Good wine is, unfortunately, rarely cheap. Great beer is more often than not quite affordable.
Of course, most beer is boring. Increasingly, though, exciting beers are becoming easier to find. If you want an interesting drink, you can rock up to most supermarkets with a couple of quid and score a good bottle.
Tonight I have been drinking two beers from English brewer Thornbridge, which are available in Waitrose. Many English brewers are scared of flavour. While there are lots of great ales available from cask in pubs, with bottled beers boring is the norm. Great cask ales, when bottled, are normally dull and uninteresting. These Thornbridge beers work because they are lavishly hopped, with interesting hop varieties.
Thornbridge Kipling South Pacific Pale Ale
5.2% alcohol. Made with Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand: this was the first UK brewery to use them. Bitter, hoppy, lively and spicy, with lovely floral tropical fruit notes, and a tangy, citrussy, dry palate. Great balance here. 8.5/10
Thorbridge Jaipur India Pale Ale
5.9% alcohol. Exotic and aromatic with lovely floral hoppy notes on the nose, as well as some restrained sweet maltiness. In the mouth it is fresh, concentrated and really hoppy, with a dry finish. It’s bitter but balanced, bringing the palate alive. Rich but fresh, and superbly complex and drinkable. 8.5/10