& Union

Sweet and lowdown

We were chatting with one of our customers on Twitter yesterday about his need to find great lower-ABV (<4%) beers, and the sheer range of great-tasting low or no-alcohol beers out there made us think it would be a great topic for a blog post. Voila!.

We started getting a lot of requests for low/no alcohol beers from people in the final days of 2014 as they prepared to put down the pint glass for Dry January. (The fact most of them were back on to the 8% DIPAs by mid-Jan is naturally of no consequence here.) We duly expanded our range, assuming it'd be a January thing but we continue to see huge demand.

For some, such as our Twitter friend,  it's medical reasons; others are expectant mums after a refreshing drop, runners in training for a marathon, or folk who want to sink a few and still remember how to get home. But you don't need a reason to go low. Here are some of our favourite beers from the smaller end of the scale. 

 

  • The Kernel Table Beer, 3.2% - The ABV of this classic varies slightly according to the recipe but always hovers around the 3% mark. It's a much-lauded, truly outstanding beer that almost beggars belief as to how they continuously pack so much flavour into such a small beer. One of our best-selling beers and deservedly so.
  • Wiper & True Small Beer #10, 2.6% - We love this great Bristol brewery, and try to ensure we always have one of their Small Beers on shelf. Currently we're showcasing #10 - a hop-packed pale ale with citrus, papaya and floral notes.
  • Siren Craft Brew Half Mast Quarter IPA, 2.8% - Last summer, before we had a shop, when we still had a social life, we drank this glorious seasonal from the moment we discovered it until the day we drank it dry. Our "I can't believe it's not 6%" beer. It is possibly the perfect summer drink - lashings of grapefruit and mango in a beer so refreshing you could drink it all day, and at just 2.8% you probably could. (In moderation, natch.)
  • Gipsy Hill Beatnik Pale Ale, 3.8% - We couldn't not mention Beatnik in this line-up. This "iconoclastically fruity" drop is our best-selling beer on flagon-fill and a fantastic proof point of Gipsy Hill's mission to create sessionable beers that don't skimp on flavour.
  • Weird Beard Black Perle Coffee Milk Stout, 3.8% - Another great beer proudly belying its <4% status. Massive amounts of flavour in this extremely drinkable light stout. A beer to be enjoyed with breakfast, lunch, dessert or any time really.
  • & Union Der Graf Von Bavaria, 0.4% - OK, so this probably won't be the best beer you've ever drunk, but we'll wager it's one of the best alcohol-free beers you'll try. The makers of this Bavarian wheat beer claim that its isotonic properties also make it the perfect sports drink, something we can't corroborate as we don't do any sports. Regardless, it's an extremely worthy contender for what should go in your basket "when you care but you can't drink beer". 

Apologies to the other wonderful low-ABV beers out there we didn't have room to mention. We've got many more in store - ask us to point them out to you next time you're in.

New stuff in store: 23 April

It's another beer-valanche of amazingness this week. Bullet points don't do this lot justice but we'll try our best:

  • Our best-selling Mikkeller beers! Now in giant 500ml cans! At an insanely good price!
  • An exciting new To Ol and Naparbier collaboration - the Sai-Kaki-Son saison! We can't wait to try this one from these two exceptional European breweries.
  • A tasty new summer brew from our neighbours at Brick Brewery - look out for the Hefeweizen, with its fetching lemon-yellow label.
  • Brew By Numbers Nut Brown Ale is back - and if you're quick you can also pick up a BBNO Rastal glass to enjoy it and the rest of the BBNO range in.
  • Fourpure's new limited edition saison, Roux 2015, brewed with Michel Roux Jr hits shelves tomorrow.
  • We introduced One Mile End Brewery to HB&B last week and it's been so enormously popular that we've restocked and extended the range. New in, their Ancho Cocoa Porter - brewed with ancho chillies. (You know we're a sucker for anything chilli...)
  • New brewery klaxon! We've jazzed up our German section with the addition of & Union, a range of eminently drinkable Bavarian lagers and ales. Check out these deliciously colourful beers nestled next to the fridges...
  • You wanted more Tempest - we've got it. Newly rebranded and now in 330ml bottles, we've got shedloads of this always-sublime beer. Look for it, as always, on our well-stocked Scottish shelves. (Hey, HB&B is run by a Ferguson and a Williams - our love for all things Scottish is in our blood...)
  • And saving the best til last (according to Ratebeer at least) - in Burning Sky news, 750ml Cuvee bottle joins the 330ml Saison a la Provision.  Treat yourself - you're worth it.

Finally, in non-beer-related news, we've still got some fantastic vintage vinyl waiting to be snapped up from all the  stock we brought out for Record Store Day. The Smiths, Joy Division, The Breeders, The Cure, Joni Mitchell, The Fall, The Beatles, Beastie Boys, Michael Jackson, Isaac Hayes, Bobby Womack... Gloriousness awaits.