November 17, 2020

Alcohol-Free Beers (Part Fifteen)

(View previous instalments here)

Back in August I said “It’s probably going to be a while before the next batch of reviews” and apparently I was bang-on about that. However I have managed to obtain a few new beers for reviewing, so here we go!

Veltin’s Pilsner

Back in August it was still permitted to do such things as meet your mum in a pub in the Yorkshire Dales for lunch and a pint, which seems quaint in hindsight but there you go. This was the only alcohol-free beer that the pub had on offer, and it was a fantastic offering too. It’s a clear, amber pilsner with an absolutely beautiful head, a luscious aroma, and only a tiny hint of unfermented wortiness which was not enough to mar a delightful flavour. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. I’m not expecting to see this beer ever again, but if I do, I’ll snap it up in a heartbeat.

Solo Pilsner (West Berkshire Brewery)

I felt a little tricked by this beer. Many many years ago I had a bad experience with a beer from West Berkshire Brewery, and resolved to never buy their beers again. Not in a vehement boycotty sort of way, but just in a “I’d rather not take the risk” kind of way. I bought this beer from a local independent garden centre and it wasn’t until I got it home that I noticed the subtle brewery branding.

The beer itself has a decent head, but has a bit of the signature smell of cheap house party piss lager, and tastes a bit like it too. That said, it has a respectable body and the flavours are appeallingly bold and creamy, so even though I’d normally squarely put it in the category of “not my preferred type of beer”, it actually is on the cusp of being, dare I say it, enjoyable, so it comfortably evades the “zero pint” score category.

Hambleton Point Five

The head on this one dissipated within seconds, it’s a miracle that I managed to capture it in the photograph at all. It bubbles away like coca-cola instead. The smell of this one is fairly inert (and yes, I know what you’re thinking, and no, I don’t think I have COVID). It’s got some sharp and metallic flavours, but only mildly, and for the most part it’s a reasonably unobjectionable and unremarkable pale ale.

Saint Etienne

Karen picked up this beer from Aldi for me. It poured quite bubbly and did go flat fairly quickly. However it has a lovely refreshing smell, and the flavour is very impressive, a little bit malty and grainy and a little floral but with no detectable flavours of unfermented wort or off-flavours. I’d happily have this one again, and it also represents exceptional value for money.

So there we have it, four reasonably positive reviews, not a single one of them a stinker. Part ten, back in February, was the last time that we had such a great batch.


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