According to an article in The Times last week, Sales of alcohol-free beer have jumped by 27 per cent over the past year, making it the fastest-growing part of the drinks market. It add that Sales of beer with an alcohol strength of between 0.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent were up 16 per cent over the same period, before saying grimly that the fastest growing beer brand in the UK was ‘low-alcohol Bud Light’. Now I’m not one to nit-pick , ok, not wait, I am one to nit-pick when someone is talking bollocks, and at 4.2% Bud Light is not a ‘low alcohol’ beer. The ‘Light’ bit refers to calories not alcohol.
But anyway, this has fitted in well with my planned tasting over the next few weeks of what is going on with non-alcohol (0-o.5%) beers. Let’s begin the search for the perfect non-alcohol beer(s)
First up …
St Peter’s – Without Original
St. Peter’s is an independent brewery founded in 1996 by John Murphy in former agricultural buildings adjacent to St. Peter’s Hall in Bungay, Suffolk. They do a sloid core range of beers and are probably as well known for their distinctive 500ml bottles.
On the non-alcohol side of things, they produce three beers
- St Peter’s – Without Original
- St Peter’s – Without Organic
- St Peter’s – Without Gold
According to St Peter’s this beer is “A delicious alcohol free, full-bodied ale, that’s dark amber in colour. It boasts a rich and malty taste that is bursting with lasting flavour, followed by a refreshing and delicate bitterness.”
There is no denying this is a nice amber beer. Good head. Quite frankly this looks the part.
Taste and Smell:
You know that smell you get when you walk past a brewery – that big wort bready hit? That’s the smell off this beer. I don’t mind that smell as I walk past a brewery, I am less keen on it in a finished product. It is rather off-putting and hard to avoid when drinking this beer.
That sweet wort continues once you start drinking this beer. It has a good body, nice lacing as you drink it, and there is a reasonable bitterness in there too, but none of this really balances out or blots out the wortiness, which starts to become more and more Horlicks-like as you go on.
I presume when they say ‘rich and malty taste that is bursting with lasting flavour’ they mean the overpowering wort / night-time malt drink flavour. I’ll be honest it wasn’t the lasting flavour I really wanted. We can do better than this …PLEASE. This will not be going through to the judge’s house stage.