Monday, April 19, 2021

Hoegaarden - 0.0 Wheat Beer

Hoegaarden is a part of the global company Anheuser Busch InBev and this is their take on the popular alcoholic version. The beer (declared on the can as not more than 0.05 % ABV) is widely available in the UK, having been launched in 2019. The ingredients include apple extract, orange peel, sugar and coriander seeds. The hops are not specified. It pours from a 330 ml can and looks the part of a wheat beer - a hazy yellow body with a frothy white head which subsides but doesn't quite disappear. On the nose, the mellow fruitiness of the original Belgian brew is apparent. The taste is mainly of banana and apple and is quite sweet. It has a soft creamy texture and the finish is also sweet and is reminiscent of ripe banana. The sweetness probably doesn't make it a thirst quencher and it is certainly best served chilled, with a slice of fruit being optional.

3 / 5

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Leffe - Blond 0.0

Leffe beers are in the Belgian abbey style, trading heavily on tradition - the label boasts "Anno 1240." But it's a long time since the beers were produced by monks; these days the brand is a part of the global giant Anheuser-Busch InBev. This beer is their 0.0 % ABV take on their original alcoholic blond beer and ingredients listed include barley, maize, sugar and "natural aromas." It comes in a 250 ml bottle and when poured it quickly goes flat. The aroma is rather bread-like but with a hint of spice. Tastewise there is a slightly cloying mixture of pear, clove and strong esters. The mouthfeel is moderate whilst the finish is bitter. It certainly has a complexity but the components of the beer just don't seem to marry up. 

3 / 5

Monday, April 12, 2021

Magic Rock - Freeride

This Huddersfield brewery was set up in 2011 and immediately embraced the craft beer revolution with their constant experimentation in their beer recipes. In 2019 Magic Rock was acquired by the Australian food & drinks company Lion. Freeride is a 0.5% pale ale that comes in a 330 ml can (which may contain sediment, so pour carefully!) and is vegan but not GF. It contains barley, wheat and rye but the hops used are not specified. As soon as you pour the hazy beer into the glass the promised passion fruit and mango assail your nostrils. The taste is equally fruity and has a gentle sweet malt base, reminiscent of butterscotch. The body is firm and the finish is short and crisp. Freeride is a clean-tasting beer that has a good balance of fruity sweetness and bite.

5 / 5

Friday, April 9, 2021

Vandestreek - Fun House NEIPA

This New England IPA is a collaboration between the Dutch brewers and Gwei-lo, a brewery based in Hong Kong. The 33 cl can contains less than 0.5 % ABV. This is a hazy pale orange-coloured beer with an impressive white head sitting atop. On the nose there is an immediate hit of tropical fruit and the taste is equally punchy. Think pineapple, peach, tangerine and lemon. The body is firm but light and the finish crisp but with a touch of sweetness to take the bitter edge off. Fun House is really fresh-tasting and the bright, zingy character leaves you wanting more of it. Great fun.

5 / 5

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Coast - DDH IPA

This is a 0.0 % ABV Doible Dry-Hopped India Pale Ale from the Edinburgh brewery set up in 2019 and which specialises in zero alcohol vegan beers. It has just 99 calories in the 330 ml can. Hops are the name of the game in a DDH IPA and this one is fully loaded with Simcoe, Citra and Mosaic - all typical of hop-forward brews. A pale yellow body supports a lively moderate white head and the aroma is very much tropical fruit, particularly mango. The flavour is strongly citrussy, especially grapefruit and orange. The body is rather disappointing being on the thin side and the mouthfeel is quite gassy. The finish is hoppy and sharp. A beer with a prominent flavour, as expected, but let down by the body and the carbonation level.

2 / 5 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Saltaire - Northern Light

Northern Light comes in a 330ml bottle, has an ABV of 0.5 % and is a pale ale utilising just the Citra hop. The brewery is based in West Yorkshire and this is their first AF beer, launched in January. Into the glass, the beer creates a decent white head and has a pleasing dark orange colour to the body. On the nose there is a citrus note but nothing too overpowering. There is also a vaguely medicinal touch to the aroma. The citrus converts into a light fruitiness on the tongue - lime and gooseberry in the main. But there is also a rather odd detergent-like taste (as if I've ever drank detergent). It's a beer with a thin body but has a nice level of carbonation. The head persists, leaving lacework down the glass. The finish is crisp and short. 

2 / 5

Friday, March 12, 2021

Lowtide - Brune-DMC

The recently established Lowtide brewery in Bath offer up this brown "abbey style" Belgian beer in a 440 ml can. Typically such beers come in at hefty ABVs but this being AF, it has a very modest ABV of no more than 0.5 %. The beer is vegan. The ingredients include various grains (barley, oats, wheat and rye) whilst the hops used are Saaz and Goldings. Pouring the ale into the glass releases an earthy aroma and a thick foaming head is created that sits atop the rich auburn body. The taste is sweet and malty with notes of black cherry and chocolate. A full and smooth mouthfeel leads into a honeyed finish. AF beers have come a long way in the last few years and this Trappist-style beer is a fine example of just how far. Let's hope more and more breweries walk this way.

5 / 5

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Sambrook's Brewery - Stand Easy New England IPA

London-based Sambrook's Brewery offer up this 0.5 % ABV New England IPA in a 330 ml can and the first thing to note is the beer isn't hazy. Isn't that a defining characteristic of a NEIPA? Apparently not. Ingredients include malted barley, oats and wheat, together with Azacca, Waiiti and Northern Brewer hops. Through the thick white head one detects pine and tropical fruits which then translate into a pleasing and subtle blend of fruity flavours on the tongue. There is pineapple, mango, lime and tangerine to be found and the mouthfeel is decidedly smooth and creamy. The softness ends with a crisp bite, but with only a modest bitterness. 

4 / 5

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Harbour Brewing - Blue Horizon IPA

The Harbour Brewing Company is based in Cornwall. It is not an AF specialist brewery and this IPA appears to be their first foray into the territory. The ingredients include malted barley, wheat, oats and lactose (so it is not suitable for a vegan diet). From the 330 ml can comes a very pale lime green beer whose thin head quickly dissipates. On the nose is a hint of grapefruit, which carries on into both the taste and the finish. This citrus profile is offset somewhat by a sticky sweetness. The mouthfeel is thin and it is a little gassy in character. As a general comment I found Blue Horizon to be a very one-dimensional brew and rather lacking in appeal. 

1 / 5

Monday, March 1, 2021

Another Dimension - Pale Ale

Amother Dimension was set up in Brighton in 2019 in order to produce vegan non-alcoholic beers. Four types of hops are utilised in this pale ale - Mosaic, Citra, Amarillo and Tettnanger. This 0.5 % ABV brew comes in a 330 ml can and pours a pleasant golden amber colour and creates a decent foamy head. Tropical fruits and pine are to the fore on the nose. Orange and caramel are prominent flavours with a lemony zing and with a subtle sweetness underpinning. Overall, it's a decidedly bitter pale ale. The mouthfeel is moderate, helped no doubt by the maltodextrin in the mix. The finish has a very assertive bite. If you particularly like a bitter beer (and I do) then this hits the bullseye.

5 / 5

Friday, February 26, 2021

Bristol Beer Factory - Clear Head IPA

Five percent of the proceeds from the sale of Clear Head goes to the Factory collaborator, the charity Talk Club - a mental health talking club for men. This IPA is the Bristol brewers first foray into AF beers and true to its name it is perfectly clear in appearance. The head soon disappears. There is a strongly hoppy nose with citrus fruits to the fore. Tastewise the ale has a pleasant combination of tropical fruits (particularly mango) from the Citra and Mosaic hops and a subtle butterscotch sweetness presumably derived from the lactose. The body is quite thin whilst the finish is sharp and crisp. This IPA will certainly quench your thirst if you're talking and at 0.5% ABV, you'll keep a clear head too.

3 / 5

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Northern Monk - Holy Faith

From the Leeds brewers Northern Monk comes this 0.5 % hazy pale ale. Packed into the distinctive 440 ml can are El Dorado, Columbus and Citra hops making sure there is a big hit of lemon and orange aromas when you open it and pour. The mouthfeel is quite firm, probably helped by the use of oats in the recipe and the carbonation is light. Tastewise Holy Faith is as fruity and juicy as you would expect from these hops. It's not too sharp either, as these types of beer can sometimes be. There's a balancing sweetness of caramel and melon to soften the citrussy elements. A very fresh brew.

3 / 5

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Lowtide / Electric Bear - A Pale of Two Cities

Lowtide and Electric Bear are both based in Bath so it seems an obvious idea for the Somerset breweries to produce a collaboration beer, and this hazy pale is it. Served up in a 440ml can, it is 0.5 % ABV and is suitable for vegans. The billowing white top soon subsides and on the nose it is very fresh and fruity. The body is rather light and the carbonation a little more than I would ideally like but it isn't excessive. The hoppy taste is a combination of tangerine, pineapple and lemon sherbet with a bitter citrus finish. Refreshing and easy to drink.

3 / 5

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Big Drop / Einstök - Arctic Beach Coconut Stout

This GF 0.5 % ABV stout is a collaboration between the British brewer Big Drop and the Icelandic Einstok beer company. The ingredients include coconut (naturally), cocoa nibs and lactose, together with Magnum hops. But, this being a stout, it is of course not about the hops - it has an IBU (bitterness score) of just 7. So there's no punch in the dry aroma, just a gentle suggestion of things to come. And come they do - Arctic Beach achieves a level of body which can often be lacking in AF beers; this one on the other hand is rich and luxuriant. The sweet taste is a superb balance of dark chocolate and coconut, sitting on a firm roasted malt base. The finish is soft and smooth. Easily one of the best AF beers I've sampled. 

5 / 5

Monday, February 15, 2021

Signature Brew - Lo-Fi Pale Ale

This is a very hazy limited edition 0.5 % ABV pale ale from the London-based brewery Signature Brew which was set up in 2011. It is vegan, uses Simcoe hops and comes in a 330ml can. When poured out the head is very quickly lost. There's a distinctive whiff of grapefruit and the ale tastes of citrus fruits with a slight note of pine running through it. The mouthfeel is on the thin side. Lo-Fi has a crisp sharp finish. Overall I found it one-dimensional, all too much grapefruit character for my liking.

2 / 5

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Lowtide - Who Let The Bees Stout?

Honeycomb and chocolate stout sounds like a match made in heaven to me. This stout is a collaboration between the newly set up Bath-based Lowtide and C84 Brew Co, a relatively long-established Yorkshire brewery. This red tinged black beer supports a short-lived head and the aroma is mostly of sweet honey. WLTBS (!) tastes as it claims - a combination of honey and creamy chocolate. The mouthfeel is luxuriant and the carbonation level is light. The finish is just as if some smooth chocolate has disappeared down the hatch. The ingredients include a range of malts (obviously chocolate and black) and the hops used are Columbus and Goldings. Cacao nibs are listed too, but no mention of honey. How do they manage to create such a honeyed taste and aroma without any actual honey in the mix? A mystery to me. WLTBS is vegan and has an ABV of no more than 0.5 %.

4 / 5

Monday, February 8, 2021

Tiny Rebel - Space Cake Oat Milk Mocha Stout

From Newport in South Wales comes Space Cake, a 0.5% ABV stout in a very psychedelic 330ml can. The richly coloured beige head unfortunately disappears quite quickly, leaving a very dark, near black beer in the glass. There's a rich sweet coffee aroma on the nose. On the palate it has notes of vanilla and caramel but mostly of coffee, albeit slightly burnt coffee. The finish is chocolatey and smooth. There's something of a lack of body to Space Cake but it's certainly worth a trip to your AF shop for and it isn't far out from a higher score. 

3 / 5

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Lowtide - DIPA Toe in

Lowtide is a fairly new AF beer company based in Bath. From their (currently) small range of four beers, this DIPA was their debut offering. All their beers come in 440ml cans, are vegan and have an ABV of no more than 0.5 %. The D in DIPA stands for Double, it's an IPA with more - more hops and more malts and aiming for a bigger hoppy punch. So there are oats, rye, barley and wheat malts together with Moutere, Idaho 7 and Mozart (known to its friends as CF169) hops packed into the brew. On pouring Toe In creates a billowing white topping that clings to the glass all the way down as you drink. The aroma is indeed very strongly tropical. The taste is a pleasing combination of tangerine citrus and malty sweetness. There are also notes of pine and marmalade. The body is rather on the light side and, for me, the beer is rather overcarbonated.The finish is short and sharp. It's a great tasting beer, but let down by the thin mouthfeel. 

3 / 5

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Tiny Rebel - Party Hard

This 0.5% ABV pale ale from the award-winning Newport brewery comes in a 330ml can which touts the following - eye golden, nose citrus/pine and taste mango/citrus. Pouring it into a glass reveals it to be extremely pale and as flat as the proverbial mill pond. Grapefruit is the dominant aroma and likewise the taste. The body is very thin and watery and lacks much carbonation (as suggested by the absence of any head). If this was given to me as a blind tasting I would describe it as a grapefruit flavoured soft drink. The Welsh brewery produce some great beers, but unfortunately this isn't one of them.

1 / 5

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Omnipollo - Nyponsoppa

Omnipollo is a Swedish brewery, based in Stockholm. Nyponsoppa is a sour fruit style of beer, which comes in a 330ml can and is 0.3% ABV. Nyponsoppa is Swedish rosehip soup that is served as either a drink or as a dessert. This brew seems to be packed with the rosehip fruit - it is a vivid orange colour and as opaque as could be. When poured it creates a moderate white head. All in all, it is a very distinctive looking beer. The nose is very floral, with an underpinning of sweetness. Tastewise it is a full-on sour beer. Tartness is the strongest characteristic on display. There is moderation from the sweetness in the fruit, but overall it is a decidedly zesty beer. It stays just this side of too much bitterness. 

3 / 5

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Hammerton - Crunch Peanut Butter Milk Stout

The Islington brewery already produce an alcoholic (5.4%ABV) Crunch and this is their AF (0.5% ABV) version. So it isn't a case of "may contain nuts", the recipe does actually contain peanut. There is also lactose in the beer (hence "milk stout") so it's not a vegan brew. As you pour the beer from the can it develops a lovely tawny head which clings to the glass as you sup. There's definitely a peanut aroma coming to you as you raise the glass, like you've just opened a new jar of the crunchy stuff. The taste is one of roast peanut and sweet maltiness. In fact, it is a very sweet stout and has a smooth mouthfeel with gentle carbonation. An impressive creamy brew, like drinking a Mackeson whilst enjoying a few peanut butter crackers.

4 / 5

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Days - Pale Ale

Oh no, I thought, the dreaded G word on the label; I've had enough grapefruit spritzers to last me a lifetime. goes. Days Brewing is a Scottish AF-only brewery and produce just two beers currently: this pale and a lager. It is described as 0.0% ABV (the small print says not more than 0.05% ABV). In with the Scottish malted barley go the hop varieties Magnum, Herkules and CTZ (otherwise known as Columbus...or Tomahawk...or Zeus). Days say that the brewing involves "a unique double-fermentation process." The beer is vegan. The aroma is sweetly fruity. Now let me tediously list all the words from my tasting notes: soft, caramel, juicy, creamy, malty, citrus, pine, melon and floral. Exactly! No G word. That omission aside, it is a very well-balanced beer with a firm mouthfeel, moderate carbonation and a citrussy finish. Just no G.

5 / 5

Monday, January 18, 2021

Oersoep - Dodgeball Brave Ball IPA

This 0.3% ABV beer comes from the Netherlands and uses Cascade, Mosaic and Citra hops in the mix. It is quite hazy upon pouring and develops a reasonable head of large bubbles as you empty the 330ml bottle into the glass. The aroma is gently fragrant, there is nothing overpowering. Tastewise it is a citrussy blend of grapefruit and orange, with no discernable maltiness. The body is thin and overall it has quite a watery character to it - definitely lacking in this department. The finish is pleasant and has a little sweetness. My theory of beers with Mosaic hops being my favoured brews hasn't lasted long. So now I'm trying a new theory - that beers with big bubbles in the head are not that great. I'll see how that one pans out.

2 / 5

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Kompaan - Stunt Double IPA

Kompaan, are a Dutch craft beer company based in The Hague and brew quite a range of beers, some of which have an ABV closer to a wine. However, Stunt Double comes in at just 0.5% ABV and so gets a place on Beers Without Fears. The mix includes malted barley, wheat, rye and Mosaic hops. The 330ml bottle delivers a rich amber looking beer with a moderate white topping. The cereal ingredients are to the fore on the nose - perhaps akin to a German rye bread. Then when you drink it there's a smooth maltiness, some sweetness and a touch of pine and mango. The body is rather on the thin side and the mouthfeel somewhat watery but the finish is crisp enough. 

3 / 5

Saturday, January 9, 2021

100 Watt - Merry Go Round IPA

Hailing from Eindhoven in the Netherlands, this New England (ie hazy) IPA promises a carousel of flavours on the 33cl bottle label. It comes in at 0.4% ABV and the ingredients are given as malted barley, malted wheat, oatmeal and three varieties of hop: Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe. Upon pouring, the hazy beer creates a lush creamy head that thankfully doesn't disappear. As you lift the glass you are presented with an array of fruity aromas, notably mango, tangerine and pineapple. As to the taste...a carousel indeed! Buttercotch, pine, and tangy tropical fruits with orange to the fore. The mouthfeel is soft but firm and is particularly well-rounded, which is then followed by a refreshing bite in the finish. I'm beginning to develop a theory that my favourite beers tend to have Mosaic hops in them. I shall have to see how much my theory holds up in future imbibing. 

5 / 5

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Omnipollo - Konx Pale Ale

The Swedish brewery Omnipollo are known to me for having collaborated with the Buxton Brewery to produce a rather legendary stout called Yellow Belly. This 0.3% ABV "Mini Pale Ale" comes in a 33cl can and is brewed in Belgium by De Proefbrouwerij. The beer is a rather cloudy yellow and has a decidedly citrussy aroma. The taste is mostly that of grapefruit but with some pineapple sweetness to take the acidic edge off. The body is rather thin, lacking in any support from a malt base and it is lightly carbonated. The finish is quite tarty. Not one I'll be running after again.

2 / 5

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Northern Monk - Super Stredge IPA

Northern Monk, based in Leeds, brew a large range of beers but this is their first truly AF beer, coming in at the traditional 0.5% ABV. It is an IPA and contains Mosaic, Citra and Cascade hops, together with malted barley and oats in the recipe. The brewery describe the beer as "Citrus, Tropical, Refreshing." As you pour it from the can you are presented with just about the palest pale a pale beer can be (up there with Ridgeside Nothing But The Rain which I recently reviewed). The aroma is one of grapefruit. The taste is one of grapefruit. I think the Cascade hop provided the grapefruit aroma, the Citra the grapefruit taste and the Mosaic complexity simply got over-powered. The mouthfeel is rather slight and the finish is crisp. Yes, it is a refreshing beer but I think there's more than enough of this style of beer available and given what Northern Monk come up with I would have hoped for rather more than Super Stredge delivers.

2 / 5


Sunday, December 6, 2020

Big Drop - Firesider Pumpkin Spiced Ale

From the Big Drop Winter Series comes this ale spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. The 0.5% ABV brew is gluten free, contains lactose and is hopped with the very neutral Magnum hop. Toasted malts and warm spices make for a very welcome aroma in the dark days of winter. The body is a little on the thin side but there's just the right amount of life in the mouthfeel to keep it fresh on the palate. The spices are evident in the taste but are not overpowering and they combine smoothly with the sweet malty character of the beer. Overall, it's like supping a brown ale whilst also eating a hot cross bun. A very comforting and easy drinking brew.


Saturday, December 5, 2020

Nittenauer - Lola Coffee Porter

Coffee can be a very overpowering flavour in a beer, there doesn't seem to be much wiggle room between barely detectable and astringent. This German brewery has used Arabica beans roasted in Germany to provide the caffeine hit in this 0.34% ABV porter. From the 330ml bottle comes a rich dark brew topped with a thick beige head. The aroma is like that from a chilled espresso. The taste is a perfect balance of chocolatey sweetness and the bitterness from the coffee. There is a full, rounded mouthfeel and the carbonation is soft. The dry finish sustains...just long enough before you drink some more. 


Friday, December 4, 2020

Big Drop - Kinzig Gateau Stout

The Ipswich brewery has gone for a liquid Black Forest Gateau with this stout, served not on a plate with a fork, but in a 440ml can. It's 0.5% ABV, it is GF but contains lactose so not for the vegan palate. The hop used is the Germany-derived Magnum, a very mild hop, as is indicated by the low IBU score of just 5. Cherry is the dominant aroma and remains so upon tasting, but not the sort of sour cherry one gets with a Belgian fruit beer. There is also a smooth chocolate flavour but I can't really detect any of the (promised) vanilla. Still, it is a very pleasant stout with a sweet profile right through to the finish and aftertaste, as one would expect from a liquid cake. The body is rather slight and the carbonation level is just about right.