Hammerton Brewery were originally brewers situated in Stockton in the borough of Lambeth in London. It was founded in 1868 by Charles Hammerton, who bought a large site in the area and built the brewery there, which also served as a home for the family. The Hammertons were successful and helped to improve the local area, with the nearby parish hall named ‘Hammerton Memorial Hall’ in their honour. They were pioneers in the usage of oysters in the brewing of stout, a practice that has since fallen out of favour, but is sure to have been revived by craft brewers somewhere out there.
The original brewery closed it’s doors in the 1950s, and the site is now home to new-build flats. But the Hammerton family are still around, and in 2014 Lee Hammerton once again put this brood’s mark on a brewery, although this time a much smaller outfit. The microbrewery has also been relocated to Islington, north of the river from Stockton. Now a small-batch brewer, their output has been prolific, with their beers being readily available on shelves at least here in London. However, their beers mainly seem to be of the high ABV variety, and this is the first nolo I’ve seen from them. This coupled with the somewhat mind-bending premise of a peanut butter milk stout has me very intrigued about Crunch AF. So much so that the batch of cans I bought stayed in the fridge for several weeks before I plucked up the courage to try them!
Pouring out from the can we get a thin almost-black liquid. An off-white head does fluff up and initially looks rather creamy, but this disappointingly diminishes within a minute or so. On the nose we get sweet cocoa and roasted grains, along with a distinctive nutty aroma. Very appetising, however the nut aroma is slightly synthetic in my opinion.
On tasting we get sweet dark chocolate backed with roasted grain bitterness, and in the background there is a nuttiness. But to my palate it’s not peanut as I know it, and is more akin to popcorn. The sweetness continues as we drink, with the chocolate becoming more muted. The body is veering on the watery side, with the carbonation being quite low. It could do with being a tad on the thicker side. The finish is sweet, with the peanut/popcorn flavour sticking around for a while.
I was expecting to be blown away by Crunch AF, and whilst it is a great example of an alcohol-free milk stout, it just feels a bit watered-down, in both taste and mouth-feel. A NA beer that looks this good needs to feel good when you’re drinking it too. I’m also not convinced by the peanut, as it doesn’t seem to add anything to the drink except a slightly fake-tasting nuttiness. Reminds me of my disappointment with Big Drop’s Hazelnut Porter. Worth a try though!
Buy Hammerton Crunch AF
You can buy Hammerton Crunch AF from various off-licenses and specialist shops, or online from the following drinks retailers:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the can)|
|Additional nutritional information not published. Boo, hiss.|
|Water, Barley, Wheat, Lactose, Hops, Yeast, Peanut|
Hammerton Crunch AF Non-Alcoholic Milk Stout Review
Looks the business but doesn’t quite hit the marks I was hoping for. A good example of a non-alcoholic milk stout though.