It’s January, but I’m not going dry. I don’t think I could face doing that in a national lockdown (Lockdown 3 by my count).
However, with an imminent familial arrival (baby due in a week or so) and the indulgences of Christmas in mind I am going to take it easy.
So, lighter beers only for me. In preparation, I opted for beers from Small Beer Co from Ocado as part of my shopping delivery.
This brewery aims to brew beers with flavour but at a low ABV. The four beers in their range sit between 1 and 2.7%. They say they are the ‘Original’ small beer company solely focused on beers of this strength.
The beers are nicely packaged in brown ‘stubby’ style bottles which are actually 350ml in size. The branding is uniform with different colours for each style of beer. They even go to the trouble of a different coloured bottle cap for each beer. Impressive attention to detail.
The packaging format is unique and stands out, although I do not like the illustrated creepy hand on the label. The ABV is front and centre, along with the style.
As you can see from the image, some bottles seem more generously filled than others, but this mainly resulted in beer being splattered up my arm on opening.
But what about the beers? Well there is a dark lager, pale lager, pale ale and steam beer.
Small Beer Lager 2.1%
There’s no doubt this is Small Beer’s flagship beer and likely out sells the others by far, even if it is less interesting. This pilsner is clean, crisp with a subtle lemon citrus finish. The beer’s body and mouthfeel is helped by oats on the malt bill.
Small Beer Dark Lager 1.0%
It is great to see a dark lager, a style not seen too much in the UK. This may alter many perceptions of dark beer if they gave it a chance. Dark does not mean heavy, and this beer is light, clean with a touch of coffee and chocolate. The dark roasted notes do work with such a low ABV style and I am surprised this is the first time I’ve seen it. A welcome change from all those Christmas beers I enjoyed in the preceding few weeks.
Session Pale 2.5%
The pale is classed as a table beer and is a higher hop content than the other beers in the range and has a noticeable citrus aroma and taste. Not quite up there as The Kernel’s table beer, but still a delicious beer for just 2.5% ABV..
Small Beer Steam 2.7%
This amber beer has a heavier malt character which is one which classic ale lovers may enjoy. Dried fruits and spice from the rye malt are present. Steam beer is a style usually known as California Common and uses a lager yeast fermented at higher temperatures normally used for ales.
All the beers feel well made, with defined characters, good carbonation and tasted great ice cold. I certainly recommend their range of beers for those looking for something lighter but not necessarily non-alcoholic.
Find out more about them at their website, where you can even subscribe to a regular supply of beer to help get you through yet another lockdown without the headache. All beers purchased by Bacchanalian (not samples).