Fungtn launched the UK’s first range of myco-adaptogenic alcohol-free beers just over a year ago at the end of November 2020, and are still going strong after their first year in the industry. With consumers that are increasingly looking at how a product impacts their wellbeing and health as well as their pocket, the company have managed to tap into the emerging market wanting to include medicinal mushrooms as part of their diet. But it doesn’t matter what supposed health benefits a drink has if it isn’t pleasant to consume. Thankfully the two beers from Fungtn that I’ve reviewed before were both crackers, with their Lion’s Mane IPA recently picking up a bronze medal in the World Beer Awards 2021. However, this award was in the IPA category as a whole, including the whole spectrum of ABVs – for an alcohol-free IPA that is quite a feat!
On to the subject of this review – Chaga Lager. The name immediately makes my aged brain recall the old Chumbawamba novelty hit ‘Tubthumping’ and it’s chorus of ‘lager lager lager’. But this is no ordinary lager – it’s brewed with organic chaga fungus, which in traditional Eastern European medicine is used in teas to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and also slow down the aging process. Something some of us sorely need! It is said to have a bitter flavour, which makes me wonder why Fungtn chose lager as their beer of choice in which to add their special mushroom extracts, instead of another ale or even a stout. I guess we will have to let the taste test answer that question for us.
The beer pours a murky dark chestnut brown colour, almost black in appearance. A good frothy head is produced but fizzles away after a few sips. The beer initially has an earthy aroma with a sour note, which is then joined by malty toffee sweetness. There’s also a slight aroma of roasted black coffee in the background. No real lager malt to speak of, it’s certainly more ale-like on the nose.
On tasting we get sweet caramel malt up front which then gets joined by an earthiness and bitterness, akin to dark chocolate and coffee. The sour note once again makes an appearance, but is not unpleasant. The carbonation level is pretty high, but the body is good, perhaps from the proteins in the mushroom extract. The finish is dry and crisp.
Fungtn Chaga Lager is very unlike a standard AF lager which might put a few off it, but once you get past the surprise visual appearance and aromas of the drink it’s actually rather tasty and, dare I say it, grown up. Is drinking this going to make me live forever? Of course not, but it’ll make my palate smile and quench my thirst of an evening.
Buy Fungtn Chaga Lager
Chaga Lager, along with the rest of the Fungtn range, should be available in a number of specialist grocers and health food shops including Planet Organic. Other than that, it’s available direct from the brewer or from one of the stores below:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the can)|
|Hops, Barley, Oats, Wheat, Yeast, Chaga, Water|
|Country of Production||United Kingdom|
|Brewer||The Fungtional Brew Company Limited – https://www.fungtn.com/|
Fungtn Non-Alcoholic Chaga Lager Review
Unlike any other non-alcoholic lager out there, and that’s a good thing!