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Alcohol-free beers to see you through Sober October

So, summer has gone, the days are getting colder and that thing called rain seems to be happening again. Socialising is getting harder, the waistline may be getting bigger and the weekly beer has become the nightly beer.

And if that is not bad enough, we are in Sober October and for some, full pub lockdown. If all this leaves you longing for a beer, take heart – the new breed of alcohol-free beers is riding to the rescue.

Today we are reviewing some of the finest alcohol-free beers on the market, so come with me and let’s cast off these Lockdown blues and see how we can support hospitality whilst staying true to Sober October.

Ilkley brewery, West Yorkshire – The Virgin Mary pale ale

The Virgin Mary is an alcohol-free version of one of the most popular beers from this brewery, the Mary Jane. If you are looking for an easy drink, this is for you. The Virgin Mary pale ale is alcohol free at 0.5%. The simplistic-looking bottle gives you the information on hops and malt, but also reminds you that even a ripe banana has 0.5% alcohol in it! On the nose, Mary Jane is light and crisp. Poured into the glass it gives an amazing head flavour and looks vibrant with its pale amber colour. This player is perfectly suited to Friday night curries.

Lowlander Brewery, Amsterdam – Lowlander WIT

This brewery has managed to create the lowlander 0.00% WIT beer brewed with reclaimed orange and lemon peel. My favourite of the three tasted, not least because of the story behind it. On the nose the citrus is intense, giving way to the smell of freshly baked bread and hay. Then on the palate, its flavours come alive dancing across your tongue, the orange and lemon perfectly complementing the beer.

In the glass you see the exquisite bubbles rising softly. This beer is perfect for one of those balmy summers nights, but since we have no more of these, how about I recommend that you try this with a brilliant fish dish or maybe a salad (remember the diet). The hops are a closely-guarded secret, but the lemon and orange peels that they use in this beer are actually reclaimed from hospitality venues across the Netherlands.

The Big Drop Brewery, Ipswich – Galactic milk stout

This brewery has pioneered the non-alcoholic beer range with its delectable brews and has a wide range of non-alcoholic beers. I’m not a big stout drinker but was intrigued by this one and it didn’t disappoint.

The Galactic milk stout which is 0.5% has an intriguing nose – you can smell coffee, tobacco, and cacao. When poured into a glass it does carry ahead but does not really remain too long. The taste is everything you would expect from a stout slightly lighter than its Irish cousin, Guinness, but still having a full body.

The flavours blend well on your palate whilst still being able to taste the dimensions. The coffee richness really comes through this beer which would be perfect drunk after dinner paired with a chocolate cake.

Hank Hughes-Lundy
Hank has a wealth of experience and knowledge in Hospitality, specialising in the drinks sector. He runs a consultancy business, Big H Hospitality and is a hospitality tutor for Barfection, enthusing our next generation. You will always find him in the kitchen at parties mixing a mean cocktail.

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