Lowtide Brewing Co began life as Crafty AF Ltd, an online shop set up in 2019 with an aim to collect and sell the best beers from the alcohol-free craft brewing scene in one place. And so they did, curating interesting brews from smaller brewers and introducing many AF fans to beers they would otherwise have missed. After around a year of operation, the company began to experiment with their own NA brews, and seeing more opportunity for them in the brewing of the beer rather than just the selling it, they wrapped up their online store and started their Lowtide Brewing Co venture. Their first offering was released in October 2020, and their range at time of writing now comprises 5 different non-alcoholic beers.
‘Who Let The Bees Stout?’ is a collaboration between Lowtide and Yorkshire brewers C84, and was released at the start of 2021. Classed as a ‘Honeycombe and Chocolate Stout’, the companies have taken a style of beer that tends to come out well when produced without the alcohol, and have attempted to put their own twist on it. A canvas for some deep dark flavours, AF stouts are a favourite of mine, and chocolate and honey are two big flavours which may need to be well balanced to not drown each other out. After salivating over the can artwork, I’m now ready to fill my glass with what I hope will be pure darkest indulgence.
Pouring the beer out we get a very dark, almost black liquid with perhaps a tinge of red. A nice big caramel coloured head makes an appearance, but reduces in volume within a minute or so, but still leaving a decent ring of foam. On the nose we get what we were promised, both cocoa and honey aromas and sweetness, as well as some caramel. I actually had to check the ingredients label to see if honey was actually used here (the beer is vegan-friendly so it shouldn’t be), but no, the aroma is all from the Goldings hops used. Very impressive.
On tasting we get chocolate malt with some roasted grains, whilst the honeycombe is there but less pronounced than in the aroma. Despite what you’d expect, the sweetness is actually quite restrained, and this lets the malt and hop flavours do the brunt of the work on your palate. The mouthfeel is quite velvety, probably helped by the oats and maltodextrin, and the carbonation level is low. The drink finishes with a slight roasted bitterness.
This is a fantastic alcohol-free stout, with very impressive usage of Goldings hops to nail that honey flavour and balance it well with the chocolate malt, producing what could almost be a liquid chocolate bar. I really hope that ‘Who Let The Bees Stout?’ is part of Lowtide’s core range and won’t be going away as soon as their stock is sold out (which it looks like it already may have been). I also hope they give us more information on what levels of sugar and carbs are in each can, as I think I’ll be sinking quite a few of these!
Buy Who Let The Bees Stout?
I bought my cans of ‘Who Let The Bees Stout?’ online. It’s available from the brewer or from one of the following drinks shops:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the bottle)|
|Further nutritional information not supplied by brewer. Boo, hiss!|
|Water, Hops, Yeast, Oats, Rye, Barley, Wheat, Maltodextrin, Cacao Nibs|
|Country of Production||United Kingdom|
|Brewer||Lowtide Brewing Co / C’84 Brew Co – https://www.lowtidebrewingco.com/ / https://www.c84.co.uk/|
|Vegan Friendly?||Yes, according to brewer|
Who Let The Bees Stout? AF Stout Review
Pure dark happiness in a funky can, if you like your beer deep, dark and roasty buy a pallet of this for your palate.