In their native USA, Athletic Brewing have a decent sized portfolio of non-alcoholic beers. They offer nolo brews such as Trailblazer Helles, Cerveza Athletica (a South American style lager), Soul Sour, Irish Red, Wit’s Peak witbier, and that’s not including the numerous offerings available in their ‘pilot program’ – a limited edition range of experimental beers such as Mangonada (a mango and habanero chilli IPA) and Cara Bunga (a sour beer brewed with ginger). So far from the UK arm of Athletic we’ve had a grand total of two alcohol-free beers from the brewer in the 12 months or so since they opened up shop over here; Upside Dawn golden ale and Run Wild IPA. Well we can now add a third to that line-up – Athletic Brewing All Out, a stout (or an ‘extra dark’ as they market it in the US).
An alcohol-free stout is always a welcome addition on this site, and it’s good to see Athletic trying a different style. I’ve felt their previous releases have both slightly missed the mark, but remain decently crafted bevvies. Like the brewer’s other offerings, All Out is fully brewed, meaning that nothing is taken out via distillation or reverse osmosis, and the product is low ABV from the outset. This is a technique used by many nolo brewers now, and Athletic Brewing have the process well refined, with none of the wortiness that sometimes is apparent in such beers turning up in their brews. There’s no information about what hops the brewer is using in their stout, but from the use of both oats and wheat in the recipe, it looks like they’ve attempted to give the beer a bit of a kick in the body department. Part of a good stout is the heavier mouth feel in my opinion, and it’s often lacking in non-alcoholic beers. Let’s see if they’ve pulled it off.
Pouring the beer from the can we get a very dark brown coloured liquid, very much like a cola, which is pretty much opaque. A huge caramel coloured frothy head is produced if you pour with gusto, receding somewhat as we drink. The nose is full of roasted barley, with an almost smoky aroma on the verge of burnt grains. There are hints of both dark chocolate and flat white coffee in there too.
As we taste we get the roasted grains up front, with the coffee coming through too, providing a smoky background. Some bitterness builds up but remains rather mild, and we also get a milkiness to the drink. This can’t be lactose, as the beer is vegan-friendly, so must be the oats at work, and it’s quite pleasant when paired with the coffee flavours. The carbonation is quite high but the beer remains quite watery unfortunately. We get a bitter roasted finish to the drink.
Athletic Brewing All Out has much to be admired, and works well as a non-alcoholic stout (though perhaps more like a porter). Flavours are pretty good, but have been surpassed by a number of other nolo stouts, many of which also managed to nail the heavier body we’re looking for too. It’s taken the top spot in my list of favourite Athletic Brewing beers however, so I’m sure they’ll be overjoyed by that accolade!
Buy Athletic Brewing All Out
I’ve yet to see any of Athletic Brewing’s beers out ‘in the wild’ over here in the UK, but they’re readily available direct from the brewer online, or from one of these stores:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the can)
|Water, Malted Barley, Oats, Wheat, Hops, Yeast
|Country of Production
|United States of America
|Athletic Brewing Co – https://uk.athleticbrewing.com/
Athletic Brewing All Out AF Stout Review
Good quality AF stout from one of the pioneers of the market, but it’s been surpassed by some other brewers in the same style.