The unfortunately named Insel-Brauerei were formed in 2014 on the island of Rügen in Germany, by friends Markus, Andries and Frans. A bunch of master-brewers meeting up for beers got talking about forgotten and less known beer styles, and decided to start a company based on the idea of bringing these styles to a wider audience, as well as producing their own experimental brews. They utilize the method of ‘open fermentation’ to brew their beers, which means that fermentation takes place in a receptacle that is open to the air and environment around it. This is the age-old method used before vessels with lids were used, when beers were often fermented using the wild yeasts that are present in the air. This doesn’t mean that they leave their wort just anywhere – modern open fermentation tends to use specially built rooms with easy-to-clean surfaces, minimising possible contamination from biologicals.
Insel-Brauerei’s beers are easily recognisable by their presentation – each bottle is wrapped in paper adorned with highly detailed and striking artwork. Not only does this instantly make their offerings stand out on the shelf, but it adds an extra dimension to the ritual of opening and pouring out your beer. The paper also helps to protect the beer from UV rays, which have the potential to ruin your drinking experience if you choose to let your bottles have a sunbathe.
The brewery produce a range of non-alcoholic beers, all of easily recognisable styles, but with their own twists on the traditional recipes. For their Snorkeler’s IPA Insel-Brauerei has added sea salt into the mix – not something I’ve seen before in an IPA. I do tend to like a sprinkle of salt on sweet things – think of salted caramel for example, or try a pinch of salt on your next round of toast and jam. But in a beer I feel the use of salt will need to be restrained to make sure we get a balanced drink. Let’s see if the guys from Rügen have managed it.
Pouring the beer from the admittedly classy-looking bottle, we get a murky dark amber coloured liquid which produced a stable foamy head. It’s very hazy, with little visible carbonation. On the nose we get aromas of mango, mandarin orange, vanilla sweetness, and a whiff of fresh sea air… or the presence of sea salt anyway. It works well in the aroma, let’s see about the taste.
There’s an initial hoppy bitterness and a savoury note when we taste, which is slightly off-putting. But this lasts mere seconds and we’re quickly back on track into fruity IPA territory, with tropical mango and pineapple vying with orange marmalade for our attention. Fruity and floral notes give us well-tempered bitterness with background sweetness. And just there, on the tip of your tongue after a mouthful, the sea salt makes an appearance! It’s not harsh, it doesn’t linger, but it offers an interesting savoury note between sips, maybe even helping to cleanse your palate. The body is nice and thick and creamy, giving an enjoyable mouthfeel to the drink. The finish is bitter, with that slight touch of salt.
Insel-Brauerei Snorkeler’s Sea Salt IPA is a great beer full stop, no matter whether it’s alcohol-free or not. If you’re a fan of IPAs this should be right up your street, with great hoppy fruity flavours it’s a joy to drink. And just like with salted caramel, the pinch of salt added into the mix adds an extra dimension without being overpowering. Add some of these beauties to your basket today!
Buy Insel-Brauerei Snorkeler’s Sea Salt IPA
I’ve never seen Insel-Brauerei’s nolo beers out in the wild, and if you ever encounter them in a pub or bar, drop whatever you’re doing and let me know! The best place to buy Snorkeler’s Sea Salt IPA and the brewer’s other offerings is online – try these guys:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the bottle)
|Water, Malted Barley, Malted Wheat, Hops, Yeast, Sea Salt
|Country of Production
|Rügener Insel-Brauerei – https://insel-brauerei.de/en/
Insel-Brauerei Snorkeler's IPA AF Beer Review
A treat for all IPA fans, whether they be nolo or regular drinkers – a good beer is a good beer!