It wasn't so long ago that anyone wanting lots of taste had to be looking at your classic IPA % of 5.8 to 7% and similar with the stouts. Even then, plenty of them tended to be overly boozy rather than full of flavour. And again, similar with stouts.
However, one trend that we are both fond of is the hoppy brews that weigh in at 4% or less meaning that you can have a few without forgetting your name or the way home.
Powermouse by Great Heck back in 2013 and this one was a really good pint. Hoppy, bitter, quaffable and only 3.6%, Powermouse was one of the first beers that made it clear that hoppy taste didn't have to mean 6%. Unfortunately, it`s now been replaced by Chinook-driven Chopper in the Great Heck range and we look forward to trying that one. The Sheaf View or The Harlequin were your best bets of spotting this little creature in the Capital of Beer.
Simpleton by Magic Rock has appeared in a couple versions : one at 2.6% and one at 3%. Again this one offers the option of less alcoholic content without compromising too much on the taste. Sure, Magic Rock have more exciting wares in their ( recently expanded) locker but Simpleton scores well for a little un. Really enjoyed this at The Broady a while back but the price was still steep, if memory serves (and it should for once at 3%!).
I was also pleasantly surprised by the Thornbridge effort on Stitch. OK this one is a relatively hefty 4% ( bantam weight?!) but the Bakewell boys don't always manage to hit the high notes of taste without an ABV to scare off many a mere mortal. For me, Stitch is a better drink than the AM PM attempt at an all day IPA but then I find the seminal Founders AD IPA to be transatlantic blandness.
There's also plenty of little gems available in bottles from the likes of Beer Central, Hop Hideout and Beer Stop as the craftiest brewers seem to be working hard at both ends of the ABV scale. Siren / Hill Farmstead recently offered Love of Work, or was it Work of Love, which was very tasty at 3.6% and there are other good ones on them there shelves. Wiper & True`s Small Beer is below 3% and was recommended to us by the beer sages at The Broadfield and, sure enough, it is a one of the best to come of Bristol recently.
|Unfined is fine by us.|
The other alternative if you want big taste without an ABV to match is to look at the sour stuff. Again Siren is a great starting point but mebbe that line of drinking thinking will save for another day and another blogbit. It could be a Sour Summer ahead, ideally dry-hopped! Cheers!
|A noticeable floral aroma here!|