Hobsons Brewery was started by father and son team Jim and Nick Davis. In the late 80s, Jim was running a pub in Somerset and Nick, a property surveyor at the time, wanted in on the beer business instead of driving up and down the country every week. Over the next few years the pair put plans in motion to open a brewery, and in 1993 they set up shop in Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire, with their first delivery of beers going to The King’s Arms pub in town. The name ‘Hobsons’ comes from the play named ‘Hobsons Choice’ which Jim and Nick were performing in as part of an am-dram production, which in turn comes from an expression meaning that there is ‘no choice at all’.
The brewery relocated to New House Farm just south of the Cleobury Mortimer town centre in 1995 and remain there to this day, with a tap room located in the aforementioned The King’s Arms pub location since 2007. Sustainability is apparently a core concept of their business, and Hobsons have invested in heat pumps for maintaining their conditioning rooms and to heat their offices, as well as a 11kw wind turbine that provides about 30% of the brewery’s power needs. In 2007 the brewer became a CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain winner with their Hobsons Mild.
Hobsons Free IPA is the company’s first alcohol free beer, and was created as a joint venture between the brewer and Browar Błonie in Poland (where the beer is actually brewed) – itself an offshoot of Inne Beczki who have their own ‘Free IPA‘ beer on the market. Launched in January 2023, it’s apparently a ‘traditional IPA’, and the brewer is pushing bitterness, with citrus and tropical fruits as defining characteristics of the beer. Sounds good to me, time to take the top off this huge bottle and get stuck in.
Pouring out the beer from the bottle we get a light golden coloured liquid with some slight haze to it when looking through the glass. A fair-sized head is produced, good and frothy, but doesn’t stay around too long. On the nose we get whiffs of tropical mango, along with some hints of lemon/grapefruit citrus and a background of sweet malts. Good standard traditional IPA aromas on show here.
On tasting we get a nice hit of bitterness up front, with crisp citrus notes on show. This then mellows into juicy tropical fruits, mango and pineapple the most noticeable, balancing the bitterness out. Body is good, with not too much carbonation, and a smooth mouth feel without any of the usual thinness that can plague non-alcoholic beers. The finish is dry, taking us back to the initial bitterness.
Hobsons Brewery Free IPA is a great first entry by the brewer into the world of alcohol-free beers. Fruity citrus and tropical aromas and flavours tempered with a nice crisp bitterness, backed with good body and mouthfeel means this beer is easy to drink and packs all the punch you’d expect from a good IPA. Wonderful to see 500ml bottles as standard too. But what we really need from Hobsons is a nolo version of their award-winning mild!
Buy Hobsons Brewery Free IPA
If you’re in the Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, or West Midlands areas of the UK you might easily see Hobsons Brewery’s beers in your local. Free IPA may be a bit harder to get ahold of, and for this purpose the world of online shopping is a better choice:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the bottle)|
|Further nutritional information not given. Boo, hiss!|
|Water, Barley Malt (Gluten), Hops, Yeast|
|Country of Production||Poland|
|Brewer||Browar Błonie / Hobsons Brewery – https://www.hobsons-brewery.co.uk/|
Hobsons Brewery Free IPA Review
Lovely full flavoured and bodied traditional IPA. Citrus and tropical fruitiness and bitterness combine to make a satisfying drink.