West Berkshire Brewery were a microbrewery before microbreweries were cool. They were started in a ramshackle brickworks building in the Berkshire village of Frilsham by married couple Helen and Dave Maggs back in 1995. This an origin story that any modern artisanal craft brewery would sell their yeasty soul for. But it was not until 25 years later that they dipped their toe into the alcohol-free beer market, with their Solo range of non-alcoholic beers launched during their 25th anniversary. And WBB Solo Pale Ale was their initial such offering.
During their 25 years in business West Berkshire Brewery have pumped out an impressive array of beers, with over one hundred catalogued on various beer aficionado websites.The majority of their output have arguably been various styles of ale, and so it makes sense that they chose a pale ale for their first NA beer. Many drinkers of alcohol-free beer just want a version of their favourite tipple without the alcohol, and whilst some craft brewers may be trying to reinvent the wheel with interesting flavour combinations, many AF beer drinkers want something traditional. Have WBB stuck to a tried and tested pale ale recipe for their first foray into the alcohol-free world, or opted for something more experimental?
Pouring from the can we get a pale golden liquid with fair carbonation, and a light froth head that stays with us for most of the session. On the nose we get some juicy tropical notes with some caramel malt sweetness and a hint of vanilla in the background. There is also a touch of stone fruit there, apricot and peach, but this is much less pronounced than the pineapple aroma bomb that has just detonated.
Taking a sip we get a smack of both citrus and tropical hop bitterness, with both lemon and pineapple vying for your attention. Then a pine aroma muscles it’s way in and brings more depth to the taste. A touch of caramel sweetness remains in the background, but the hops certainly dominate. We’re left with a somewhat mellow earthy aftertaste that remains with you for a while and that I find rather pleasant.
This is a great pale ale in the traditional British style from WBB, offering the aromas and tastes you’d expect from a pint of draught from the pub. Good body and balance of flavours means it should cater for any fan of pale ale, whether they be teetotal or not. A good beer is a good beer!
Nutritional Information (per 100ml)
0.5% alcohol by volume
other information not published
Water, Malted Barley, Wheat, Hops, Yeast
(taken from the side of the can)
WBB Solo Non-Alcoholic Pale Ale Review
A great traditional British-style pale ale, alcohol-free or not, and a great addition to West Berkshire Brewery’s core range. A must for ale fans wanting to moderate their alcohol intake.