Office worker Graham Nelson first tried making beer a year ago, but today the beer he originally crafted in his kitchen went on sale at Waitrose.

The 39-year-old won a competition organised by the retailer and Derbyshire brewer Thornbridge to find the nation’s best home brew.

They received more than 200 entries but a panel of experts decided Nelson’s Vienna IPA was the best of the bunch.

Since winning, Nelson has worked with Thornbridge to brew and bottle his recipe, ready for launch.
He said: “Since learning that I’d won it’s been a fantastic experience to be involved in helping Thornbridge’s brewers scale up my recipe and make the beer. I only make 40 bottles when home brewing so to see 10,000 bottles packaged and ready to be sent out was quite humbling.”

Rob Lovatt, head brewer at Thornbridge, added: “I knew Graham’s beer was going to be in the running for best homebrew the moment I tasted it. It was solid, well-balanced, clean and had a modern hop profile which really stood out. We have closely followed Graham’s recipe to keep true to the batch he first made at home.”

Waitrose said it has seen a rise in demand for craft beers, with sales up 10%. Its beer buyer Kate Prall said: “We think Graham’s beer will be a hit with ale fans. Its crisp, well-rounded flavour will be the perfect accompaniment to a warming curry this autumn.” 

The Home Brew Challenge Vienna IPA will be available in 70 Waitrose shops nationwide, including in Nelson’s home county of Cheshire, retailing at £2.50 for a 50cl bottle.