‘small numbers, big results’
Low abv, large flv, that’s what it’s all about for me these days. A new shop has opened up just round the corner from where I work, its name, bottl3.5hop which being a designer I can have a little giggle at. This isn’t a post about them and their brilliant concept (separate post on that soon), this is about a couple of beers they suggested I tried.
Now being an English beer drinker I am no stranger to low alcohol beer and neither will I fall off my chair when I stagger upon a beer that has a low abv and also a load of flavour. But living in Sweden I can’t just pop down to the nearest public house (there isn’t one) and grab myself a lovely pint of flavoursome ale. So what choices do I have, well, I could pop into a bar in town, pay twice as much as you would in England for a pint of ale that is probably too strong in alcohol for what I am after, I could pop to Systembolaget and purchase a few lovely beers but nothing I havn’t tasted before or I could pop to the supermarket and pick up a few of the usual expected session ales on offer… or, pop to bottl3.5shop.
I should probably mention at this point that I am now at an age where the alcohol plays no part whatsoever in my beer drinking decisions, it may sound a little snobby but nowadays it’s all about the flavour. Which is why low alcohol beers packed full of flavour are so interesting to me right now, and is the reason why I found myself chatting to the owner of bottl3.5hop on what beers I should buy for the evenings drinking session in front of yet another IQ repeat.
So here we go:
LEHE BREWERY: little india
The first is an Indian Pale Ale called Väike India (Little India) from a small Estonian brewery called Lehe Brewery. Looking through their portfolio of beers its apparent that these guys like to experiment a little and that really comes across in their names of the beers and also the fun labels they create for them. Happy and colourful which obviously says a lot about the beer you expect to find contained in the bottle. I was a little reluctant to actually purchase this beer, not because it was a low abv beer but because it’s a REALLY low abv beer, rolling in at a staggering 2.7%.
On first pour the beer looked a little murky, kind of a dirty brown colour so I wasn’t expecting too much. I have made a few beers that look like this myself and they have never tasted great, but you have to give the benefit of the doubt on these things. The head was very decent, a nice foam to it that lasted the full glass journey and then came the tasting, and what a very pleasant surprise I got. This beer was full of flavour, and not just the usual low alcohol beer initial kick flavour that fades after one mouthful. This beer kept on giving, swig after swig after swig and the taste remained with you from one to the next.
They mention on their site that they have packed the hops into this one and you can certainly tell. It’s got the familiar taste that you would expect from an IPA but the difference being is that it doesn’t have that alcohol kick to it which in turn makes it a very smooth, drinkable beer indeed. Some good bitter notes with a little citrus aftertaste. All in all a splendid beer from across the little pond.
TASTE: IPA kick without the hangover.
COLOUR: murky BROWN but don”t let that put you off
FIZZ: medium fizz but very smooth
GREAT WITH: big fat burgers, bitterness is enough to cut through the fat
WHERE TO BUY: bottl3.5shop
cervesalapirata: lupulus pirate
The second beer for my nights pleasure is another IPA from the guys at Cervesa la pirata called Lupulus Pirata. Again its a very low abv, this punching in at a knockout 3.0%. And again just like the Estonian number these guys are having some great fun with their beers. The label once again delivers on entertainment value and grab appeal.
The colour of this beer is somewhat more appealing than Little India, more golden in colour, somewhat reflective of what a cliché Spanish beer should look like. Again, a good fluffy head and not too fizzy, managed to cling to the glass for the full journey.
My first swig wasn’t met with unexpected joy and I think this maybe due to only just finishing the previous beer so my tastebuds might have been a little influenced. But on further lip to glass to beer to gullet action this beer certainly began to deliver on the dry hopped process the website claims. Lovely smooth light beer. I love Spanish beers in the summer, they have a somewhat sunny taste to them and this was no exception, trademark characteristics, hoppy kicks and a lovely mellow aftertaste. Yet another great example of a brewery working hard to extract what flavour it can without relying on the alcohol to do the work for them.
TASTE: light and sunny with good hoppy kick.
COLOUR: spanish gold
FIZZ: medium to high fizz
GREAT WITH: the dessert after the burger
WHERE TO BUY: bottl3.5hop
So thats it. If you like your flavourful beers and fancy a night off the alcohol then I really suggest a trip to bottl3.5shop. There really is a need for great low alcohol beers, full of flavour that you can enjoy drinking without running the risk of a dizzy head the following morning.
What’s also great about these low alc beers is that they really pay tribute to the people behind them, anyone can produce a low alc beer with loads of flavour by hopping but it’s finding a great balance that really makes it a great beer, we should be supporting these smaller breweries as it’s these guys that are really spending their hard earned cash and time to bring us something really special.
You can find bottl3.5hhop at Kocksgatan 19 Stockholm