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This month’s selection box from AFBeerClub containeds eight alcohol-free beers for me to review. Here’s the final four of them:
UWE – Stereo Pils
This beer has a very pleasing pale amber colour and a nice thick head. Initial sniff test yielded a certain breadiness in the aroma. The flavour is pretty good, it reminds me of a slightly less fruity version of Maisel. This is another one of those beers that gives you one of those jaw-dropping “wow, can this really be alcohol-free?” moments. Karen also had a little sip, and whereas she usually pulls a very specific face after having a sip of beer, on this occasion she did not, which leads me to think that this might also have appeal amongst those who are not usually beer drinkers.
Tiny Rebel – Rhubarb and Custard
This drink poured a very pale pink, which is not a colour that one normally finds on the beer spectrum. There’s no head whatsoever, but it does bubble awake cheerfully. No surprises in the smell – it’s an exact match for what the title has invoked in your imagination. I was a little disappointed in the flavour, in that I was hoping for something that intertwines some rhubarbcustardiness into a beer, but in fact the flavour is all rhubarbcustard and no beer. I find myself questioning the role of the conventional beer ingredients in this beverage at all. That said, if you like the sound of a rhubarby drink, you’ll probably like this, but calling it “beer” is a bit of a misdirection.
Lowtide – DIPA Toe In
This beer pours a cloudy dark amber colour with nice chunky head. The smell instantly evokes a beer festival, those pungent fruity ales which knock your socks off. The flavour follows through on his promise, ripe and full-bodied and invoking the good old days when we went to pubs and such like.
Hammerton – “Crunch” Peanut Butter Milk Stout
I saved this for last as I had really high hopes, as I do like a dark beer with a twist. It passed the first test, which is the pour, by means of a good viscosity and a creamy head. The second test, the smell test, was a little less impressive, as I only detected a relatively small amount of peanuttiness, but a lot of biscuitiness. And test three, the sip, was sadly a bit disappointing. I was hoping for the peanut flavour to be blended into the drink in a smooth and creamy fashion, but it didn’t quite hit that spot, and it ended up just being a fairly thin-flavoured stout with a weird and disintegrated nut layer. To be honest, I’m not even sure that I’d purchase this for the occasional novelty experience. That said, it’s not revolting, and I wouldn’t steer people away from giving it a try if they like the sound of it.