Booze free beer: Sobah Pepperberry IPA & Big Drop Brewing Pine Trail Pale Ale

Catching up from last night's brews that Holly and I shared. These were both excellent.

The Sobah one had a bit of an odd smell from the pepperberry but that's a feature of their brews, Australian native ingredients. The taste was quite different though, strong malt and fruit. A really interesting brew, I'd drink this again.

Holly scored the Pine Trail Pale Ale but I got a sip. Delicious, a solid entrant with enough body to satisfy. Definitely worthwhile this one.

Booze free beer: UpFlow Session IPA and Flint Sukareki (сухариків)

Wow this IPA is the business! Fruity hop aroma. Deep bitterness. Body and malt. This is the benchmark now! There's a few other UpFlow brews in the cupboard so I'm looking forward to those now.

Also nibbling on some Ukrainian snacks. Sukareki are toasted black bread with flavourings and they're totally delicious! Perfect with beer. These ones are spicy tomato flavour and they definitely carry a kick. Nom.

Booze free beer: Mornington Free

This describes itself as a "Non-Alc Pale Ale". I'm not sure it hits the notes I'd expect from a pale ale. Not enough body. However it's quite refreshing, light flavoured without being incipid. Perfect when the temperature is 33 degrees like right now. A good Summer brew.

Booze free beer: Eggenberg Freibier

This Austrian number gets the take on lager right. Heavy, metallic bittering hops and a rich maltiness.

Lager is hard to get right with alcohol but without its super tough. This one nails it. I'd drink this happily.

Booze free beer: Big Drop Brewing Uptown Craft Lager

Being a lager, this isn't going for the fruity delights of a pale ale or similar. To survive being alcohol free a lager has to make up for the lack of body somehow.

This one tries to make do with some heft hops and a bit of malty body but it still has that thinness and a hint of the standard commercial booze free beers.

It's not bad but for my tastes lager is always going to fall flat without alcohol. A good effort but it's a tough gig.

Booze free beer: Ochakovskiy kvass (Очаковский квас)

I rode to Bondi Beach yesterday for a nice leisurely swim in the hot weather. I try to do this ride once a week leaving early on Tuesday mornings but the weather in 2021 hasn't been helpful. It's a really lovely ride with a single challenging hill in Waverley and the enticement of a swim at the end.

Normally I'm riding too early so whenever I do the ride late enough I drop in to the Russian deli on the way back up the hill. Yesterday was a late ride so I popped in to pick up some Eastern European delights. I got a big loaf of black caraway bread, some salted herring fillets and a couple of big bottles of kvass, perfect for my booze free month.

Kvass is an interesting drink made from fermented rye bread, popular in the former Soviet states and some of Eastern Europe. On a hot day it's a really delightful refreshing drink. I remember having a glass at a market in Riga on a hot day in July and it being such a great way to cool down.

I discovered Kvass from a couple of Russiaphile friends and have been in love with it ever since. It's not really a beer though but something different. Still a satisfying cold drink.
This brand, Очаковский, was recommended by the woman in the shop. They have a few brands so I needed some help.

One of these days I'm going to drive over with a freezer bag so I can pick up some of the bags of pelmeni they stock too. Yum.

Booze free beer: Kronenbourg Blanc

Kronenbourg is a terrible beer that was available everywhere in the UK when we lived there. It's bloody awful stuff, but still better than the equally ubiquitous Fosters. Once we discovered Real Ale though, we avoided this garbage.

The zero alcohol one here is weird. It's got something citrus going on in there. It's trying to be a "wheat beer with a taste of citrus" but the citrus doesn't taste like the real deal. It's an artificial flavouring would be my guess.

The underlying beer isn't too bad. The best way I'd describe it is like a good tea being ruined with bergamot to make Earl Gray. You can taste the two things separately in the palette.

A lot of these alcohol free beers go for the wheat option. They're generally lighter anyway and often have fruity esters that give some body. This one wouldn't be bad if they removed the citrus. Punters could always add their own at serving time.

Update: I tipped this one out. It was awful.