A couple of lagers from Drynks Unlimited were some of the first alcohol-free beers I reviewed on this website, and things have certainly changed in the AF marketplace since then. A slew of new independent non-alcoholic brewers such as Lowtide, Mash Gang, and Another Dimension have sprung up with some great beers that are demolishing the historical prejudices of non-alcoholic bevs. We’ve also lost a few producers on the way, Braxzz being the most lamented in this household. Drynks Unlimited have still been a presence on the nolo scene, pushing and promoting the benefits of non-alcoholic beers with social media posts and press releases, including one that was not taken well by a number of other brewers and industry figureheads.
After their initial output of a trio of drinks, their lager, citrus beer and cider, Smashed Pale was unleashed from the Drynks Unlimited stable back in July 2020, and honestly flew far under my radar for many months. While their Smashed Lager is regularly seen in bigger supermarkets, it was only recently I spotted a blue-labelled pale ale from the company. Like Drynks Unlimited’s other nolo bevvies, their pale is brewed as a full-fat ABV beer before being put through their Cool Vacuum Distillation piece of kit, which essentially pumps the beer into a chamber, lowers the pressure, and allows the alcohol to evaporate off at much lower temperatures. It’s a method that the company states “…removes all of the alcohol without damaging the characteristics and taste of the liquid”. If this is the case, you still need a decent beer to begin with. I thought the company’s lager was nice enough (it’s been in my fridge several times, mainly due to convenience) though their citrus beer was just a soft drink. Will Smashed Pale offer a proper nolo pale ale experience?
Pouring the beer into my trusty half-pint we get a chestnut coloured liquid with good clarity and a fair bit of visible carbonation. Colour-wise this is not a pale ale. A thin white head is produced as we pour but doesn’t hang around. Aroma-wise we get fruity apricot and other stone fruit with caramel-like malt. There’s a very slight worty tinge to it.
We get bready malt up front when we taste, mellowing into a stone fruit bitter sweetness as we go. There’s certainly more fruit here than in your standard British pale ale, indeed the brewer has stated on the bottle that it’s finished with an American hop for a passion fruit aroma. I’m not getting any passion fruit, but apricot, raisin and more, quite like a malt loaf. Bitterness is there but is restrained. The beer is quite gassy but doesn’t suffer from being too thin. We get a short bitter malty finish to the beer.
Whereas Drynks Unlimited chose a standard lager template for their Smashed Lager, here they seem to have been a bit more experimental with their pale ale recipes. I was expecting traditional fare, but the hops used here are helping to transport the beer over to East Coast US shores with such fruity flavours. But it doesn’t quite get there, and is left floundering somewhat in the Atlantic.
Buy Drynks Unlimited Smashed Pale
I got Drynks Unlimited Smashed Pale from my local Sainsbury’s supermarket, and it’s also available to buy from the following online retailers:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the bottle)|
|Alcohol Free Beer (contains Barley, Wheat), Sugar, Natural Flavourings, Hop Extract|
|Country of Production||United Kingdom|
|Brewer||Drynks Unlimited – https://www.drynks.co.uk/|
Drynks Unlimited Smashed Pale Ale Review
A fairly tasty dark pale ale with some nods to East Coast US flavours.