Brooklyn Brewery are, you guessed it, a brewery based in Brooklyn, New York. The imaginatively-named company was founded in 1988, a few years after Big Apple-native Steve Hindy moved back to his home town with several years of brewing knowledge under his belt, thanks to a tour of the middle east where he ended up having to brew his own beer in order to slake his thirst. He roped in his downstairs neighbour, former banker Tom Potter, into the venture and the pair quit their jobs to work on brewing full time. Their persistence and hard work paid off, and today their brews are sold in over 30 countries throughout the world.
Brooklyn Special Effects is the brewery’s first non-alcoholic offering, and debuted in Europe in 2019, spreading to the states later on. It’s labelled as a ‘hoppy lager’ which I’ve found can throw a spanner in the works somewhat. Many lager drinkers eschew the hop-heavy ales and IPAs, preferring something blander but refreshing nonetheless. A hoppy lager runs the risk of scaring off these customers, but can also bring in the typical ale drinkers with an offer of hoppy goodness. But if this is what the company was wanting, why not just concentrate on an ale of some kind?
So, have Brooklyn Brewery done the impossible and create a hoppy lager that appeals to both the lager fans and the hop heads out there?
Cracking open a bottle and pouring out, we get a dark amber coloured liquid with a good level of carbonation. We get a small frothy head, which is neither here nor there. On the nose there’s certainly a lot more going on than in a standard lager, with citrus aromas aplenty, lemon and lime, a touch of pine, and a faint caramel sweetness.
On tasting we get hoppy citrus up front, lemon rind and pine. The taste then moves on to a more malty sweetness with a hint of crisp orange peel and even some tropical fruit in the mix. The mouth feel is rather good, with enough carbonation to give a tickle but not leave you with a burning tongue. We get a crisp slightly sweet mandarin orange finish to the drink.
I think Brooklyn Brewery have performed an amazing balancing act here. This is definitely more a pale ale than a lager, but the hops here (Amarillo, Citra, and Mosaic) are used with great skill and I can see all but the most flavour-allergic lager drinkers supping this quite happily. Grab a few of these whenever you spy them on the shelves!
Buy Brooklyn Special Effects
I’ve seen Brooklyn Special Effects for sale in Waitrose and Morrisons, various off-licenses, or get it online from the following drinks retailers:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the bottle)|
|Water, Malted Barley, Hops|
Brooklyn Special Effects Nolo Lager Review
A rarity, a hoppy lager that should appeal to both lager and real ale drinkers looking for an alcohol-free beer. A triumph from the Big Apple!