Always slightly disappointed with tesco once you’ve drunk the range available it doesn’t seem to change much the odd gem can be found as in re badged brewdog but the usual fare is standard the size of store varies the choice as others have explained much better than me.
It doesn’t make much sense to me to have a single composite listing for all the branches of a supermarket chain. For one thing, the UK is not particularly well supplied with decent specialist beer shops so, in many places in the UK if you are looking for somewhere to buy some bottles one or other of the supermarkets is likely to be your best option. Having to hunt round the many supermarket websites to see whether they have a branch nearby is not particularly helpful. That’s assuming you’re familiar with the UK supermarket chains which, if you’re a visitor from overseas, you may well not be. For another thing, all the major chains now have a variety of formats, ranging from small local convenience stores to massive hypermarkets. In the case of Tesco the categories (in ascending order of size) are Express, Metro, Superstore and Extra. They also have a separate band called One Stop that comes in various sizes. And then there’s the Tesco online operation that offers a few hundred beers and ciders for home delivery. Not surprisingly, the beer range varies considerably depending on format. On top of this, even the big chains are getting in on the "local produce" act, so you may well find a few local beers - even my local Tesco Express has Sambrooks Wandle alongside a small & rather desutory selection of a dozen or so major beer brands. Not the most exciting but it’s better than nothing. However, you won’t find that beer at all small Tesco stores around London and certainly won’t find it in branches outside London. All of this makes the "beers here" listing fairly useless.
I notice we don’t seem to be following the unhelpful composite listing format for Whole Foods Markets, who now have nine outlets in the UK with, no doubt, more to come.
So, it’s really difficult to know to come up wth a score for Tesco as a whole. All I can say is that, in some places, Tesco (or one of the other supermarkets) may be your best take-away option. You’ll just have to do some research on the supermarket websites to see which have what sort of outlet in the area, then take a look in at each to see which fits your needs best. RateBeer can’t help you with any of that.
This review is based on the very large Streatham Tesco "Extra" store. Generally don’t like Tescos, and never used them much back in the UK but this particular store local to my parents gaff is good in respect of some great country ticks you can pick up. Not sure this is the same for all "Extra" stores but I have picked up ticks from many hard to track down countries including Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, and Barbados and Nigeria. Rest of selection seems to match what others have mentioned below.
As with all the supermarkets the range will vary depending on the size of the shop, and the range in the little Tesco Local & Metro ones is really not worth bothering. I’ve therefore based this review on their biggest "Extra" branded shops; in particular the one in Reading.
OK, it’s the UK’s biggest supermarket chain, and therefore people love to hate it (although their alleged aggressive business practices don’t help them win popularity either). However, in reality one of the reasons they’ve become the biggest is by offering what people want, generally at very attractive prices. In terms of beer, this means that their Extra stores have the biggest beer range of any of the supermarkets - recently in the Reading store I estimated that they had well over 150 different beers - plus plenty of ciders too. This competes with many specialist beer stores. Now, obviously you’re not looking at world beating ultra rare beers here, and nor would you expect that in a major supermarket. A lot of their ale section is from the usual big regional UK brewers, although they do stock some more unusual seasonals from the regionals on rotation, so even here there’s probably going to be some ticks even for UK raters (and visitors from abroad will no doubt find plenty to interest them. They also stock ales from some the the larger micros (eg Williams Bros, Butcombe), and recently seem to have got in more local beers (West Berkshire have suddenly popped up in the Reading store). They also have a reasonal craft range (again nothing particularly unusual, but you can pick up the likes of Brewdog & Sierra Nevada among others at knockdown prices). They also have the Marstons Revisionist and Greene King Metropolitan craft ranges brewed especially for them, along with some other "Tesco" branded beers. Finally their "world beer" range (oddly split between the beer aisle and the world foods aisle) is certainly the best of the supermarkets - you can probably tick off 30-odd countries here, including the highly-rated Sri Lankan Lion Stout and the. errm, Carib Sorrel Shandy. All the beer ranges seem to have new beers added on a fairly frequent basis, so even for the regular visitor there’s a good chance of finding something new. Prices are pretty cheap, and there’s usually an offer like 4 for £6 or 3 for £5 covering most of the beers. Service is pretty average (you won’t find anyone who knows about beer, but staff are reasonably polite and helpful (certainly better than in Asda, Lidl or Aldi). The food selection is huge, and the world food aisles have some quite interesting stuff for a supermarket. Comparing it to the other UK supermarkets (it’s obviously not fair to compare it to a specialist beer shop), it’s probably not got the fanciest range - if you want higher quality beers (or for the matter better service or higher prices) you’ll want to head to Waitrose or Marks & Spencers. However, if you’re purely looking for the biggest range of beer and many ticks, Tesco Extra beats all the other supermarkets hands down.
Good range of uk macro beers and ciders along with a small selection of local beers and international beers. Depending on areahave some more unusual foreign beers and sahki. NoNothing left for to try now unless they get a new beer in.
I have been to the big Tesco extra in Eastbourne, as well as at the Tesco extra in Ryde / IoW. Both supermarkets had a big selection and I found many, many new beers. Not only mainstream stuff, but also some craft beer gems from all over the world. Worth a visit.
I always got the impression that Tesco was supposed to provide a less thrilling, lower quality experience than Sainsbury’s which should translate in a lower price point. I never actually bothered to verify this theory by comparing prices etc. Anyway that is just a general impression I always got and this sort of translates into the beer selection. I had no qualms about going here for food that keeping in mind that I almost once choked on a piece of plastic that in a can of Tesco value tomato paste that I used to make dinner. The kind of stuff I am led to believe you can sue people for in the States. Keeping that given in mind still for beer, the selection at Sainsbury’s always seemed to be more inviting to me. If you are visiting the UK, there is definitely plenty to tick here but in that case you are not desperate for new tick’s. I have always opted to swing by Sainsbury’s if I was going for some Supermarket tick’s. That or you can always just go to the boozer, it always seemed while there is no shortage of bars in London, beer stores are a trickier affair.
I really don’t like Tesco - one of the major supermarket chains in this country – not least because of their policy of buying up properties (including pubs) and doing their damnedest to put local shops out of business. We now have two of the small “Tesco Express” branches within 5 minutes walk of home. I try not to patronise them but, when I do, I very occasionally spot an unusual beer or two.
(Last visited 11 July 2013).