The Fungtional Brew Company Ltd (or ‘Fungtn’) was founded in May 2020, one of a slew of alcohol-free brewers to launch in the UK over the past couple of years as the ‘nolo’ movement continues to grow. Every company needs a unique selling point to stand out from the crowd, and what Fungtn have done to create their own niche in the market is to be the UK’s first brewery to use adaptogenic mushrooms in their beers. These ‘functional fungi’ are part of the burgeoning nootropic trend, which is the use of natural cognitive enhancers to attempt to improve mental and physical health. Medicinal mushrooms have traditionally been used for centuries for treating various ailments and for improving health, and whilst the modern medical evidence may be slow to document these health benefits, their use is growing in popularity.
Fungtn Lion’s Mane IPA uses the ‘Hericium erinaceus’ fungus in it’s production, which is a mushroom that grows on hardwoods. It is used in gourmet cooking (apparently tasting similar to lobster), and has also been used in traditional Chinese medicine for it’s anti-inflammatory properties, and to treat depression and anxiety. Certainly sounds beneficial, as alcohol tends to exacerbate such conditions. However, it’s always good to remain skeptical about unproven health benefits, and I’m more interested in how Lion’s Mane IPA is as a beer. Will this be a nice hoppy ale with an added healthy bonus, or carbonated mushroom broth?
Pouring from the bottle we get a cloudy dark amber liquid with a fair amount of fizz. A nice frothy head is produced but recedes quickly. On the nose we get some grapefruit citrus along with floral and green tea notes, but also a more earthy aroma, which I suspect originates from the lion’s mane extract.
The earthy flavour continues into the taste, almost nutty in it’s background aromas, but we also get the hoppy citrus and floral notes which help to balance the taste out, and add some bite. The mouthfeel is fine, with carbonation levels on the higher end, but not so high as to feel gassy. We get a crisp dry finish to the drink.
Fungtn Lion’s Mane IPA is full of taste, and thankfully there’s not even a hint of mushroom flavour to it. It’s got the hops you’d expect from a decent IPA, with the added interest of an almost nutty earthiness. I won’t comment on any supposed health benefits, but as a non-alcoholic beer this is a tasty drink, and bears repeat drinking. Let’s hope Fungtn’s other beers are of a similar quality.
Buy Fungtn Lion’s Mane IPA
You should be able to get your hands on Fungtn Lion’s Mane IPA in some independent grocers and specialist health shops, and it’s readily available online from the brewer and the following stores:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the bottle)
|Hops, Barley, Oats, Wheat, Yeast, Lion’s Mane, Water
|Country of Production
|The Fungtional Brew Company Limited – https://www.fungtn.com/
Fungtn Lion's Mane Alcohol-Free IPA Review
Interesting concept, and well brewed alcohol-free IPA, with some deep earthy flavours offsetting hoppy citrus notes.