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High Street indie launches own beer

Added: Thursday, May 8th 2014


Oddbins, the independent high street wine and beer merchant, today launched a national hunt to find an official customer Beer Taster to assist the retailer in choosing which brews it should stock in its shops. The dream job for any beer lover will involve extensive sampling of dozens of craft ales and recommending which brews should go on to the shelves at Oddbins’ branches.

The search for a customer Beer Taster comes as Oddbins launches Oddbins No 2 – a new Pale Ale. The beer is made by Compass Brewery in Oxfordshire and will go on sale from 8 May. It has a crisp clean taste made in a Kölsch style, but will use smoked malt in the brewing process – an ingredient that is typically only used in Porters and Stouts.

Ayo Akintola, managing director of Oddbins, says: “The Oddbins Beer Taster will have a very tough job, but somebody has to do it. If our Beer Taster does not already possess an encyclopedic knowledge of British beer they certainly will after working with us. Oddbins is a proud supporter of independent British brewers. The industry is deservedly enjoying a resurgence and the choice is now so wide that we need some help in selecting which ales to sell.”

Anyone who thinks they are up to the gruelling challenge of drinking beer on Oddbins’ behalf simply have to nominate themselves on Twitter using the hashtag #OddbinsBeer and including @Oddbins to explain why they are the best candidate for the job. The winner will be selected at the end of May. Candidates must be aged 18 or over.

The year-long role is unpaid, but the Beer Taster will receive sufficient quantities of beer to ensure that they and their friends will never be short of a quality craft ale.

Oddbins No 2 is brewed using pale malt, lager malt, Vienna malt, wheat and smoked malt. It’s a Kölsch-style ale - a distinctive type of beer that is brewed in Cologne. It is sometimes described as a cross between an ale and a lager and tends to offer biscuit notes with a refreshing character – perfect for long sunny summer evenings.

About one fifth of the malt used in Oddbins No 2 is smoked – providing a unique twist to a typical Pale Ale. The malt has been smoked by the family-owned Upton Smokery in Oxfordshire. The malt is laid out on trays and gently smoked over beech wood for about 24 hours. The wood adds softer, subtler and more complex smoke notes than alternatives such as peat. Oddbins No 2 uses Tettnang hops – a German hop from the region of the same name. It provides subtle grassy and earthy notes to the beer and plays a supporting role with an emphasis on the malts and yeast.

The launch of Oddbins No2 follows the successful debut of Oddbins No 1, a festive ale that went on sale before Christmas and rapidly sold out. The company plans to introduce further own beers bearing its logo later this year. Craft beers make up nearly half of all Oddbins’ beer sales. The company stocks 293 British craft beers across its branch network – making it one of the largest supporters of independent brewers in the country. 

Oddbins No 2 will be available across the retailer’s branch network and online at It will cost £2.65 for a 500ml bottle. Oddbins will also sell three other beers from Compass:

Kings Shipment 6.0% - A strong IPA, dry hopped in oak casks. 

Symposium 3.9% - A refreshing wheat beer brewed with fresh ginger and lemon. 

Baltic Night 4.8% - A dark, rich stout dry and full of dark roasted coffee flavours. 

Oddbins has 35 branches across the country and plans to grow its branch network to more than 100 stores over the next 12 months and is also looking for franchisees in areas of the UK where it is not already represented., which was relaunched last year, is a rapidly growing online destination for wine and beer lovers and provides the same level of informal insight for customers that they would receive in Oddbins branches.


About Compass Brewery 

Compass was founded in 2009 by Mattias Sjöberg. From a small town just south of Stockholm, Mattias started brewing at home when he was 16 years old. He quickly became fascinated with the chemistry and biology of beer, and this led him to apply to a degree course in Brewing and Distilling at Herriot-Watt University Scotland. 

He wanted to set up his own brewery and he got his chance in March 2009 when his employer, Scottish & Newcastle, announced the closure of its brewery in Reading. Compass Brewery had been on Mattias’s mind for years so he set up the company in April 2009, launching the first brew, Baltic Night Stout, in November 2009. 

Compass believes that beer needs to reclaim its rightful position on the dinner table as a complement to any food. It has launched a range of bottled beers, all brewed for flavour, and enjoys working with a growing number of local food producers, retailers, restaurants and pubs. The company’s products can be found nationwide at Oddbins branches and in cask in selected pubs throughout Oxfordshire.

Oddbins Pale Ale