Newport-based Tiny Rebel are a prolific brewer, with over 280 different offerings listed on Untappd, but they are quite often in the headlines for reasons other than the taste and quality of their beer. More than once they’ve been in hot water with The Portman Group (the supposed regulator of alcohol labelling and packaging standards in the UK) for can designs that, in the group’s opinion, were too aimed at a younger audience. Their Cwtch Welsh Red Ale attracting complaints of looking like ‘a can of fizzy pop’ for example. Basically, people are idiots.
The brewer has also faced issues with it’s flagship IPA Clwb Tropica, or Clwb Tropicana as it was originally named. Using a pun derived from the Welsh language word for ‘club’, the title of the famous Wham song, and the name of a popular processed fruit juice brand, the original Clwb Tropicana came under fire from the owner of Tropicana Products Inc, PepsiCo, back in 2017. Threatening them with legal action should they continue to use the Tropicana name, Tiny Rebel chose to rebrand, and the beer became known as Clwb Tropica. However, not one to waste an opportunity, the brewer noticed that the letters NA were becoming known as standing for ‘Non Alcoholic’, and so they could legitimately add them to a nolo version of their IPA. And thus Clwb Tropica NA was born, and released in 2020.
Like it’s full-fat sibling, the beer uses ‘tropical juice’ in it’s ingredients, with those fruits being mango, passion fruit, peach, and pineapple. So we can pretty much expect tropical goodness in the taste and aroma of the beer, but to what extent, and will there be any hop or malt on show at all?
Pouring out from the can we get a pale straw coloured liquid with some fridge haze and visible bubbles. A small frothy head is produced but is whisked away to the land of lost beer heads in minutes. On the nose the aroma is pineapple forward and juicy, with passionfruit and mango sweetness also apparent. To me it smells not unlike the problematic 1980s juice drink Um Bongo.
Tropical pineapple greets us when we taste, with passionfruit and peach also offering some sweetness initially. Then we get bitterness in the form of pine and orange citrus, becoming the foil to the tropical juiciness. A background of caramel malt brings it all together nicely. The body is light and the carbonation not as high as I was expecting from the visible bubbles on pouring, and the mouthfeel is ok but bordering on watery. We get a bitter tropical finish to the beer.
Tiny Rebel Clwb Tropica NA delivers those tropical flavours it teases us with, and having tried the 5.5% ABV version I will say that the fruity flavours are more pronounced in the alcohol-free version. The slight wateriness does detract from the drink though, and I think this is a problem with all the Tiny Rebel nolos I’ve tried. Still a nice refreshing drink, and easily available these days.
Buy Tiny Rebel Clwb Tropica NA
Clwb Tropica NA is available in supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, and many off-licenses and bottle shops. You can get it and other Tiny Rebel NA beers online from the following retailers:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the can)
|Water, Malted Barley, Malted Wheat, Tropical Juice, Lactose (Milk), Oats, Hops, Yeast
|Country of Production
|Tiny Rebel – https://www.tinyrebel.co.uk/
|No, uses lactose
Tiny Rebel Clwb Tropica NA Review
Light and fruity, a thirst quencher for sure, but maybe not enough ‘beer’ flavour for some.