New releases

Taste test: Sidewinder Ultra Low Alcohol Hazy Pale Ale

The highlight of an afternoon in lockdown for Drinks Digest Beer Editor Saint Barbara this week was the virtual launch of Brick Lane Brewing’s Sidewinder range of super ultra low alcohol beers.

It was fascinating to attend a Zoom tasting of the new Sidewinder Super Ultra Low Alcohol Hazy Pale Ale with Brick Lane Brewing founder Paul Bowker and Head Brewer Jon Seltin. The team at Brick Lane have enthusiastically taken on the challenge of creating a new approach to low-alcohol beer, aiming to over deliver on flavour while staying true to the benefits of lower alcohol brewing.

“Enjoying full flavour without compromise is the essence of the Sidewinder Life,” Bowker explained.

And the Hazy Pale Ale certainly delivers. At 1.1%, I can attest that it is full of flavour. Not too hoppy, with a full mouth taste of stonefruit and maltiness, and a gorgeous copper hue, it certainly meets the brief of being vibrant and refreshing. I can imagine drinking it at lunch with friends, or on a spring or summer evening, watching the sun set.

Sidewinder is named after the famous 1970’s jet boat (above), which was designed with a philosophy of living life to the full without restraint.

Seltin explained how the beer was crafted from the start to be low alcohol, rather than being re-engineered at the end of the brewing process. In the re-engineering, flavour is often lost, and the beer becomes ‘hollow’. The aim was to craft a beer that was low alcohol, vibrant and refreshing, without compromising on the flavour.

Seltin, a self confessed beer geek and nerd, continued to speak throughout the tasting about the importance of the mindful use of raw materials, including three North American hops (Centennial, Mosaic, and Citra) and five sorts of grain, to carefully balance the fermentation process to deliver maximum flavour whilst maintaining low alcohol levels. The fermentation process is a ‘knife-edge’ he said, speaking of the importance of getting the balance right.

This technically challenging beer is a new market offering at 1.1%. I learnt that the slightly higher ABV allows a wider gamut of flavour, and more flexibility with styles. I can’t wait to try the rest of the range.

Sidewinder Hazy Pale is available through speciality retailers, restaurants and bars, and in all Dan Murphy’s stores nationally.

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Categories: New releases