While the United States celebrates Thanksgiving and, it would seem, both Britain and the US celebrate both ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’, Scotland quietly celebrates their own Patron Saint – Saint Andrew on November 30th.
To acknowledge that, I thought I’d post a review about Brewdog’s ‘Nanny State’ Ale, brewed to 0.5% ABV.
Yes, you read that correctly; a Brewdog beer and only half a percent alcohol by volume.
You might recall that Brewdog caused some controversy a few years back by brewing super strength brews, such as Tokyo Stout that I reviewed here which was brewed to a scary 18.9% ABV , then went on to battle with the Germans to brew the world’s strongest beer (albeit the strongest only briefly at 41%) before finally releasing ‘the End of History’ which was 55% ABV and controversially bottled with roadkill ‘wrappers’.
During that controversial period they also released ‘Nanny State’, as their response to the criticism, an ‘Imperial Mild’ brewed to 1.1% ABV.
Well, since 2009 they’ve further refined the concept and now ‘Nanny State’ is down to just 0.5% ABV, and no longer a mild.
As the brewery says “Brewing a full flavoured craft beer at 0.5% is no easy task.“, but I guess if anybody’s up to the challenge, the boys (and girls) at Brewdog are.
What it lacks in alcoholic potency, it promises much complexity; it’s brewed “with a backbone of 8 different speciality malts” and featuring Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial and Simcoe hops, then dry hopped. Brewdog describe ‘Nanny State’ as a ‘force to be reckoned with‘.
It pours a dark Amber, with a full white head that laces nicely down the glass. And it certainly has a nose to be reckoned with, full of citrus and pine, really astringent.
The taste is refreshing, sharp and bitter (45 IBU’s for the geeks amongst you), although the lack of alcohol leaves the brew feeling a little lacking in the mouthfeel. Those hops tell you you’re drinking a craft beer, even if they’ve beaten the ‘8 specialty malts’ into submission.
Looking back at The Brewclub’s patented scoring system, I think ‘Nanny State’ is indeed “Something that does what it sets out to, and does it well. I’d search it out.” That’s four Brewclub stars any day of the week.
Having implied (with that 4 star rating) that ‘I’d search it out’ I’ve actually ordered a case of ‘Nanny State’ for my beer shelf, particularly with the holiday season coming up. At 0.5% ABV it’s ideal for serving to guests who fancy a tasty beer, but happen to be driving. I’m not, for one second, condoning drink driving, but figure that, while ‘Nanny State’ is not quite alcohol free, you’d have to drink at least a dozen bottles to get close to the UK drink-driving limit.