St. Peter’s Brewery is situated close to Bungay in Suffolk. To the south of this is St. Peter’s Hall, in which the brewery itself was constructed in 1996, contained in a nice selection of old-fashioned agricultural buildings. The choice of locating the brewery in St Peter’s was made due to the ideal brewing water quality from their very own deep bore hole. Together with Kentish hops, the brewer uses locally malted barley to create a number of classic English cask-conditioned ales. The company also makes a selection of bottled beers. They were early adopters of non-alcoholic beers, and since 2013 have been producing alcohol-free versions of some of their popular ales. However as I discovered when I reviewed their flagship nolo St Peter’s Without, it seems that the techniques behind brewing beer without alcohol have certainly moved on since it’s they came up with the recipe. I found the beer to be far too sweet and malty, almost like unfermented wort or a soft drink like Mighty Malt.
St Peter’s Without Gold was released to market in 2017, and in marketing bumph from the time promised to build upon their initial nolo’s maltiness with ‘citrus bitterness’. The original was certainly crying out for some hop flavour, bitterness, anything to help cut through that cloying sweet taste. It comes in a similar bottle shape to the rest of the range, which in itself helps the ale to stand out from other beers on the shelf, being an 18th-centry style oval bottle design that you don’t really see anywhere else. Though as we’ve seen before, a smart bottle does not necessarily mean a good beer!
I’ve kind of been putting off reviewing St Peter’s Without Gold, as the original did not sit well with me, and since that early 2020 review the amount of higher quality non-alcoholic beers available to we nolo drinkers has increased dramatically. However I’ve seen it on supermarket shelves everywhere I go, so it must have an audience. Let’s dive in once again, this time with some actual hops maybe?
The beer pours a clear golden colour, as the name would suggest. There are steady visible streams of bubbles in the glass, and we get a slight frothy head forming as it hits the glass, though this recedes into small islands of bubbles after a minute or so. On the nose it’s very similar to what I remember of the original – malty wort and cereal grains. However, there’s a whiff of corn to it now, adding yet more sweetness. It’s crying out for that citrus kick!
Malt sweetness once again greets us as we taste, with some of that sweet maize in the mix too. But there’s actually a bitter edge present at the end of a mouthful, citrus rind, most closely resembling lemon. It does help to cut through that sweetness a bit, but it’s not offering much flavour of it’s own. The carbonation is a good level, and the mouthfeel is actually pretty good, probably thanks to the maize. We get a bitter finish to the drink.
St Peter’s Without Gold is an improvement on it’s forebear, but it’s not much of a leap in flavour. The bulk of the beer is still a malty, Ovaltine-esque sweet drink, and whereas the bitterness does help offer some sort of balance, it’s pretty one dimensional. Once again, I expect there’s a market for this (especially outside of the UK it seems), but I’ll once again remain without.
Buy St Peter’s Without Gold
I bought my bottle of Without Gold from Morrisons, but you should be able to get beers from St Peter’s Brewery in most supermarkets. You can also buy online:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the bottle)|
|Water, Malted Barley, Maize, Hops|
|Country of Production||United Kingdom|
|Brewer||St Peter’s Brewery – https://www.stpetersbrewery.co.uk/|
|Vegan Friendly?||Yes, proudly certified by The Vegan Society|
St Peter's Without Gold Non-Alcoholic Ale Review
Still malty and wortish, with a bitter edge that helps to make it more palatable, but still one for the malt beverage fans.