ve always had a passable beer selection, but this is really good stuff. Let’s hope they ditch one or two of the rubbish Euro-lagers soon and replace them with more interesting beers along these lines.

16 replies on “Bigfoot Barley Wine in Oddbins”

How long will they keep this listed, I wonder. I’m not sure there’s much mileage on the UK market for beers of this kind…

It’s just occurred to me that in Britain we don’t have a chain of specialist beer retailers. I do think there’s a market for one, given the right locations.

A chain? Of beer retailers? Hahahahaha. What a crazy idea. It would be like having a chain of pubs. Madness.

These two have just arrived in our (independent – it’s all we’ve got) decent beer shops too. Brooklyn East India was with them. Somebody, Mr Clay perhaps, bought a job lot, I reckon.

Oddbins were selling the Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale recently so they obviously feel there’s a market for this type of beer.

I think recent events have proven that these types of beer do sell and long may they continue to do so.

It probably is down to James Clay and a big hurrah to them

The Bigfoot is also good if you like to cellar beer. I had an ’02 on tap at a local watering hole and it was excellent, and I’ve got a couple from last year that I’m hanging onto. The Early Spring Beer was decent enough, but I enjoy the aged and fresh Bigfoot a lot more.

Maeib, which recent events are those? I’m not saying you’re wrong – to some extent, I hope you’re not – but what I’ve heard and experienced contradicts your statement somewhat. Oddbins buying in a few pallets of SN’s less mainstream brews from Clays doesn’t mean they’ll continue to do so.

I think the issue with expensive, imported beers is that I think there’s a massive overlap between those people who (a) are open-minded enough to want to try and spend money on them and (b) those who are also concerned about food miles and want to buy from local – or at least British producers. An expensive bottled beer from thousands of miles away gets squeezed if that’s correct.

Eric — we picked up a few bottles to stash. They’ll be a nice treat in the autumn/winter, I hope.

Maeib & Stonch — I suspect Stonch is right, but really want Maieb to be! It would be great to pick up all kinds of interesting American beers in the offy on the way home from work, but I already have pangs of guilt about imported beer which will no doubt soon crystallise into a depressing realisation that I can only really drink beer from within spitting distance of my house. Unless it’s been delivered by pedal-powered cargo ship, that is.

Another thing to consider for the political drinker is that Sierra Nevada is a whopping great brewery – so if you buy their beers you aren’t supporting “the little guy”! Now that’s not important to everyone, but I do think it informs a lot of people’s purchasing choices.

I’m talking about the Sheps/Stone being so popular all over the country with all types of drinkers. I’m talking about the American cask stuff selling remarkably well at GBBF even with the high prices. I’m talking about Uto and The Rake doing so well with their American range.

I know US beer isn’t going to appeal to all and sundry but importers must be able to bring enough in of a large range of beer to make a success of it, and to appeal to those who do appreciate it.

Do people really think about drink miles? I don’t see many people flagging Chilean wine for Vin d’Angleterre, so not sure they are that bothered about the origins of their beer.

Maeib — I think it’s the strength of BBW that’s the particular problem. I can see the Early Spring Beer doing quite well, being seasonal, nicely packaged, and so on. But I can only summon the courage to drink barley wines or strong beers once or twice a month (shameful confession…) because they tend to knock me out. And I’m a proud beer geek! So the average punters are probably not going to buy enough of this from Oddbins to make it worth their while. Although I must admit that part of the reason for mentioning it on here was to stimulate demand…

We think about drink miles. Doesn’t necessarily stop us buying imported beer, but we are often excited to find a British beer which is a good substitute. That’s one of the reasons we’re very pro-Meantime: their beers might not be the very best examples of each style, but it’s not travelled far, at least. But, yes, you’re right — that probably won’t be the deciding factor when it comes to Oddbins selling (or not selling) their stock of BBW.

Maeib, people will only import beers if there’s a decent margin in it. Because bringing beers from the US is still expensive (despite the dollar’s weakness), sufficient volume is necessary.

Frankly, the popularity of the Stone IPA is (a) just a drop in the ocean and (b) due to it being very strong and sold cheaply in pubs frequented by binge drinkers and alcoholics. As for the GBBF international bar, that’s frequented disproportionately by the beer fanatic contingent. Likewise the Rake.

I don’t want to piss on your chips – but get real.

The Stone IPA is, for all practical purposes, a British beer. Importing beer involves all manner of unpleasant financial hoops, a chain of middlemen from brewer to drinker, and the need for each party to know in advance where and when they’ll get their money back.

Bonding, in short, is a bitch.

Stonch – It’s admirable that you are flying the flag for boring English beers being what ordinary English beer are desiring.

I’m not suggesting having US microbrews in every pub in the country, but having them in those which are disproportionately frequented by beer lovers, of which there are many (pubs and beer lovers), could become a viable option.

Yes the Stone was cheap for what it was but was universally enjoyed from what I can gather. If it was priced correctly it would still sell well amongst those who enjoy it, as would any decent import.

I cannot understand the reticence for modernising the drinking public. How do you explain how well these beers have taken off in Scandinavia or even Italy where you have experienced it first hand. Neither country has a heritage of anything like decent beer unlike us.

Every time I speak to an off licence owner they tell me how well the US beers they stock sell.

I don’t want to piss on your chips either (I’ve never heard that phrase before) – but I just don’t understand why you’re so anti. If I had the money I’d do it tomorrow.

“Neither country has a heritage of anything like decent beer unlike us.”

Exactly. I think that’s why the situation there is so different.

I’m not “anti” importing anything, I just want to inject a note of realism here. I’d be the first to admit I’m not so interested – at the moment – in the same very niche market that you seem to be. That’s not meant as a slight in any way – I think our opinions differ because we look at this from very different perspectives. In fact, we’re talking at cross purposes to a large extent.

Sorry if I came across as snippy in my last comment, by the way – I didn’t mean to, but reading back think I did.

Now – am I going to go to the Wenlock or not?

Another issue is to encourage more boldness in British brewers. Even our micros, by and large, are a conservative lot.

As for Stone? Well yes Stonch has a point, but a self serving one. He believes JDW is full of “binge drinkers and alcoholics” so by his reckoning a veil can be drawn over the whole Stone experience. That nil sum view however does not preclude the fact that JDW created something of brewing value; a talking point; a different beer to that which we can normally get.

Maybe the wrong audience, though I am not so dismissive as Stonch, but certainly not the wrong beer!

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