It’s been over 2 years since I’ve reviewed an alcohol-free beer from beer industry disruptors BrewDog. Their stable of non-alcoholic offerings were some of the first brews I ever reviewed, and Nanny State in particular was instrumental in bringing me over to the nolo side. But while the controversial company’s AF beers continue to be well-stocked on supermarket shelves, there has been a distinct lack of any new releases. Indeed, whenever I’ve bought a few of the old favourites I’ve noticed a distinct downtrend in quality – almost as if they’re being slowly watered down in flavour terms.
BrewDog has not had a good few years in the public’s perception. Mass complaints of a toxic work culture at the company have been mainly aimed at head honcho James Watt, who has been accused of nurturing a culture of fear at the brewer. Whilst the official stance is that working practices have had a complete overhaul, and such a culture has been eliminated, many in the industry still see the toxicity when working with the company. The controversy over a supposed ‘solid gold’ beer can in 2022 also proved costly to Mr Watt. The cans in question turned out to be mainly brass, and merely ‘gold plated’. With the Advertising Standards Association upholding the complaints they received about the bungled promotion, the chief executive ended up paying over £470,000 to golden can ‘winners’.
Moving on, and the subject of this review is BrewDog’s Elvis Juice IPA alcohol-free. A non-alcoholic version of one of their oldest IPAs, Elvis Juice is infused with grapefruit and orange, and I remember it being especially tart when I tried the original. The brewer’s other nolo offerings have been similarly heavy on the bitterness – a crutch that they lean on too much perhaps? Let’s see if this old crooner still has what it takes to excite the taste buds.
The beer pours a clear amber colour, producing a fair sized frothy head as it fills the glass. This shrinks back extremely quickly, leaving a few splotches of foam floating around. On the nose we get sweet grapefruit, like those packs of pasteurised grapefruit juice you get at cheap hotel buffets. There’s also a whiff of orange, and notes of candied citrus rind. It certainly smells like there’s grapefruit involved, but nothing to especially point it out as a beer.
On tasting the grapefruit from the aroma is present, with a sweet, fragrant, almost floral flavour – totally unlike what you would usually get in a hoppy, citrusy IPA. Any bitterness on display here is very restrained, and resembles the rind and zest of the fruit. Along with the flavour, the body is also rather light, with a slightly watery mouthfeel. There is more citrus evident as we finish the drink, along with some resinous pine, but I can’t help but wish it had made an appearance sooner.
BrewDog Elvis Juice is a pretty refreshing citrus-infused beer, but as an IPA it’s a shadow of it’s full ABV brethren. Sweet grapefruit flavours are quite a rarity in nolo beers, but I’d rather the citrus was amped up like the rest of the BrewDog alcohol-free lineup used to be.
Buy BrewDog Elvis Juice
BrewDog’s alcohol-free offerings are usually available at their bars, and a mixed pack is available in many Sainsbury’s stores, and possibly further afield. To get your hands on single cans of Elvis Juice AF you’ll need to try these online shops:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the can)
|Water, Lactose (Milk), Malted Barley, Hops, Malted Oats, Malted Wheat, Yeast, Grapefruit and Orange Flavouring, Lactic Acid
|Country of Production
|BrewDog – https://www.brewdog.com/uk
|No, uses lactose
BrewDog Elvis Juice IPA Alcohol Free Review
A sweeter version of grapefruit than you’d usually get in an IPA, but rather weak and watery on the palate.