The modern Hammerton Brewery is the continuation of a family brewing business dating back from the 1860s, originally based in Lambeth, now relocated to Islington. Two very different boroughs of London, and both incarnations of the brewery are also similarly contrasting. The old Hammerton was a traditional family brewer, with time-honoured beers such as ‘Essex Brown Ale’, ‘Oatmeal Stout’ and ‘Hammerton’s Traditional Porter’ offered to punters in the past. Conversely, today’s Hammerton Brewery brews include ‘Mango Masher’, a mango milkshake IPA, ‘City of Cake’, a chocolate fudge cake milk stout, and ‘Bouyancy Aid’, a soursop and guava gose.
Rather than going down the road of producing one of these more ‘interesting’ styles of beer as their first non-alcoholic offering, Hammerton instead went back to their roots with a pale ale they named ‘Zed’. Their second AF beer would of course be a Peanut Butter Milk Stout. Anyway, back to Zed, which had been in the works at Hammerton for some time, and took a while to get past the experimental stage. The brewer ended up using their usual yeast strain, but cooled down the mash, so that the yeast has less time to work on the sugars to produce alcohol. Normally I would expect this method to produce a beer with a higher sugar content, but Zed clocks in at 1.9g of sugar per 100ml, which seems pretty average for the non-alcoholic beers we’ve reviewed. Does this sweetness come through in the finished product, or have Hammerton mastered their AF production methods?
The beer pours a deep golden colour with decent clarity and a few visible carbonation bubbles. The head is white and frothy and does it’s best to stick around as we drink. On the nose we get some citrus aromas, grapefruit dominant, and grassy notes. Certainly some Citra influence here, but cranked down to medium levels.
On tasting we get cereal malt and grapefruit citrus, with some grassy notes, but not much bitterness. It’s certainly less hop-forward than many other non-alcoholic pale ales. The mouthfeel is thin and watery whilst the carbonation level is quite high. We get a slight citrus bitterness as we finish the drink.
Zed is quite refreshing and would do the job of a thirst quencher, but the carbonation levels makes it quite harsh, so it might not be one for a session. Flavour-wise it’s also quite muted, with nothing really to set it apart from other nolo pale ales. A good start from the brewery nevertheless, and one they bettered with their Crunch AF, lets hope they can go even further with their next alcohol-free beer.
Buy Hammerton Zed Pale Ale
You can get Hammerton Brewery’s beers in many supermarkets around the London area, from their own online store, or from one of the AF drinks retailers below:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the can)
|Water, Barley, Wheat, Hops, Yeast
|Country of Production
|Hammerton Brewery – https://www.hammertonbrewery.co.uk/site/
|Yes, less than 20ppm
Hammerton Zed Nolow Pale Ale Review
What flavours there are are pretty clean, but the carbonation is rather harsh and there are better pale ales out there to sup.