Well, no.. not really.
It is hard to deny though that Waitrose has produced a significant improvement on the regular 'supermarket shelf' when it comes to the choice of beer they stock. It's a really good selection and falls into the position of; there's something for everyone here.
When it comes to own brand supermarket beers, let's face it, they're usually abysmal. I do get the feeling that Waitrose actually cares about the beers they sell though and with the new own brand beers that they've started selling they've gone to proper breweries to do it for them.
Let's give them a go!
First up is the Belgian Blonde at 6.3%. It's brewed at the Brasserie Du Bocq in Purnode and apparently is "made the authentic way with orange peel and anise". It has a good aroma about it. Honey and spice with a touch of apple skin and pineapple, it's kind of like your Leffe or Maredsous Blondes.. It's a very sweet beer, soft, but very thin. The finish depletes rapidly leaving you with a sweet malt flavour which isn't all bad but it isn't brilliant. A little spice comes though after a few more sips, but overall it's pretty inoffensive, which means you could easily sell it to anyone really.
Next up is the German Pils; a 5% Pils brewed at the Memminger brewery in Bavaria. The aromas are pretty mundane. Corn and rice with some straw and a little apple scented malt. Once again, it's very sweet with only a slight hint of dryness about it. It tastes a lot like watered down malt syrup, with sweet corn and tinned carrots in the flavour. The bottle states: "Crisp, dry and refreshing with a subtle hop flavour" - That's probably being generous... the hop character was too subtle for me to find.
Last of all is the Czech Pilsner coming in at 5% brewed at the Herold Brewery in Bohemia. This one I had high hopes for because I've always really liked the lagers produced at Herold, especially their dark lager. Not really much to write home about I'm afraid. A little straw and citrus fruit skins in the aroma. It's very light and soft in the body with quite a bit of bittersweet apple malt flavour. I was expecting a bit more..
Overall three pretty average beers. But at the price they're being sold for, they'll sell plenty enough, and it's something a bit above the normal tinnies. They're certainly better than own brand beers I've had before, but I don't think I'll be buying them again, saying that the Belgian Blonde would be my pick of the bunch. I reckon you don't need to go to European breweries to brew your beers, we make it good enough right here.