Whilst there are a few grocery shops close to my abode, the alcohol-free beer selection in most of them is pretty poor; usually just Beck’s Blue graces the shelves, and if I’m lucky some Heineken 0.0. However the selection at my Marks and Spencer keeps growing, with most of the BrewDog AF offerings available, and a few more lines being added now and then. The size of their NA beer shelf is still only around 1m square, but there’s always stock available. And recently I’ve seen M&S’s own non-alcoholic ale wedged in at the side, Southwold Pale Ale.
It’s brewed by Adnams, who you may know from their popular Ghost Ship Alcohol Free ale. The company has also produced full strength ABV beers for the supermarket chain, and have even utilised their discarded sandwiches in various brewing ventures. Though as far as I know, neither Ghost Ship nor Ghost Ship Alcohol Free use leftover prawn mayo butties in their manufacture. Like Ghost Ship, M&S’s beer this is also a pale ale, so is this brew the same thing with a different label slapped on it, or have they produced a completely individual beer for this purpose?
The ale pours a deep amber colour, certainly darker than Ghost Ship. The head is nothing much to talk about and is soon gone. Hops thrive in the aroma, with citrus and pine both vying for your attention. There is also a slight caramel sweet aroma if you can get past the hops.
The hops certainly continue into the taste and prove a lot of bitterness, more of a pine taste rather than citrus. Like the aroma, there is some sweetness here too, a malty toffee flavour with a hint of biscuit. This is certainly not a sweet ale though, and provides pleasing bitterness with quite a clean finish.
It’s great to see supermarkets offering their own alcohol-free beers and this one is a great addition to the market. A light hoppy ale that’s sure to refresh, and not a whiff of old sandwich crusts!
Nutritional Information (per 100ml)
0.5% alcohol by volume
13 calories energy
(taken from the side of the bottle)
Water, Malted Barley, Hops, Yeast, Carbon Dioxide
Marks and Spencer Non-Alcoholic Southwold Pale Ale Review
Very drinkable hoppy ale, one for other supermarkets to look at and hopefully improve on.