St Peter’s Brewery are a craft brewer founded in 1996 in the picturesque market town of Bungay in Suffolk. To the south of Bungay lies St Peter’s Hall, a historic moated building with many agricultural buildings adjacent, and it is within these buildings that St Peter’s Brewery operate and produce their beers. Using their own water drawn from a nearby bore hole, and local East Anglian malts, the brewery sounds like the epitome of traditional craft ale brewers. And indeed that was the aim of the founder John Murphy, one of the original branding consultants of the 1980s, who aimed to create a company that could produce local English ales that would then be sold far and wide rather than restricted to nearby pubs.
St Peter’s Without was first conceived in 2013, just predating the recent boom in non-alcoholic beer consumption. Mr Murphy had recently had some unfortunate medical news which meant he could no longer drink alcohol, meaning he could no longer partake in his own company’s products. This resulted in work into producing a palatable version of their famous ales without the alcohol.
St Peter’s beers do certainly stand out in the beer aisles of off-licenses and supermarkets thanks to their attractive packaging, modelled after gin bottles of the 1700s. The look immediately makes you think of traditional ale served in an ‘old man’s pub’. Will we be happy supping the flavours of a traditional bitter, or will this be another case of all style and no substance?
The beer pours a dark caramel colour with good clarity and some visible carbonation. A decent sized off-white head fluffs up and sticks around, giving a touch of lacing as we drink. On the nose sweet malt is dominant, quite bready and cereal-like. Reminds me of the smell at the top of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh on a brew day.
The sweet malt continues into the taste and dominates again, though there is bitterness in there, no hop flavours are discernable. Rather earthy and bready, there is a decent amount of carbonation there but it’s not too gassy, giving a medium body. The finish is bitter.
St Peter’s Without Original is certainly a first for me – it’s the first real alcohol-free bitter I’ve tried. But it’s not great, far too malty and cereal-like on the taste, sweet, and without any discernable hop flavour to lift it up and provide some interest. I suspect there will be some who will love this, but I think I’d rather remain without.
Nutritional Information (per 100ml)
0.0% alcohol by volume
29 calories energy
(taken from the side of the bottle)
Water, Malted Barley, Rye, Hops, Yeast
St Peter's Without Original Non-Alcoholic Ale Review
Very malty and wortish, I found it quite hard to finish the bottle. One for the fans of malt beverages.