I’ve written a lot about BrewDog recently, so I thought it appropriate to actually take a look at one of their products. But not one of the usual suspects. Oh no. That would be dull. I’m going for the low alcohol beer introduced in the wake of the furore around high ABV monster Sink the Bismark, aptly named Nanny State.
This isn’t an alcohol free beer, strictly speaking. 0.5% ABV but described as “Alcohol Free Hoppy Ale” – so no specific style it’s trying to replicate.
It’s a dark amber in colour and the smell is strange – it’s the first beer I’ve ever had that smells exactly like raw hops. If you ripped open a bag of Centennial and just shoved your head into it – twigs up your nose and green lupulin powder in your eyes – that’s what this beer smells like.
The flavour is a little harder to put into words, not because of it’s depth of flavour or unusual notes, but because it’s so bloody awful I want to tip it down the sink immediately.
If I had to pick one word to describe it, it would be “watery”. The mouthfeel is as thin as water, which I suppose is to be expected to an extent, with not a lot in it to bulk it up. The carbonation is quick to leave, probably wanting nothing to do with the stuff, meaning the beer feels exactly like water in the mouth.
It tastes like it too, initially, before a massive wave of uber-bitter elderflower scrapes the back of the tongue and leaves as quickly as it came about. It doesn’t taste like hops do in beer, but more like what I’d expect them to taste like in tepid water.
There’s a faint flavour I can only describe as “brown” too. It might be malt flavours, but without the body and carbonation and with so much raw hop oil floating about, I’ll never be able to tell.
Hop tea would be a better description for Nanny State I think. Surely not all low alcohol beer can be like this?