THE SUPER TASTY LOW-ALC LOW-DOWN

Have you set yourself some hefty new year’s resolutions? No beers, say it isn’t so!! But seriously, if you’re keen to be more health conscious with lowering the amount of alcohol, with the increase in demand to drink in moderation there has been an explosion of low alcohol and non alcoholic craft beers on the market. Now there are some great options so you can still enjoy a social session, tick off those resolutions and be set for a healthy start for the new year.

The trend towards mindful drinking or being more health conscious and choosing to simply drink less alcohol has been growing in Australia and the rest of the world in recent years. The issue previously has been that low alcoholic beer often tasted terrible. Where’s the craft in that? 

Enjoying a few cold ones is undoubtedly ingrained as part of the Aussie culture. And even if Aussies are choosing to drink less, culturally at get-togethers we typically like to have a cold one in hand – even if it’s just to keep hydrated in the Australian Summer. Given there are only so many sodas you can have, with this swing in the market and shifting mindsets, many brewers have been passionate about creating flavourful beers with low alcohol or even alcohol-free levels to suit this growing demand.

Science of Sobriety
ABV stands for Alcohol By Volume and is the most common measurement of alcohol content in beer and simply indicates how much of the total volume of liquid in a beer is made up of alcohol. Low alcohol brews are classified as non-alcoholic beer when they have fewer than 0.5% ABV.

Alcohol-Free Yeah-Nah
Yep, that’s right alcohol free beer does contain a small amount of alcohol! This is because some alcohol naturally forms as part of the brewing process.  To achieve less than 0.5% ABV, there are different processes available to breweries for dealcoholisation. 

Brewers can opt to take the alcohol out of regular beer at boiling point, known as steam distillation, but this can have a negative impact on the flavour of the beer. Brewers can alternatively use specialised yeast strains that do not produce alcohol at the end of the fermentation process or cease to when they reach 0.5 ABV, or even by limiting fermenting sugars. An alternative is to use a vacuum distilling process as it has far less intensity than the heat of a boiling process and has much less impact on the final brew. Breweries are experimenting with natural raw materials, hops, grains and yeasts to create tasty options versus previous mass produced main stream diluted beers.

Low Alcohol Brews On The Rise
As sales of alcohol-free beers have continued to rise in Australia, the community has embraced these health-conscious beverage options across all demographics. Perhaps you are unable to mix alcohol with current medication, be pregnant or maybe you want to be tip-top for a morning surf, or perhaps you simply want to keep the kilos off after Christmas– whatever the reason–there are now some good drops on the market for you to explore.

ABV is not only the measurement of alcohol strength it is also seen as a number that may help you indicate how strong that beverage might taste in terms of alcohol content and the brew’s overall flavour profile. Therefore, as brews take on lower levels of alcohol, brewers have been rising to the challenge to improve the zero alcohol beer flavour options in this growing beverage category.

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Your Crafty Guide To Low Alcohol Craft Beers

With so many alcohol free and ultra low alcohol beers entering the beer market, it can be hard to know where to start. So, we’ve taken the hard work out of the low-alc and alc-free challenge and tasted a range of low alcohol and alcohol free beverages for you! We’ve kept our focus as always on taste and the brewing process. Because let’s face it, if we are moving away from a regular beer, we are mindful we still want our craft beer to taste–well–crafty! 

In this craft beer journey, we step away from a full-strength beer and have tasted a range of low alcoholic beverages on your behalf. (Yes, it’s a tough grueling mission tasting beer for a living at the Craft Cartel!) 

We get it. You want a big drop in alcohol but not the flavour profile. After all, you’re not after a bloody soft drink, so through our dedicated tasting processes we’ve discovered the best full bodied, low alcohol beer alternatives with low alcohol by volume or non alcoholic drinks to guide you throughout the Aussie summer.

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Sidewinder Hazy Pale
For Full Flavour Without Compromise

Here is our top pick. The Sidewinder Hazy Pale this crafty is a beauty from Brick Lane Brewing. Delivering a fresh golden haze, full-bodied with a smooth mouthfeel that quenches the thirst and hits the spot – without the calories or high alcohol! 

The Sidewinder Hazy Pale is made from three North American hops (Centennial, Mosaic, and Citra) and five sorts of grain, that have been masterfully balanced during the fermentation process to maintain low alcohol levels and yet also keeping the flavour profile top of mind. Fruity esters translate to juicy tropical notes of peach, apricot, mango, and lychee that burst through giving ultimate flavour without compromise. Super tasty, super juicy. The result is a beer full of refined flavours whilst keeping the ABV down.

The Sidewinder series is named after the boats from the 1970s symbolising freedom and living life to the full without restraint, which is echoed in the retro themed tinnie design that sings of summer sessions. The crafty team of brewers at Brick Lane, have not re-engineered a standard alcoholic craft beer at the end of the brewing process (a sure way to lose flavour), rather they’ve set out from the start with raw materials in order to brew a low alc hazy that is vibrant, zippy and refreshing without a trade-off on the flavour. So, you can still enjoy the freedom of full flavour without compromise. And that is why it is our top pick!

Brick Lane Sidewinder Hazy Pale

  • BREWED BY BRICK LANE BREWING
  • PALE
  • ABV: 1.1%
  • 375ML CAN

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TASTING NOTES

Sidewinder Hazy Pale delivers a beautifully fresh golden haze, full body and smooth mouthfeel. Fruity esters leap from the glass with juicy tropical notes of peach, apricot, mango and lychee. Terrific low alcohol option.

BREWERY SNAPSHOT

The Brick Lane Brewing community began when 25 friends united over a plan to do things differently. Armed with a unifying purpose, a vision and a set of values designed to benefit their patrons, they went to work. Their commitment is to continually push brewing boundaries to deliver beer that will often surprise and always delight.

DID YOU KNOW?

Brick Lane is a brewery so state-of-the-art it could do justice to centuries-old brewing techniques, yet produce a beer for today’s standards.

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More Free Time This Summer

Summer is the time we stop and reflect, but heck it often means back-to-back get-togethers and barbeques during the sunny weather. So, if you’re hankering for some free time, or to reduce the back-to-back effects of lots of sessions, we recommend the non alc option from Bridge Road Brewers with their Free Time Pale Ale.Free Time Pale Ale is a great non-alcoholic option that has been developed and refined over two years. The team at Bridge Road Brewers have been passionate about this category, embracing positive change and the enjoyment that these non alc beers can bring to craft beer drinkers. This Pale packs a flavour punch.A real point of difference to the beer market is that their brew Free Time is completely brewed and pasteurized in-house. With this tinnie in hand, you’ll enjoy a vibrant, juicy hop aroma from new world combination of Citra, Enima and Simcoe, with low bitterness, and a clean finish with hints of mandarin, melon and lychee on the palate.Free Time gives craft beer drinkers the freedom to enjoy a beer with everything you’ve come to expect from a Bridge Road product, except the alcohol! Trust us you’ll be glad you found Free Time and feel all the better for it.

Bridge Road Free Time (Alcohol Free) Pale Ale

  • BREWED BY BRIDGE ROAD BREWERS
  • PALE ALE
  • ABV: 0.3%
  • 355ML CANS

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TASTING NOTES

Free Time‘ is a non-alcoholic option that they have been developing and refining for two years. Bridge road is passionate about this category and embracing the positive change and enjoyment that it can bring to craft beer drinkers. They use their brewing know-how to craft this pale ale with everything you’ve come to expect from a Bridge Road product. Except the alcohol! With a vibrant, juicy hop aroma, low bitterness and a clean finish, you’ll be glad you found Free Time.

BREWERY SNAPSHOT

Conceived by Ben Kraus in his dad’s back shed in 2005, Bridge Road Brewers has grown to become one of Australia’s best craft breweries. In their hometown of Beechworth they are constantly developing new recipes to satisfy the curiosity of themselves and their customers.

DID YOU KNOW?

Bridge Road Brewers embraces traditional brewing techniques, all their beers are brewed naturally, without pasteurisation, or preservatives.

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A Golden Non-Alc Go-To

Another top choice for a full-bodied non-alc Pale Ale is Mornington Free. Brewed using a unique recipe and a special yeast to produce esters for a hops profile of bold passionfruit and citrus aroma. These bold flavours combine for an excellent fruit forward drop that makes for an easy transition to non-acoholic beer. In the glass, this brew pours a light golden colour and is a deliciously easy-going beer both balanced and refreshing. Perfect for Summer or as a go-to beer for when you’ve just finished mowing the lawn, but the chores aren’t completely over for the day!

Mornington Free Non-Alc Pale Ale

  • BREWED BY MORNINGTON PENINSULA BREWERY
  • PALE ALE
  • ABV: 0.5%
  • 375ML CAN

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TASTING NOTES

Mornington Free is a non-alcoholic Pale Ale brewed with a unique recipe to ferment to less than 0.5% ABV while retaining full-bodied taste and bold passionfruit and citrus aromas. Pouring light golden, this deliciously easy-going beer is balanced and refreshing.

BREWERY SNAPSHOT

Matt Bebe and Malcom McLean were celebrating Hawthorn’s 2008 Premiership when talk turned to beer and breweries and long into the night, the euphoric pair discussed grand visions for a new brewery.  Their vision was to start a brewery based on tradition, industry and honesty that identifies with the Mornington Peninsula’s heritage of epicurean and leisure opportunities.

DID YOU KNOW?

At a meeting in February 2009, an industry stalwart advised the guys to contract brew first and create a market. Despite that being the easier option, it didn’t sit with the brewery motto: “Be true to the beer & those who drink it.” So, it was very lucky and a great relief to find another 16 like-minded beer lovers who were  keen to share the dream (and turn up for working bees to prepare the factory for fit out).

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So, there you have it, if your keen to explore some health conscious options – we’ve gotcha covered with 3 top brews as an introduction to the low alcohol and alcohol free category that won’t disappoint with a top notch flavour profile that won’t disappoint the regular alcoholic craft beer lover!

Top 5 Reasons to Try Low Alcohol and Alcohol Free Beer

Here are our top 5 reasons to try a mindful low alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink along your craft beer journey. 
1. Enjoy a great crafty flavour without the hangover!
2. Savour a cold one with fewer calories
3. Stay hydrated longer with less or no alcohol included
4. Improve your performance (dusk or dawn – for surfing we mean!)
5. Connection with culture & fun for your taste buds

Let us know what you think!

Tag us @craft_cartel_liquor
Use the hashtag #craftcartelbrewreview

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