Sobah is an Australian brewer, with the accolade of being the country’s first non-alcoholic craft beer company. They were founded in 2017 by husband and wife duo Clinton and Lozen Schultz, on the Gold Coast, Queensland. Clinton is an Aboriginal Australian Gamilaroi, and has been sober since 2014. The idea for the company stems from Clinton’s frustration with being expected to drink soft drinks when he went out to socialise. After finding solace in alcohol-free beers from Europe, Mr Schultz had the idea to brew his own. In came Pickled Pig Brewery, specifically Paul Brewer (talk about nominative determination!), who allowed Sobah to quite literally take over his brewery for a fortnight at a time while brewing.
Sobah are also unique in that they use native Australian botanicals as adjuncts in their brews. The subject of this review, Sobah Lemon Aspen Pilsner, uses the fruit of the Acronychia acidula tree. Lemon Aspen as it is otherwise known (who’d have guessed!) is a medium-sized rainforest tree that is endemic to the Queensland area. The fruit is small, and apparently has a lime/grapefruit citrus flavour, and is used in both beverages and confectionery. Citrus flavours usually pair well with a pilsner, which sometimes have a similar flavour profile themselves. However, it’s usually lemon or lime that we see paired with a lager, so I’m not sure how well grapefruit aromas and flavours will work. But considering Lemon Aspen isn’t actually a citrus tree, the flavour of the fruit is bound to have a nuance of it’s own. What dimensions could this botanical add to a nolo lager? Let’s find out shall we?
The beer pours a shade of dark amber, with some very slight haze visible. A white bubbly head is produced, but this recedes in a matter of seconds. On the nose we get whiffs of malt along with a fresh orange marmalade citrus aroma. This is initially sweet but then takes on a medicinal quality, bringing back memories of childhood trauma when being forced to drink spoonfuls of apparently beneficial stuff from brown glass bottles. How things have changed.
We’re greeted with citrus when we taste, but instead of a fresh bitterness it’s more floral and earthy. The similarity of Lemon Aspen fruit to lime and grapefruit is true here, but there’s more to the flavour. It’s zesty, fruity, and there’s a bitterness that lingers, which is unlike any other bitterness I’ve experienced in a beer. It’s almost verging on unpleasant, but thankfully fades away before it overwhelms. The body is good and light, with pleasant carbonation and mouthfeel – just like a lager should have. The finish is dry, with the slight medicinal edge coming back.
Sobah Lemon Aspen Pilsner is a decent first entry to our hopefully growing list of non-alcoholic beers from Australia. It’s a pleasant pilsner lager with a kick from an adjunct that I doubt many have tried in a beer before, or even at all. Nothing like a radler, the citrus here is different, and while it does compliment the usual lager taste, there is slightly more of a floral note than some people will like. Worth a try!
Buy Sobah Lemon Aspen Pilsner
Sobah’s beers may be available in some specialist off-licences and bottle shops. Your best bet for cans of Lemon Aspen Pilsner is the convenience of online shopping:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the can)|
|Filtered Water, Barley, Hops, Lemon Aspen, Yeast|
|Country of Production||Australia|
|Brewer||Sobah Non-Alcoholic Beverages – https://sobah.com.au/|
Sobah Lemon Aspen Pilsner Review
Interesting citrus-like tastes in this lager makes for a pleasant drink, though the floral bitterness may be a hurdle for some.