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Happy New Year Everyone!
This year so far doesn’t feel too dissimilar from the last… but even so, I’m really glad to see the back of 2020! And if you’re anything like me, you celebrated the passing of the year by indulging (some would say over-indulging, but those people are spoil-sports and we shouldn’t listen to them). As my liver (and bank balance) recover, I’m drinking lighter, but low abv doesn’t mean that your tipples have to be lacking in flavour! In this spirit, this month’s staff picks are some of our low-alcohol bangers:
Steep Apple Soda 0% £2
Local, handmade, smallbatch craft soda, made with fresh and ethical ingredients. This little company started in Liam and Laura’s kitchen, but they are now based under the archways by Piccadilly (where many of Manchester’s craft breweries are). Their focus on craft and quality make these sodas a little more grown up than your average pop! This one is one of their seasonal recipes – naturally cloudy, with lovely delicate apple flavour. It tastes lovely on its own, just with ice (but I promise I won’t tell if you fancy having it with gin and a squeeze of lime 😉)
Josef Chromy Delikat Riesling 6.5% £21
Josef Chromy are based on the island of Tasmania, off the coast of Australia. Their vineyards are much cooler than ones based on the mainland, and the low temperatures produce grapes with crisp and sharp flavours. Their modern winery is state-of-art, so they can carefully control fermentation to preserve the delicate and beautiful quality of their grapes. For this wine, they halted fermentation to retain the fruit’s natural sweetness (which is also why this wine has such a low abv.) Delicate sweetness with crisp acidity. Flavours of rose petal, jasmine, citrus fruit and notes of fennel. One to try if you like German riesling (particularly mosel), but fancy something different.
Casal Mendes Vinho Verde 10% £9
Vinho Verde comes from Northern Portugal. It’s name translates literally to ‘green wine’, with ‘green’ referring to its youth rather than its colour, typically being released by the winery 3-6 months after harvest. This youth also creates the slight pettilance found in many white vinho verde – some malo-lactic fermentation takes place after bottling, creating the light fizz. This one from Casal Mendes has flavours of delicate citrus, apple, florals and soft tropical notes, with resh acidity and the classic light spritz.
Sharpham Estate Pinot Noir 11.5% £22
Sharpham Estate is in sunny Devon, with their vineyards on the gentle slopes leading to the River Dart. The sunny aspect and closeness to the water temper the brisk English temperatures, allowing the vines to grow. This young Red is light, with typical Pinot Noir earthy notes, but is also bursting with juicy cherries and wild strawberries, with lovely soft tannins and spicy, clovey notes.
Burning Sky Petite Saison 3.5% £4.40
This is one of Rach’s faves, so it might not be on the shelves for long! This mixed fermentation saison is a light and easy drinking small beer, but it packs a powerfully flavourful punch! Barrel aged for a few months and then dry hopped, this delicate beer is lightly tart, with complex notes of fresh coriander, pink peppercorn and lemon sherbert.
Schöfferhofer 2.5% £2.40
Classic. Legendary. Breathtaking. The absolute banger that is The Schöff. It’s a refreshing german weissbier blended with sweet and sharp grapefruit juice. 2.5% abv, 100% delicious. Totally acceptable as a breakfast beer.
Yonder Loop Raspberry & Sweet Cicely 4.5% £9
Yonder are a modern farmhouse brewery and blendery based in Somerset who specialize in producing mixed fermentation beers, often with locally foraged ingredients. Their Loop beers are part of a never-ending series of tart wheat beers – the yeast for the last brew is re-used for the next beer (think of it like sourdough bread). This one features tart and fragrant British raspberries and a sweet anise note of foraged Sweet Cicely (a herb traditionally used to sweeten preserves and jams).
Schneider Weiss Alkoholfreies Tap 3 <0.5% £2.10
This is the beeriest not-beer I’ve ever tried (if that makes any sense?) If you’re a fan of German wheat-beers, you’ll be surprised by how close this is to the real thing. It pours with a spectacular, pillowy head (a rare thing in the alcohol-free beer market), and it has the rich and full body of its alcohol-full cousins. Flavours and aromas of herbs, caramel, and unripe banana, with a refreshing and lightly bitter finish.
Happy new new (fingers crossed).
Lots of love,
Tiny’s Crew x