Big Drop Brewing Co have attained a great position in the UK alcohol-free beer market over the 4 years since their founding. The Ipswitch company seems to constantly be on the move in the market, with an ever changing range of seasonal beers and collaboration brews available from their hoppy brewhouse. In previous reviews I’ve found some of their offerings to not be to my taste, whilst others such as their Galactic Milk Stout have blown my figurative socks off. So how will their Uptown Craft Lager, part of their core selection available year-round, fare when exposed to my taste and olfactory receptors?
The name ‘Craft Lager’ evokes thoughts and images of craft brewers producing small batches of beer with an attention to detail, quality and taking care in the brewing process. It also makes me think of experimental brewers taking a risk with exotic ingredients and blends of hops and malts. Basically, from the name alone, this lager could taste of anything. So, marketing has done a good job, how about the actual brewer?
Pouring the beer we get a clear dark golden liquid, a fair shade darker than your average lager. The head is small and shrivels up quickly, nothing special here. Aromas on the nose are light malt, with some floral notes and a touch of orange. All rather light and restrained. With the hops used (Hallertau, Hersbrucker and Magnum) I was expecting a bit more.
The taste of the lager is similar to the smell. There is malt there, and a bitter floral taste from the hops, with quite a pleasant aftertaste that I can only describe as Terry’s Chocolate Orange. The body is lacking, but it is quite refreshing, albeit more bitter than you’d expect from a lager. The finish is quite watery.
To me, this suffers from the same problems that a couple of the other Big Drop brews I’ve reviewed (Woodcutter Brown Ale and Off Piste Hazelnut Porter) do. There is flavour there and it’s certainly pleasant, but it just feels far too watered down. I noticed the addition of Maltodextrin in the ingredients list. If they’ve added this to try to improve the mouthfeel, I have to say this has failed in it’s job. If the flavours could be amped up a bit this would be a great tipple, even though it’s really a bitter desperately trying to be a lager.
Nutritional Information (per 100ml)
0.5% alcohol by volume
11.8 calories energy
(taken from the side of the bottle)
Water, Barley, Rye, Wheat, Hops, Yeast, Maltodextrin
Big Drop Uptown Craft Lager Review
Interesting flavours for a lager but watery body lets it down.