Not sure if this counts as a beer review in one sense, but it is by Brewdog and they are usually anything but normal and expected and so I feel that it is fine to be reviewing it as an ale. Besides, the Christmas season was full of heavy ales and big sessions so it is perhaps more fitting that I try something a little less heavy in order to recover. You never know, as we pootle about this New Year in which we find ourselves, you may find yourself needing a slow down.
So it is that I am reviewing Nanny State for lunch. Hence the odd picture of my DVD collection below (they are stacked next to my chair). Actually, some of those... most of those are Anna's.
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This is definitely a tongue-in-cheek attempt at low alcohol content ale whilst still being brewed by the nutters that Brewdog are. And I was sufficiently interested to have a pop and see what lay beneath. On opening it certainly smelled effective and very much like the sort of ale that one would expect from this brewery. On pouring I was struck by the depth of the colour and the definite smell of hops, very fruity and full without veering off into harsh citrus or boring spice or just whiffing of fruit. It was a good smell and the pour was moderately fizzy, it showed definite additional carbonation but then one would have expected that given the exceedingly low level of alcohol within the brew. Not much in the way of a head, as one would expect, but frothy enough to make it seem an awful lot like normal ale. So far so good.
There was something of the tropics about this one and the first sip is indeed a hop boom of that variety. For a moment you would be forgiven for thinking you were about to taste something like Citra (here) or Inifinity (here) as that is the sort of taste one gets. Fresh, full and with that oddly light-headed sort of feel to it all. However, this blows through pretty rapidly and then just seems faintly out of place as the malt kicks through and is a little like what one expects of a shandy or some form of undeveloped bedding. It reminds me of the faint disappointment I had when tasting some shandy not long after Anna got ill, it had been a staple drink when I was a Scout back in the day and so I was actually looking forward to it. Alas, the remaining cans linger in the pantry and are likely to remain there for some time before they go off and we throw them out or someone else pops by and fancies a shandy. This was doubly upsetting given the care and attention that has clearly gone into the hops for this offering. Unlike the shandy, however, there is something to this that makes you keep going. And that's the key, after a few more sips the malt begins to build up in the mouth so that it doesn't seem the same and by about half way through the whole thing really begins to come together.
I am impressed. Brewdog have managed to make a shandy, essentially, that has a depth of taste to it and a decent enough feel to it that one does not feel short-changed by having it instead of a proper brew. I mean, obviously it lacks any kind of punch and obviously I don't believe it will replace an ale with a higher ABV but, by the same token, this went well with lunch and would allow me to have an ale whilst at work, say, without the fear of being drunk afterward.
Enjoy this as part of a healthy working lunch either down the bar or out in the open air or in an eating room. Have with friends and enjoy the taste of the hops and the clever brewing technique that allows those hops to work so well despite being in such a low brewed ale. Then, when you're done, re-don your jackets and touch up your shirt to go back into battle with the rest of the day.