Sunday, 21 May 2017

Innis & None

Ah the weekend. What a time to be alive and to be finally at the end of one load of toil. Of course, there's more on the way because I am a glutton for punishment and mark extra every year. I get paid, mind you, so I can't complain. A mixed day weather-wise, scattered showers and occasional sunny patches. I almost risked shorts but then recoiled from the cold. Today, for it is not the evening, I am planning to have the rather nice looking Innis&None by, well, Innis & Gunn. I have had this lurking for the best part of a week - how hard is having non-alcoholic beer anyway?

Apparently quite hard. I know, right? I blame the new child. Would you like to know more?

This is a pale ale and something about the can that demands it be drunk in the garden amid great sunshine. I managed some brightness and bedraggled plants but it'll do I suppose. There was glorious sunshine earlier but it just didn't last. I digress, Good light bronze colour in the glass with a decent head that was somewhat of a surprise, I don't know that I was expecting that much, odd behaviour of it though in that it seemed to almost crust over and have something of a shell, mercifully gone before I tasted it, but it did look rather strange. A musty sort of aroma hung around, there were fruity elements but I suspect that the ginseng played the biggest role as it was a smell that I couldn't place and I don't think I've had ginseng before.

I think that puddle pretty much sums things up!

Willow suggested that there was grapefruit on the tongue and was most upset that we were back in the grapefruit ale territory, but I'll be honest and say that I don't share that particular interpretation. Sure, it opens with a hint of sourness and a lot of malt (not cloying or big, but definite and strong) before going into some bittering hops but they lack the acidity of grapefruit as I understand it. It hangs around though, all bitter and lime with a hint of bitter lemon. The carbonation is strong and swirls about, delivering that dry bitterness through the strangely dry concoction. It is certainly distinctive, putting me in mind of those heady summer days when there's a great deal of pollen in the air and a thickness that ought to come with humidity but there's dust or something making the whole affair feel much drier than it perhaps is. On top of that the notion of having added vitamin C made me think of oranges. A lack of any orange taste combated strongly with my self-imposed suggestion that there ought to be some.

I confess, as I was drinking it I did wonder if this was really the drink for me. It is alcohol free, being 0% ABV, and it is a decent enough brew but something about the taste put me off. However, now that I have finished it, I find myself looking back at the whole thing with a certain element of fondness. I think the aftertaste, being dry and bitter, has a lot going for it and it does rather make one ready for food. It balances out a changeable afternoon nicely and, yes, it is unapologetically still ale. I can see how this might grow on you, like mould, and stick around in the impression for a long time, like mould, and, unlike mould, wouldn't burn as there is no alcohol content.

Yes, this is a benevolent mould and I rather suspect I shall be back for more.

Enjoyed best in brilliant sunshine surrounded by the sounds of birds and with much greenery. Sat at the picnic tables with friends and liberally swigged from a glass as the still air grows ever warmer. A proper summer pale with none of the guilt and the sort of ale one can use as designated driver. It may fail if you're not the designated driver and you have something particularly enticing on tap but, if there are only lagers or even lesser pales, this is a good option. In short, better in memory and probably in a brace.


  1. Ah, you got to the review before I could! I had this and declared it deeply nasty. The weird flavour comes from the added vitamin C and, indeed, the ginseng. While I like ginseng I felt this beer was confused and didn't know its market - it doesn't know if it wants to be a non alcoholic ale or some form of energy drink.

    1. Aye, that appears to be the size of it. I dunno, though, as a first wave... could be the Doom Bar of craft non-alcoholic ales.