Drop Bear Beers are one of many brewers now in the UK who are concentrating solely on non-alcoholic beers. They’re amongst good company, but at time of writing they stand out from the crowd in at least 3 aspects: they’re the only female-run alcohol-free brewery out there, they’re the only LGBT alcohol-free brewery, and whats more, they’re the only non-alcoholic brewers in Wales. I feel I can also add a 4th aspect here; every one of their beers I’ve tried is great!
This offering of theirs is a stout, which as we’ve seen in previous reviews is a style that tends to come out well as an alcohol-free beer. This is mainly due to the deep and bold flavours that are usually present, giving taste and body to the beer, whereas other styles of NA beers can be lacking in this respect. The name ‘Bonfire Stout’ evokes tastes of smoke and bonfire toffee on the palate, or something to drink whilst cosy indoors on a dark autumn/winter night. At time of writing it is mid-July, so let’s just get right down to the tasting, as I can’t wait another 3 months to crack one open!
Bonfire Stout pours a deep reddish-black, with a beige head that quickly fizzles down to a frothy blemish. Aromas aplenty on the nose, roasted and smoky grains, black coffee and cocoa powder all leap upon your olfactory system. Very comforting, bringing back memories of sitting in front of a crackling fire in an old cottage.
Taking a sip we get the flavours we were expecting from experiencing the aroma. Deep roasted flavours kick us off, lots of coffee and dark chocolate bitterness, and a slight wood smoke aroma at the back of your mouth. Not surprising, as Drop Bear have crammed Chocolate Malt, Caramalt, Double Roasted Crystal, and Smoked Malt in there, along with oat and wheat. It very much reminds me of an iced black coffee I had from a hawker in Malaysia who was cooking with charcoal at his stall; Kopi Kosong I believe it was called. But it’s not all just coffee, the flavours here are all you’d expect from a good stout, and there is enough carbonation there to give a good body to the beer.
The bitterness will stay with you for a while, and this might take a bit longer to get used to if you’re not a regular dark beer drinker, but Drop Bear Bonfire Stout gives you all you’d want from a stout, minus the alcohol of course. Carry on churning these out please!
Nutritional Information (per 100ml)
0.5% alcohol by volume
21 calories energy
(taken from the side of the bottle)
Water, Malted Barley, Wheat, Oats, Hops, Yeast
Drop Bear Alcohol Free Bonfire Stout Review
Deep, dark and slightly smoky stout that gives all you’d want from a dark beer without suffering from the absence of alcohol.