You can’t argue when an award-winning beer arrives in the post

Vedett Extra IPA beer

Look, I’m not a beer expert, but when a bottle of Vedett Extra White beer arrived in the post it would have been churlish of me not to try it.

I like beer;  but I can’t wax lyrical about why I like beer. I’ll leave it to other people to do that.

For that reason  I’ll commend the Extra White to you because it has won the title of Best Wheat Beer in the inaugural The Beer Awards. As I’ve said, I like beer and I like this beer. Though I prefer another beer – and more of that in a few words’ time.

Here’s what you need to know.

Vedett Extra White:

Vedett Extra White bottleJudges said of the Belgian beer (4.7% abv) that the “citrus zest and a touch of coriander make this beer the ultimate refreshment”. Technical notes tell me that it contains wheat, barley, hops, coriander and dried Spanish orange peel. The palate is crisp and “punctuated with an orange and lemon-like zest”.

The trophy has come at a good time for Vedett as all  three beer styles have seen strong sales' increases in the past 2-3 years. Here's the other two beers which arrived in the post.

Vedett Extra Blond:

Vedett Extra Blond beerLike the other beers, the Extra Blond (5% abv) has a quirky, retro label.
People can personalise their own bottles by uploading images and messages on the back labels via Vedett’s website.  The beer has a smooth malt character  with notes of vanilla and fruit.

Vedett Extra Ordinary India Pale Ale:

Vedett IPA beerWe – as in me and the Other Half – preferred this IPA (5.5% abv) to the Extra Blond and the Extra White.  It was very refreshing after a long. long day, with interesting aromas of citrus alongside a touch of bitterness; and when we tasted, those characteristics were mirrored, together with a silkiness of caramel.  It’s definitely a beer I’ll look out for again.

Vedett Extra Blond (RRP £1.70) can be found at  Morrisons and select Marks & Spencer and Co-op stores. Vedett Extra White (RRP £1.65) and Vedett Extra Ordinary IPA (RRP £1.99) are stocked in a few beer independent shops, including Beer Merchants (all are 330ml).

The Beer Awards

  • The IWSC group organises The Beer Awards which were launched at the Craft Beer Rising event in London.
  • Find out more about The Beer Awards here
  • For more details on Vedett pop over to their website.
  • The 2017 Craft Beer Rising event takes place in February.  More details here.
  • A public relations team sent me these beers as samples – I never guarantee I’ll  write about drinks I receive unsolicited.

Gluten free beer: I track some down for our unscientific taste test

Gluten free beer reviews

Sometimes a beer is what you need to hit the spot. But for some people hitting the spot with a beer is the last thing they need, as either through medical necessity or as a lifestyle choice, for them only a gluten free beer will do.

Ed, my daughter’s Other Half,  has now chosen to drink  GF beers so that inspired me to track some down. I then mustered a bunch of friends to taste test the beers.

gluten free beer
Pal Janet enjoys the Bellfield Bohemian Pilsner

Bellfield Brewery Lawless Village IPA (4.5% abv, www.bellfieldbrewery.com,  £31.80 for 12) was the first pour for my pals.  Bellfield’s motto Born of Grief – Brewed with Love rings true as the owners are coeliac and to enjoy beer they created their own.  Our taste test buzz words included  “parma violets” “floral” “citrusly refreshing”.  My tasters also enjoyed Bellfield’s Pilsner which was a finalist at this year’s Scottish Beer Awards for Best Pilsner or Lager.

Bellfield Brewery gluten free Lawless Village IPA
Bellfield Brewery Lawless Village IPA

Green’s Discovery Amber (6% abv glutenfreebeers.co.uk) was developed by Green’s Beers as the first European GF beer in 2003 and now there’s eight styles of beer in the range. I enjoyed the Gold Dry Hopped Lager (4% abv, Ocado) with its citrus and malty vibe; and the Glorious Pilsener (4.5% abv, glutenfreebeers.co.uk) was a winner with my chums.  

The woody and herb notes of Green’s India Pale Ale (5% abv, Ocado) was fab with a slice of mature cheddar. All of Green’s beers have an RRP of £2.17 for 330ml with some of the range available at Sainsbury.

Gluten free beer
Nicola, one of my guinea pigs, checking aromas

Elsewhere on the high street, Morrisons sells Brewdog Vagabond (4.5% abv £1.65, 330ml, or £6 for four) My guinea pigs said of this pale ale:  “caramel” “liquorice” “citrus” and “peach”.  Morrisons has another choice in Estrella Damm Daura Gluten Free Lager (5.4% abv, £5.96 for four 330ml  bottles).

Over at M&S you can find  Gluten free Belgian Golden Ale (4.8% abv) and  Gluten Free Belgium Premium Pilsner (4.8% abv –  both are £2 for 330ml).

Some Co-op stores sell the First Chop Brewing Arm Ava (3.5% abv,  £2.19, 500ml, or three for a fiver) It is a pale malt made with fruity Australian hops. First Chop gluten free beer is brewed in Manchester.

I often enjoy Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer (4% abv) as I watch the Saturday footie scores and bemoan the fact that my team has lost. And yes, its gluten free. You can buy four in a £6 deal at Tesco. I love its spicy lift of ginger with a mingle of citrus. (There’s a  Scottish Raspberry version too)

PS: Online,  I found glutenfreebeerstore.co.uk which bills itself as having the largest selection of gluten free beer in the world.

Click here for some guidelines to a gluten free diet from www.coeliac.org.uk.

Also in my glass ….

While on the look-out for GF beers someone said ah! beer! and told me about  Alhambra Reserva 1925 (6.4% abv, 330ml, £9.99 for six, at selected Majestic stores). It’s also here at The Drink Shop. This premium Spanish lager isn’t a GF tipple  – but I’m glad I found it. As my guinea pigs were to hand, I asked them what they thought. They said “amazing” “strong” “lip-curling” “woody” and “a serious drink”.  I caught aromas of citrus and orange. It was mighty fine.

First published in Raise a Glass, Trinity Mirror regionals September 2016

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express